A 4-year-old Saudi boy killed his father for reportedly refusing to buy him a PlayStation console. Police are investigating and face a tough decision in how to handle the boy's crime.
Saudi news agencies report that the boy had asked his father to pick up a Sony PlayStation while he was out. When the father returned home without the game console, the boy picked up his father's pistol and shot him in the head.
Violence has been linked to video games; numerous studies have shown that more and more children are playing the violent video games, which leads to greater aggression. Psychologist and American talk show host Dr. Phil expressed his fear of children's exposure to violence.
"If you shoot somebody in one of these games, you don't go to jail, you don't get penalized in some way-you get extra points! [Children] use more aggressive language, they do use more aggressive imagines, they have less ability to control their anger and they externalize things in these violent ways. It's absolutely not good," Dr. Phil says on his website.
In this case, the 4-year-old had likely seen shootings enacted in a video game he played. When he shot his father, he did not realize he would actually cause him harm; he was merely copying what he had already seen. There have been other cases of kids acting out or harming someone else after playing a video game.
In 2011, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on selling violent video games to minors after much debate and campaigning by parents. Violent video games in this case would have consisted of "killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being."
Yet the law was upheld in favor of the First Amendment.
"Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas … That suffices to confer First Amendment protection," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the decision.
In Saudi Arabia, though, violence is very real and present. Police have not decided yet how, or if, they can charge the 4-year-old boy with murder.