I have always been conflicted on how I feel about Grand Theft Auto, one of the world’s bestselling videogames. As a person who loves playing videogames, I cannot deny the fact that this game is fun to play with its various features, wide ranging options, and open world aspect where you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want. However, at the same time, it is also important to not just acknowledge but also highlight the intensely problematic aspects of this game, especially considering many children around the world play it.
We’re talking about a game here that not only allows but encourages its players to lie, steal, and kill. This is a game based on all sorts of violence, where violence against people, especially women is glorified. It allows players to have sex with and kill prostitutes, to commit as many crimes as possible, to beat people, and so much more. This game involves crude language and scenes of graphic nudity, violence, sexual activity. It involves scenes of sexual violence and women are hyper-sexualized throughout the game. The way women are portrayed and treated in the game as sexual objects to be used and discarded is horribly problematic and offensive.
While the game is rated 18+ and not for children, many households around the world have children who are actively playing this game and being exposed to such narratives at an age where they are highly impressionable and easily influenced. When people spend hours playing a game from a first person’s perspective that is rooted around crime and violence, it begins to normalize a lot of problematic stuff for them. Their minds become desensitized to the problematic content and may even make them more prone to it in real life, especially when we consider young children with impressionable minds.