New Fears That Violent Shooting Simulators May Encourage Children To Gamble
Parents of young children are being warned to keep a close eye on their gaming habits today, with fresh fears that in between brutally murdering other people with guns, children may be accidentally being encouraged to gamble.
Many modern games are including “loot box” mechanics, which experts warn are functionally identical to real gambling and could result in an unintended incentive to realistically look through a sniper scope and shoot another person’s head off.
Due to the nature of the random rewards in these loot boxes and the compelling visual and audio effects designed to activate our dopamine response, some psychologists are now suggesting that the days of simply letting your young child realistically murder other people without supervision “may be over”.
“I think the big takeaway from this for parents is that you can’t trust video games to babysit your children for you,” said psychologist Myrtle Hempton. “We all want children to learn to go for the head because that does critical damage, but it’s another thing entirely to teach children irresponsible gambling habits.”
“Some parents are even reporting that their children are stealing their credit cards to buy these ‘loot boxes’, which is really quite concerning,” he added. “Kids should be leading their targets so that their shots connect even on a high latency server, not leading their parents into financial ruin.”
Industry groups have warned against any attempt to regulate the use of loot boxes in their games, saying that parents should be “free to choose” whether their children grow up learning about murder, or gambling, or both.
“This is a very complex issue,” said an ESRB spokesperson in a statement. “We respect that many parents want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that Little Johnny or whatever is learning that you have to get up close with a shotgun, and not having to fear that he’s also going to run down to the casino in a few short years.”
“But on the other hand, the people who pay our salary are making a lot of money from these bad practices. So there are two equally difficult things to consider there.”