Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saints Row 2 – Insurance Fraud Guide?

Violent video games have long been a topic of controversy, particularly so after major video game publishers such as Sony and Nintendo were named in lawsuits stemming from the Columbine shootings of 1999.  Allegations were that the perpetrators of that horrible crime were regular game players of violent video games and now a video game called Saints Row 2 allows players to commit virtual insurance fraud.

Violence and Video Games

This begs the question; do violent video games inspire people to act with violence in real life?  If so, could video games cause people to commit non-violent crimes as well?  The Saints Row 2 video game in particular has a component that encourages players to commit insurance fraud in order to advance in the game and obtain bonus points.

The National Institute on Media and the Family estimates that today’s young people play video games for about 8 hours per week.  When you consider the conditioning that may occur during these games, its easy to consider that a person may be inspired to attempt to act out these fantasies at some point.

Insurance Fraud - A Game?

Saints Row 2 contains a feature that allows players to commit insurance fraud in order to build up an accumulation of money throughout the game.  The player’s cash is built up by jumping in front of vehicles, and the goal is to do this without really getting injured, and to do it in such a way that the player’s character can stand up quickly and move on through the game quickly.

Will video gamers be able to discern fantasy from reality?  What effect do these games have on young people?  While games like Saints Row 2 are not illegal, games that encourage or mimic law-breaking activities should be carefully regulated to ensure that young people do not get the wrong idea when it comes to violent or non-violent crimes.

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