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December 11, 2012  | by: LaToya Harris


Kids with guns (Photo courtesy of Franz Janusiewicz)




What is going on with the world today? Two Portland, Oregon children are accused of attempting to carjack and rob a 22-year-old woman in a church parking lot. The children were a 7 and 11-year-old boys. If that’s not enough to make your jaw drop, the idea that a loaded gun was found on the 11-year-old will.

The alleged actions of these children makes me wonder about the possible sources of influence on them. How do two children under the age of 13, plan an elaborate set-up of an armed robbery and the parents not know anything?

We live in a world where media and technology have replaced much of the manual games kids used to play. Instead of playing Hopscotch and hide-and-go-seek, kids are now playing video game consoles like X-Box and Wii for hours on end. Mature video games like “Grand Theft Auto” can easily influence a young child and sometimes, parents are unaware that children are even playing these games. The child can continuously carjack and rob someone without much consequence. If they get caught, they can hit the reset button. However, kids may not realize that this is not the case in real life. In the case of the 7 and 11-year-old, they were returned back to their parents because of their ages.

Today, children are more technologically savvy.  In some cases, children’s knowledge of technology may surpass that of their parents or guardians. In 2011 , AVG released a study stating that kids could navigate technological devices better than they could perform everyday practices, like tying their shoes. With video sites like YouTube, children may be able to access videos that display violent and troubling practices, without their parents’ knowledge (foregoing parental controls).

kids at computer (Photo courtesy of San José Library)




Let’s say that the 7 and 11-year-old suspects were exposed to certain influences whether in technology or real-life, and decided to imitate them. This still does not explain the whereabouts of their parents. One could argue that they are hardworking parents and barely spend time with their kids. However, the idea of a gun in the mix nixes that possibility, in my mind. If the gun belonged to the parents and the kids took it out of the house, then the parents are still responsible. They should be held responsible, regardless.

Another possibility is that the parents could have planned the incident. I have seen parents take their children to public places to solicit funds from people. They may be selling candy bars for a cause. In the case of the 7 and 11-year-old, the family may have been strapped for cash. Because the kids are minors, the parents knew they would not receive any jail time. This is not a fact, but a possibility. We will see how this all play out. Hopefully these children have been punished and learned their lesson.

Who do you think is responsible for this incident? What would be a proper punishment for the children?

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