How to Kill a Hooker

Hey kids, it’s that time again! Grand Theft Auto just released their brand new game, Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5). The game broke all the records, raking in literally a billion dollars in the first three days. It’s the hottest thing on the shelf right now for young gamers… oh… and it teaches you how to kill a hooker.

In a country where over 90 percent of young people between the ages 2 and 17 are playing video games, this is pretty concerning. In fact, there are so many distressing elements in this game, I can’t even begin to talk about them all (getting lapdances from topless strippers, killing cops, watching others have sex), so for the sake of time, I’ll just discuss one element: picking up a hooker and killing her when you’re through with her.

Like the past Grand Theft Auto games, your character can pick up hookers and choose multiple ways to have sex with her. In GTA 5 gamers can choose oral, vaginal, or anal sex. If young people are confused how to do this, they simply pull out their phones and Google “sex in GTA 5” and they’ll find plenty of helpful YouTube videos where other gamers describe how to pick up hookers and get your thrill. Sadly, I’ve reviewed 5 of these tutorial videos today, and in every single one of them the gamer kills the hooker when done, that way he doesn’t have to spend his money on her. In this video, for example, he has all three varieties of sex with her, then runs her over with his car three times, backing over her, and finally smashing her up against a fence.

And why is it that this kind of entertainment is allowed?

Oh yeah… freedom of speech. I’m sure this is exactly what our forefathers had in mind.

Some parents think, “Well, my kid would never play a game like that.” That’s exactly what my friend John thought last week. And he was right. His 16-year-old daughter Elise wouldn’t play a game like that. But when she and her BFF went to their friend Josh’s house, Josh and his buddy Chris were sitting in the living room wearing headsets playing the game.

Elise knew Josh from her church.

Elise didn’t pay much attention at first, but when she saw a guy having sex with a girl right there on the screen, she took off Josh’s headset and asked him, “What the heck are you guys playing?”

Josh argued, “Oh, I just ignore these parts. I need the points real quick.” This wasn’t his first time playing the series. In past Grand Theft Auto games, characters could restore their health to 100% when they had sex with a prostitute.

Josh’s mom didn’t have a clue what he was playing.

I wish I could tell you that was the reason so many kids are playing this game, because mom didn’t have a clue. Sadly, that isn’t always the case. Common Sense media recently posted a review for this game, and numerous parents commented on the reviews. Here are snippets of just the first 4 comments on the page. They all are truly mindboggling:

  • I just bought this game for my 12 year old son after a lot of convincing, and I don’t find it as bad as CS said it was. There is not a lot of blood and you can stay away from sexual content. My only problem with the game is the swearing…A masterpiece though.
  • As per usual, only half of the true story is told by these review websites, much like common sense media. To be honest, as long as your child is over thirteen and knows their right from wrong then there’s no real reason to stop them from getting this game. My son had been asking me for the game’s in the GTA series for quite a while, allot of his friends have had this game since they were as young as 10 and he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t let him have it. But after looking at the game and seeing him play it at one of his friends house, I decided to let him have it. Firstly the mini game in the strip club isn’t always on, and there’s no mission which makes them go there, so you should be able to trust them enough not to go there…
  • It is a very grafic game with lots of killing and swearing but not anything worse than what kids hear in school or watch on the news. As long as kids know it is obviosly not real and the laungue and actions on the game should not be repeated it should be fine for kids 14 and older.
  • I think this is a violent and language-filled that is too violent for young kids. However, if your kid can handle the violence and language, he should be ok. The sex and drugs in this game are not as prominent as I thought they would be, and can be easily handled by a 13 or 14 year old.

Are you getting the picture of why so many kids own this game?

What has been your experience with kids playing this game?

David and I analyze this disconcerting new game in this week’s Youth Culture Window article and provide parents with some healthy ways to respond.

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About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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10 Responses to How to Kill a Hooker

  1. Kurt Webber says:

    Have you written any books on coaching youth sports? I have coached for over 7 years and what a great way to provide a positive role model, when done right. I am always looking for new ways to teach.

  2. Bill Britton says:

    Ummm…are you kidding me? The ‘violence and swearing and sexual content no worse than they see on the news or experience in school’? Why in the world would parents continue to purchase this as entertainment and then wonder why people are going into schools and shooting them up? Might just as well subscribe to the porn channel and go down for target practice at the school yard. Parents need to take responsibility for what their kids are ingesting…who can seriously judge if their kid can ‘handle the violence and language.’ I’m not willing to put my kids in that position.

  3. Mac McCoy says:

    Thanks for the review. I am a long time youth minister and I shared your review with parents here. Overwhelming thankful response from parents for the “heads up” on this game.

  4. Logan Sharp says:

    It always baffles me that parents, not all but a good percentage, do not take the time to read reviews or at least check why games are rated the way they are. While the game itself does not explicitly teach you to kill a hooker (i.e. pick up girl, take her here, have sex, kill her), it is something that can be discovered and is definitely pretty messed up that it even exists in a game. As far as it being no worse than what kids see at school, I have to question what school that person goes to.

