Grand Theft Auto inspires real murder

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Toys

Opponents of violent video games often express concern that impressionable players may try recreate the violent crimes of the games they play in the real world. On the flip side, others feel that violent video games are harmless and in fact provide a healthy emotional outlet for kids to express themselves. I would be willing to bet that the family of a 54-year-old cab driver in Thailand falls into the former category.

The taxi driver was stabbed to death last weekend and 18-year-old Polwat Chino has been charged with the murder. Chino confessed to the crime and admits that he was trying to recreate a scene from the Grand Theft Auto video game. 'He said he wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game,' chief police investigator Veeravit Pipattanasak said.

The backlash has begun with Grand Theft Auto's Thailand distributor halting sales of the game. New Era Interactive is also asking retailers and video arcade establishments to pull the games.

Thailand's Culture Ministry has been working toward tougher regulations for video games, including a rating system and restrictions on hours that kids can play the games in public arcades. An official with the Ministry says this murder proves that the time has passed for authorities as well as parents to deal with the issue of violent video games. "This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse," Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the ministry's Cultural Surveillance Centre, said. "Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner."

As for Chino, he may have found it easy enough to copy a pretend murder scene from Grand Theft Auto, but the consequences he will suffers will be real. If found guilty, he faces death by lethal injection.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.