So, kids are pretty twisted. Most of us have, by our twenties, blessedly forgotten the messed-up stuff that we did in our formative years, but rest assured, we have all done something unbelievably stupid and weird that seemed like a really good idea at the time, and often it was based on something we saw in a movie or video game.
This isn’t a wholesale indictment of violent or extreme media, it’s just a fact that kids can be real dumbasses.
Which leads me to today’s news out of Canada: on Saturday night in Vaughan, Ontario, an 11-year-old boy took a car and led police on a high-speed chase on a major highway, at times going faster than 120 kilometres per hour. According to police, the boy was playing Grand Theft Auto and wanted to see what it would be like to drive a car. He was returned to his parents safely, according to a Canadian Press report.
Got it? OK. But, incredibly, even that summary doesn’t wholly reflect the insanity of what went down. According to Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson Kerry Schmidt, who recapped the incident on Sunday on Periscope, police stopped the car twice.
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The first time, the car stopped on its own and police approached it. Now, if I was an 11-year-old-kid, gripping the wheel in white-knuckle terror, and the police stopped me on the road, I would take it as a sign from above and cut my joyride short. But not this kid. Instead, he took off a second time and tried to outrun the police again before being caught.
“We got more officers involved and were able to get that vehicle safely stopped without causing a crash,” Schmidt said. “We got the driver out of the vehicle and shockingly, [it was] an 11-year-old kid who had just finished playing Grand Theft Auto at home and wanted to find out what it was like driving a car.”
“Here we have an example of a video game making kids try things without their parents’ knowledge or consent, just an absolute tragedy waiting to happen,” he continued.
It’s intuitively obvious and backed up by research that media such as movies and, yes, video games can influence children. But there’s a lot of factors that could influence a kid to steal a car beyond just playing a game, too. It’s important to note that video games don’t “make” anybody do anything in real life, except for Pokemon GO.
And with this kid’s apparent skills, maybe we should just be glad that he wasn’t inspired to catch pokemon while driving.
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