  5. Joe M says:

    Any person who thinks that kids go and shoot up schools because of video games, are retarded. Mass murders have been happening long before the invention of television. Columbine was because of bullying, sandy hook was because of a mentally unstable person. I haven’t seen any stories of dead prostitutes after any of the GTA games came out, nor have I heard of kids being arrested for soliciting prostitution. If you’re a halfway decent parent you should have already taught your kids right and wrong, and the difference between television/games and real life by the age of 6. I watched American History X when I was 10 and I’m not a neo-nazi attending rallies and trashing convenience stores. Grow up America and stop trying to put blame something that has been tested and show no correlation between video game violence and real life violence.

    • Kyle says:

      “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” “A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and base desires.” James Allen. Environment shapes human behavior. The connection isn’t, since I pretend to have sex with hookers and kill them that I will do it in real life. No! It is much worse. If you went that far you would be remosefull and go to prison. Instead you will justify the way you treat your wife which happens behind closed doors. Which the wife will endure for years and will likely lead to a broken home. Additionally everything has an opportunity cost. This game wastes all opportunity. What good comes of this game is a much better question than how bad is it really.

  6. Anthony says:

    As a youth pastor and a gamer, this debate has been circulating for quite some time, and unfortunately I’ve never been able to comment on it. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never played a GTA game in my life. I’ve played other Rockstar games like Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire, both with the same rating as GTA. However… the differences in the games are striking. GTA is supposed to be a commentary on the American way, and how people getting dropped off in the “free world” really does leave them with little choice of what to do (and how a life of crime is seemingly more rewarding than an honest life). The other games, especially Red Dead, are masterful stories that blend into the very character of the protagonist and force you, the player, to think about the choices that you’ve made and even some of the ones your character has made in the past. It made you think about morality, the value of human life, the cost of revenge, and if you could ever, really, make up for the rotten things you’ve done in the past. People would argue it’s the same for GTA, but the story seems to get drowned out in the middle of all of the… garbage. One of the jobs the main character did was to protect a random guy he just met during a drug deal gone bad, so he shot all the other drug dealers. Why? There’s no question of morals here. He shoots them because someone asked him to. And they might have been in the same boat he was in, just hired to do a job. Afterwards, he gets paid. There’s no deep quote to think about your actions, there’s only Pavlov’s button that gets you drooling for more action and less thinking. I haven’t finished the game.

    I found myself following all the rules. Not stealing cars, obeying traffic signals, yielding to pedestrians, and staying on the correct side of the road. What ended up happening was… I wasn’t having fun. And in the end, playing video games is what I do for fun. And in order to do that, I felt like I was forced to break all the rules, drive like a maniac, and score more points.

    I disagree with the idea that GTA teaches you HOW to kill a hooker. But I also disagree with the idea that in order for a game to be fun, you have to be ruthless and uncaring to the “people” in it. What is also teaches you is that the consequences to such extreme actions are minimal at best. There might be fines, or you get shot a lot and end up outside of the hospital and start the mission over. You might have to wait a few minutes, but years? A lifetime? Nope. Something that should always be taught is “you are free to do whatever you want, of course. You can have sex with and kill a hooker so you don’t have to pay her, if that’s the case. But, you cannot choose or avoid your consequences.”
    GTA takes away those consequences. And what that ends up teaching is not that it’s not bad, but that’s it’s only REALLY bad if you get caught.

    I won’t play a GTA game again, and my children will certainly not play it until the are over 17, the age at which M-rated games are supposed to be played. But I imagine that the way I raise my children, they will have the same problem I did and find it unentertaining and aggravating.

  7. Celia says:

    Thank you for getting the word out on these video games. I am the mom who says no to such games even when “everybody” has it. I tell my kids that I do not see violence as entertainment. It’s often a struggle, but your blog confirms that this is one battle I need to win. It is even worse than I imagined. I’ve only viewed the ads for GTA on TV and it definitely puts out the red flags as encouraging and making light of destructive behavior. Jonathan, what you have described as teaching how to kill in your blog, IS teaching. Some responders seem to disagree. If the player has to go through the motions, that is a form of teaching and learning. The seeds of evil are attempting to be planted. The debate as to whether video games cause more violent behavior or are simply a reflection of our society may be a chicken or egg first debate. I agree with the argument “what good comes from playing such games?” Fun? Plenty of other, mentally and emotionally healthy ways to have fun!
    A few other thoughts on this subject: The “mature” rating on these games should be changed to the title, “legal age to make a bad choice” because I do not consider the subject-matter and actions in many of these games (TV shows, movies) as those of mature persons.
    The phrase “drug deal gone bad” has got to go. It implies there are drug deals going well in the world with happy-ever after endings. I have read articles in which real law enforcement are quoted saying the phrase to describe a real life shooting crime. When we view drug deals as anything but bad, we are in a scary time.