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Who Is To Blame for Violent Children?

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BUTNER — To some, it is a simple equation. Kids watch TV; TV contains violence; kids become violent. But does the equation really add up?

Sherman Perkins is just like any kid, lifting weights on a Wednesday afternoon. But sometimes the weight is too heavy or the pressure is too much. It can make the mind buckle.

"Armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon. I was running the streets all day and all night," said Perkins.

He is in the Polk Youth Center in Butner. Perkins has served six years with two to go. But his life has improved within the walls.

At least he is outside and not inside, glued to a box or shooting vibes through his veins.

But did it influence him? Can the media influence the man or does man have his own mind?

"I really don't think it had an effect. Every man has his own mind, and if he says he is going to do something, then he is going to do it no matter what," said Perkins.

The images splatter across the movie screen, TVs and computers. It is a web of hate.

In games with names like "Gauntlet" and "Gunblade," the heroes are often the villains.

"Some of them are pretty nasty, but they aren't too bad. They're just games," said one video game player.

Maybe the game is not so simple. Some people say it is too easy to say the violence children see on the screen makes them act violent. Or maybe the game is simple. Maybe it is the mind of the player that is complicated.

"It has nothing to do with the media or the medium that they are using. It has everything to with what is going on inside of them," said Sean Patrick Fannon, a fantasy adventure game designer.

"Think about a novel in which you play the part of the main character and you get to decide what that character does," said Fannon.

Fantasy and fun. Fannon says that is all it is.

"Parents are stopping too soon and then turning around and blaming something else that has nothing to do with what is going on with their kids," said Fannon.

It could have been so different for Perkins. He has watched his youth dribble away and has tossed his dreams through an empty hole.

And for now, the game is up but not over. Life goes on.