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U.S. Military Recruits Children with Video Games

 
 
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 08:00 am
Very interesting story about how the U.S. Army blatantly ignores international law and targets minors under 17 for recruitment with the video game America's Army.

Quote:
Yet, far from providing realism, "America's Army" offers a sanitized version of war to propagandize youth on the benefits of an Army career and prepare them for the battlefield. In the game, soldiers are not massacred in bloody fire typical of most video games, or for that matter, real combat. When hit, bullet wounds resemble puffs of red smoke, and players can take up to four hits before being killed. To further protect youth, concerned parents can turn on optional controls that sanitize the violence even more - shots produce no blood whatsoever and dead soldiers just sit down. This presentation of war contrasts to the much more grisly reality unfolding every day in Iraq and Afghanistan, like a June suicide attack on the Fallujah City Council in which three Marines, two interpreters and 20 Iraqis, including young children, were killed.


Quote:
What the game's "realism" is attempting to do is to mask the violent reality of combat, and military experience in general, for very specific purposes. At a minimum, the Army hopes "America's Army" will act as "strategic communication" to expose "kids who are college bound and technologically savvy" to positive messaging about the Army. Phase one of the propaganda effort is to expose children to "Army values" and make service look as attractive as possible. The next phase is direct recruiting. According to Colonel Wardynski, who originally thought up selling the Army to children through video games, "a well executed game would put the Army within the immediate decision-making environment of young Americans. It would thereby increase the likelihood that these Americans would include Soldiering in their set of career alternatives."


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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 781 • Replies: 9
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VideCorSpoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 10:23 am
@Theaetetus,
Unfortunately, the author Mr. Reagan didn't include phase 0... implanting brain chips in children when they go to the dentist. If there is an option in the game where, instead of killing a person, they just sit down, that is perhaps the biggest issue. It's not like people are removed enough from the act of killing with a gun compared to some bladed or blunt instrument, but then to say that the other guy is just going sit down and sit it out after you shoot him a few times? If the military wants to attract kids, they would have to compete with the gory games those kids prefer.

But doesn't that seem like the problem though? Kids are already exposed to violence beyond measure in some form or another through the media. So when the army comes out with a G rated version of gory combat, there is an issue? It strikes me that the author suffers from the dreaded media delusion, which exhibits symptoms of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and a jaded view of reality.

Honestly, I find it hard to imagine kids in the same way Reagan imagines them, sweet and innocent until that daemon military came along and corrupted them. Little Timmy was playing Silent Hill way before America's Army. To tell the truth, it would seem that America's Army is a bit more constructive.

But you know what peeves me the most. Its the fact that when people do write articles about this particular subject, they always use a game from 5 years ago. Honestly... Call of Duty or some other game like that would have been more than sufficient to lure people in.

Also, you should see how they recruit children for the military in the Congo.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 11:42 am
@VideCorSpoon,
Well said VideCorSpoon!
I give it a seven for eloquence, an eight for assertiveness and a nine for comparrissons. I especially liked the little condescending nod to the media who seem to ignore the thought that maybe they have something to do with the corruption of young minds and the thoughtfull reminder of the situation in Congo, which is becoming more and more common practice around the world every day, as if to point the American military in the 'right' direction I think earned a bonus point, resulting in a 9 overall.

Smile
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 01:20 pm
@Arjen,
The problem though that makes America's Army special is the fact that the web site looks like (or may even be) a recruitment page for the American military unlike games like Call of Duty. The military also keeps statistics from American Army which the don't with other similar games.

Other than that I agree that children are desensitized to violence and there is far worse than American Army in that respect. But games like Grand Theft Auto, Silent Hill, and Call of Duty are not trying to turn children into soldiers.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 01:40 pm
@Theaetetus,
Seeing as it is a fact that people can be influenced by said methods I am wondering what one can do about the situation. Only 'evil' organisations would tread so low as to use it, so by not using it, would not the benefits and therefore the advantages go to the 'evil' groups?

Then again, is it not so that such groups can only form by use of leverage such as values, which would have to be instated by other groups and that, in fact such values form an 'ideal image' which leads to children wanting to act in such 'evil ways' as depicted in their games?

So, would not the usage of such an 'ideal image' be at fault, rather than the game? And if so, would not the formation of such 'ideal images' be the thing to work against, instead of the games themselves?

-A few thoughts for merryment and diversion....
VideCorSpoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 02:35 pm
@Arjen,
Theaetetus,

That's a really good point. You are absolutely right in the way America's army and the u.s. army websites set themselves up as nearly identical (i.e. "hero" examples." To tell the truth, I think the army would have gone with the call of duty website format if they had the budget to do it. So there's no doubt they are trying to blend the two sites together. But I think all three websites do that though. Each has a individual figure in some form looking or acting heroic. But the military cannot be blamed for keeping statistics. When I went on call of duty's website, I had to put in my date of birth information. All games nowadays have some gimmick or prompt in order to gather some form of information. The military is not alone in that collection.

http://i37.tinypic.com/25jwnif.jpg


I also agree about desensitization, etc. But it seems like American army is the lesser of this evil. The army website and Americas army website have heroic examples, career opportunity listings, etc. They are a little more constructive. As to grand theft auto, silent hill, and call of duty not trying to turn children into soldiers, I still think Americas army is the lesser of the four evils. Not to say that the army is wholesome, but it may be better than catering to a kids car stealing, zombie slaying, Nazi-killing aspirations.


Arjen,
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 06:29 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Being desensitized from the true (negative) sensations of violence is the problem. Perhaps if video games could add moral values then it would seem a little more real.


When playing video games like halo or call of duty it is just straight out fighting. Any objectives are given and you just follow them. Being a higher rank in the game only means power ups, not more tasks required. They don't talk about why there is a war in the first place in the game. Its thoughtless combat. But still the games are fun. Sorry if you don't agree with me, I mean its a game! I don't feel like killing somebody after playing.

I think the problem is that the game isn't real enough. So the concept of killing somebody in the game is irrelevant to the player. Don't take away the blood and gore, the deviations from reality. That only gives kids wrong assumptions about what war is really like, and I suppose could lead to problems.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 07:23 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Any war game promotes misconceptions about war. That's why it's a game and not war. Even military training, the elaborate laser tag games, give those boys misconceptions about war. Traditional military training is all about desensitization. That's the point.
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 07:29 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
those boys


I hope there hasn't been a misunderstanding but I'm a guy! :lol:So I am included with boys who like video games. .... Just in case you thought otherwise.Laughing
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2008 07:33 pm
@Holiday20310401,
I meant 'those boys' as in 'those soldiers'.
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