Grand Theft Auto – by Christina Antonick

October 8, 2013

In one of our Grade 10 Respectful Relationships workshops this past week, we spoke with youth about our 5-month social justice youth facilitator training that we do on Monday evenings after school. Our R+R Youth Team co- facilitate sessions with the Adult Facilitators when we deliver workshops at the middle school with Grade 7 and 8’s.

In this particular Grade 10 class, several young men had agreed to show up for our orientation meeting. One of the young men didn’t come and in our session with him the following day we asked where he had been. Several young men piped up, “Yesterday was the release of Grand Theft Auto 5!” The young man shared that in making the choice between R+R Youth Team and Grand Theft Auto- he had chosen the latter.

kidgamingThese are the moments that I enjoy in our circle. Entering into a deeper conversation about these young men’s choices and reflections on pop culture, video games, masculinity and self awareness are always a great opportunity for me as a facilitator to balance deep listening with respectfully encouraging critical thinking amongst my students. And of course, moving in these conversations from a place of believing that as an adult and a creative edge walker, I must moment to moment create questions that do not create further divide between us, but rather support learning on all fronts.

I had heard on CBC just before arriving to class that the makers of Grand Theft Auto had spent $125 million dollars on the creation of version five. One of my students offered that in the first day of release over $500,000 in sales were made. I asked youth to think about what demographic would be making the purchase on the first day of it’s release and we explored topics including internet addiction, sexualized violence against women, how we might enter into a conversation with the CEO of Grand Theft Auto about the profits, and how they might be distributed in support of peace and violence prevention work.

As always, the conversation was lively and provocative. Youth wanted us to hear that just because someone plays a violent video game that it does not mean they will then move out into the world and use violence against others. Kevin and I asked youth if they were willing to consider that while that may be a possibility, the media representation of violence against women creates a culture where people become desensitized to real life incidents of violence. We also explored technology’s impact on individual and family health and well-being.

I left the conversation feeling confident that some great questions has been posed and that we all got to practice reflective listening. By engaging in these conversations around respect, healthy masculinity and how individual actions effect the collective culture, we continue to foster peace in the making.

Christina Antonick, R+R Adult Facilitator 

You Are Worthy, You Are Valuable, You Are Seen… Pass it On

You Are Worthy, You Are Valuable, You Are Seen… Pass it On

We don’t always know what impact our programs have on people’s lives until later, sometimes much later. We found out on a spring evening in a beautiful barn at Stone Bridge Farm where thirty former participants joined a reunion of our Pass it On Girls program. Kate...

Learn How to Work Better with Youth

Learn How to Work Better with Youth

The Circle Salt Spring Education Society is offering a new ‘Methods and Tools for Deeper Connections with youth’ course at the end of January 2022. This offering is ideal for individuals who work with youth in a variety of contexts, whether it be formal educational...

From L.A. to a Rural Island: Social-Emotional Learning insights

From L.A. to a Rural Island: Social-Emotional Learning insights

When Adele Mark was fifteen, she moved with her parents from Los Angeles, a city of 13 million people where she had lived all of her life, to Salt Spring Island, Canada. A place she thought of at the time as a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with more...