Don’t forget, when a headline asks a question the answer is usually no, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Steam, it’s the most popular platform for PC gamers to purchase and download their video games. Like most platforms and social networks, Steam also has a community section where users can start their own communities to discuss a varying number of topics. Unfortunately, a number of these communities are tributes to Columbine and school shooters.
According to a Motherboard article searching Steam’s groups for “school shooter” returns 248 results. A similar article from Slate clams there are at least 173 groups on Steam that glorify school shootings. This isn’t the first time Steam has come under fire for being associated with a school shooting, as Aztec High School shooter, William Atchison, was a Steam user and posted several racist diatribes on the platform.
Does this mean there’s some credence to the alleged link between video games and school shootings? Not in the least. If anything, it lends credence to my theory that kids who identify with school shooters, known as columbiners, who hang out in these communities are more likely to be a school shooter than your typical gamer. Communities like this have been around since Columbine became a thing, and have been on multiple platforms. There have been message boards dedicated to the cowardly Columbine killers, not to mention communities that go as far back as being on LiveJournal. Today, they exist on platforms like Tumblr among others.
What concerns me is a lot of these gamers who are posting on Steam are kids, and it’s obvious their parents have no idea what their kids are up to online. The parents are either unwilling to take the time to check on their kids, are too impatient to learn the technology kids use, or are too trusting of their kids and would rather be their friend than their parent. If one of your kids has a Columbine or school shooting obsession do something about it. It’s not just a phase, it’s a sign of mental illness. Get them help before they hurt themselves or someone else. Getting them help doesn’t make you a failure as a parent, you’re a failure if you don’t.
Thanks to Ryan for the tip.