Schools using Grand Theft Auto to teach right from wrong

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grand theft auto violence.jpgGrand Theft Auto games are always coming under fire from moral pressure groups for being too violent, but here’s a story to turn the whole argument on its head. Primary school children in eight Merseyside schools are being shown images from the Grand Theft Auto series to help children learn what is right and what is wrong.

The aim is to prevent children from being desensitised to violent behaviour by images they encounter in the media. So as well as the Grand Theft Auto games, in which you can rob old ladies and murder prostitutes, the children are also shown clips from The Simpsons ultra-violent spin off Itchy and Scratchy, as well as photos of knives, alcohol and real-life violence.

The scheme also looks to help children separate the works of fiction from the realities of everyday life. The pupils are asked to categorise each image as either “good real life”, “bad real life” or “not real”, in an attempt to help them understand the real-world consequences of violent behaviour.

Gaynor Bell, chair of SAMM Merseyside, said using the violent computer game imagery was important. “They’re getting that much of it they’re desensitised,” she said. “They think it’s normal life. We’re telling them this is not real, this does not go on and it should not go on.”

Teachers so far have been said to be “blown away” by the results, with some children labelling the content they were shown as “disgusting”.

Certainly, youngsters shouldn’t be getting their hands on any Grand Theft Auto game before their 18th birthdays; they are full of adult themes and violent black comedy, the nuances and irony of which may be lost on a younger audience. That said, the games are labelled with an 18+ rating, so it’s really in the hands of parents to protect and educate the moral compass of their children.

Via: The Guardian

Gerald Lynch