Americans once sprayed killer fungi from helicopters over opium poppy fields in Helmand in Afghanistan. This is what Nushin Arbabzadah says in her book Afghan Rumor Bazaar.
They wanted to destroy poppy crops because American kids were falling prey to opium addiction. This was their way of dealing with the source of the problem as they saw it. Afghan families who depended solely on poppy for their livelihood were affected by the spraying, but that’s another story.
If we were to metaphorically spray killer fungi on the rot on the internet, who would pay the price? Who creates the rot? Who controls what ends up on the internet? Who invents games like ‘rape games’ and puts them up on the net?
Disgusting as they are, there is obviously a market for these games. They are out there because they are a source of income to someone. They exist because some people consider them recreational. As a free society I suppose we cannot interfere with the maker’s creative freedom and his constitutional right to earn a living. Words like ‘creative’ and ‘freedom’ do not have boundaries that everybody can agree upon and are, therefore, grey areas for lawmakers. There is no provision for metaphoric killer fungi to destroy metaphoric poppy fields of people who depend on them for a living.
Most youngsters apparently do outgrow these ‘games’, and playing them doesn’t leave lasting effects. This may hold true for those kids that get into college, graduate, find jobs and establish careers and lives. These are sharp kids whose brains probably tire of such mindless games. At some point they may stop to ask themselves, ‘What am I doing?’ The same goes for children who have grown up learning to respect themselves and others, children with a conscience.
But, what about the not-so-bright and the unemployed with time on their hands? Worse still, what about delinquents and perverts who get hooked on these games?
So, if the onus is on parents alone, how do we shield our kids? By blocking sites? Ha! Whom are we kidding? Children are capable of finding ways around these tricks, everybody knows that. What else, then?
“It depends entirely on the kid”, said my 19-year-old niece emphatically when I asked her. “My friends have nice parents who trust them so much – I have been to their houses and met them – but these kids do dreadful things I can’t even tell you about. And they don’t feel bad at all. When I ask them how they can do this, they say, ‘It’s okay – who’s going to tell them?’ I also have friends with rotten parents, but they are so decent, it’s unbelievable!” A 21-year-old boy told me “I think I didn’t do a lot of things when I was in college because I didn’t want to betray my parents’ trust in me.” A 15-year-old said with utter sincerity, “I love my dad and mom – I will never do anything to make them ashamed of me.”
To sum up in the words of the same 21-year-old quoted earlier: “There are too many variables: parent-variables and kid-variables. All sorts of permutations are possible, so you can’t predict which way a kid will go. Also, some kids have an inborn sense of what is right, and parents don’t have to invest much effort in them. Then, there are kids who are trouble, no matter how good the parents.”