How Drug Depiction in Video Games Does a Lot of Harm
The drug epidemic comes from a lot of different places, but one of the biggest influencers in terms of making drugs seem like an okay thing to do are video games. A lot of the time, video games depict drugs as being the sort of things that can help your characters move forward and become more powerful. They are seen as power ups that can potentially provide you with a lot of benefits that would eventually go on to help you finish the game, something that you would certainly want to do.
What games don’t depict is how destructive drugs can be. It’s true, drugs can make you feel quite good for a time but then they are going to end up doing a lot of harm in a lot of ways. Apart from the fact that you are going to end up destroying your health, you would end up spending a lot of money in order to fund your addiction, something that is going to wreak havoc in your life overall. Since games never show this, kids end up thinking that everything is going to be okay when they are first faced with drugs.
What makes things even more dangerous is the fact that about two thirds of the games that depict drug use end up showing actual drugs that exist in the real world which helps make them seem a lot less dangerous than they actually are. Additionally, the rest of the games that depict fictional drugs don’t do all that much to mask the effects, making the drugs depicted poorly veiled knock offs of real life drugs that actually destroy people’s lives.
One example of a game that shows drugs and drug addiction in a more or less positive light is Max Payne. The titular character is addicted to painkillers, and you can use painkillers to replenish your health. Kids that would be playing this game are going to be influenced by this sort of behavior, because the game depicts its protagonist as some sort of tireless avenger that is able to wreak all kinds of havoc due to the pills that he is taking without suffering any kinds of consequences whatsoever. In reality, his body would be a great deal weaker because of his addiction, but of course that would not make for a very fun game.
It is high time that video game developers start being held accountable for the activities that are featured in their games. Of course, games depict fiction but disclaimers and the like are necessary if so much drug abuse is being depicted. Additionally, the government needs to invest a lot more in educating kids about how drugs can mess up their lives and show them how dangerous they truly are. Parents also have to put a great deal of effort into monitoring the games their kids are playing and telling them when something wrong is happening.