Screenshots of Grand Theft Auto are taking the place of flashcards in UK schools.
Remember those flashcards you used in grade school to learn math or the alphabet? Today, a program making its way through UK schools is using screenshots of Grand Theft Auto instead to teach kids about the difference between right and wrong. Picking up prostitute off the street: right. Killing prostitute afterward: wrong?
The program is called Get Real and run by police and a charity called Support After Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM). It’s aimed at children ages 10 and 11 and also uses over-the-top clips of Itchy and Scratchy from the Simpsons. The whole point is to get children to realize what’s real and what’s not, and to hopefully deter them from violence and aggressive behavior at a young age.
During the Get Real program, children are shown images from Grand Theft Auto and such and then given real-life images of drunks or arguing parents. Supposedly, the program brings an element of realism to the violence often glamorized by games like GTA and emphasizes the seriousness of violence outside of videogames and other media.
A government member said of Get Real: “Almost any media can be edited to be educational and if the material already attracts children’s interest, it can have a greater impact on them. This may well be depicting knife-using car thieves as the selfish morons that they are – which of course we would welcome.”
I like the idea of this program primarily because it isn’t another example of parents and teachers putting on the blinders and pretending like kids aren’t already playing Grand Theft Auto for 8 hours a day, every day, after they finish beating up their classmates and robbing old women. It does seem like it’s modeled to counteract violence used in videogames and other forms of entertainment, and not to get on the Jack Thompson train or anything, but maybe it’s not such a bad thing to specifically say to kids that Grand Theft Auto is nothing like real life and to prove why.