"The Kids Are Not All Right" by Jonathan Valania

Essay by erinda March 2007

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The article "The Kids Are Not All Right", by Jonathan Valania of the Philadelphia Weekly newspaper, informs us about a teenager, Matthew Lovett, who together with two other friends plotted a killing spree in the city of Oaklyn. The situation was similar to the Columbine shootings; However, in the Oaklyn case, there were no victims. Violence demonstrated by teenagers has increased dramatically in the recent years. The video game industry, the easy access to guns, and psychological problems are crucial factors that contribute to violence in teenagers. Valania states that one hundred forty-five million Americans play and enjoy video games each year. The players vary in age, but most of them are teenagers. Mathew Lovett was one of those who happened to enjoy violent video games. He had a collection of games such as the The Matrix, Grand Theft Auto, and other games featuring first person shootings. All these games had a negative effect in the already troubled teenager.

Mathew wanted to act like the characters in the games and see how it felt shooting people in real life. His two younger friends and Mathew called themselves "Warriors of Freedom", which was a video game title. Clearly, he must have been deeply affected and considered himself a warrior of freedom. In the letter directed to his father Mathew wrote," I am fighting for mankind's freedom .Freedom from this society." Another favorite game of his was "The Matrix", which he adored; in fact, he started to dress up like the main character, Neo , all in black. According to the National Coalition on Television Violence, these video games and many other violent ones have a negative impact in teenagers, and can result in aggressive behavior.

Video games give bad ideas to teenagers like Mathew, but the easy access to guns...