February 22, 2013
We showed Being Safe and Secure on the Web at Macy Elementary, the first time we have shown it during one of our presentations. I was pleased to see that the younger students became very engaged with the video program and had a great deal to share on the topic afterwards. As suspected, many of these students are already using social media sites even though they are under the official age limits. One way they gain access to chat and gamer rooms is through Xbox live, often through an older sibling’s or parent’s account. During the discussion we learned that a large portion, if not a majority, of the students in third grade through sixth grade play Grand Theft Auto, a truly violent video game which is rated 17 and intended for a much older audience. Apropos of the effects of violent video games: On the day we arrived in SoCal, a young man went on a shooting rampage, killing his girlfriend and two strangers on the street, in a manner eerily reminiscent of the Grand Theft Auto game. All this happened just a few blocks from our hotel. It turns out that he was obsessed with the game and played it incessantly.