Will Avatar Video Games Hurt Impressionable Young Minds?
There are reports of the film Avatar exacerbating feelings of depression in those who already suffer from the disease. A mother in Romania went so far as to blame her daughter's suicide on having seen the movie. CNN has reported on a collective "blue" feeling that audiences have experienced after seeing the imaginary planet of Pandora, and a "longing" to live in its Utopian society. Young people seem the most vulnerable to the post-Avatar affect, perhaps with many of them wishing that their world, the real world, could be more like the world of Pandora.
This leads me to wonder: if the movie has caused this reaction, what will happen to those who play video games based on Avatar?
Realistically, a movie shouldn’t be seen as anything other than a movie, which by definition is simply the tangible results of someone's imagination. However, reality and the virtual reality of films and video games do play a large role in the way young people judge their own reality.
Scientists are still uncovering mysteries of the mind, especially those of adolescents and young adults, and, while most people understand that a movie is just a movie, this doesn't stop people from confusing alternate realities with their own reality - the one the person has to really live in.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, psychological effects games based on this ideal world will have on those open to their interpretation.