It’s no secret that most children with autism are heavily drawn to video
games. It provides an outlet for them, develops hand-eye coordination and satisfies
their need for stimulatory behavior. I often follow upcoming game releases on
behalf of my son, who is an avid Nintendo Wii fan.
Today, I came across something very disturbing that reminded me of the urgent need to monitor what we allow our children to access and what they can be exposed to.
"Dead Island" is a soon-to-be-released video game for XBox 360,
Playstation 3 and Windows. Its developer, Techland, just released a trailer for
the game, which can be seen below.
It is an "open world" game that requires its players to survive on a zombie-plagued island. Undoubtedly, this game will be slapped with an "M" for Mature rating by the ERSB when it’s finally released — and for good reason. The opening sequence of the game’s trailer features an incredibly realistic CGI animation of a dead girl, presumably around 8-years-old, who has just been thrown out of a six-story building by her own father. The trailer goes on to show a sequence of events in reverse to depict the circumstances that led to the little girl’s plunge.
I am not an advocate of censorship and I believe that companies have the right to publish what they want. However, there are many things that clearly cross the line of decency and "Dead Island" is one of them. The depiction of a dead girl, clearly intended for shock value to sell a product, is a testament of just how far our society has stooped within the last 30 years. When I was younger, the extent of my game violence exposure entailed Pac-man eating some colorful ghostly figures.
Techland is certainly free to release whatever they want and ultimately,
the indictment will fall upon the hundreds-of-thousands of people who will
eventually purchase this game as a form of "entertainment."
For parents of special needs children (and all parents for that matter), advocacy and protection should not end with the education and health care systems. They need to continue inside our homes and it is our responsibility to closely monitor what they are watching, what they are reading and what they are playing.
*WARNING* Video contains graphic and violent CGI animation sequences: