Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

January 7, 2009 -

A six-year-old Virginia boy who tried to drive his family car to school told police that he learned to drive from playing Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam.

As reported by the Associated Press, the boy missed his school bus and took the keys to the family ride, a 2005 Ford Taurus. His mother was sleeping at the time. From the AP report:

He made at least two 90-degree turns, passed several cars and ran off the rural two-lane road several times before hitting an embankment and utility pole about a mile and a half from school.

 

"He was very intent on getting to school," said Northumberland County Sheriff Chuck Wilkins. "When he got out of the car, he started walking to school. He did not want to miss breakfast and PE."

The boy's parents were subsequently charged with child endangerment by police. The boy and his four-year-old brother were placed in protective custody.

GP: Giving GTA to a six-year-old? Unbelievable...


Comments

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

And yet there will be at least one person out there arguing it was all GTA's fault and not bad parenting. Although this will probably be a story they laugh about when he's older.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

This story's even crazier than the one about the kid who took his teacher's minivan (or whatever vehicle it was) for a brief drive, and the kid's mother said something on the lines of, "His favorite game is Grand Theft Auto."

I need a fucking drink.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Hmmmm...i wonder how his feet reached the pedals?

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

I read in my local newspaper that he was standing up while driving. An uncomfortable driving position, but he was probably tall enough to reach the pedals


Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Great... a contortionist.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

i still dont get this article.

 

How did pressing buttons on a controller, teach him which pedals to push ina car? How did it teach him to get the damn thing started? how did it teach him to change gear? I think there is more too this story.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Honestly, given how he seems to have been an intelligent and observant kid, I don't think it's really -that- much of a stretch for him to figure it out.

First off, they haven't mentioned it, but I assume that he was in an automatic. I don't really see him doing it in a standard. period.

Secondly, the basics are pretty simple. Assuming he's been in a car somewhat often, he's probably clued in that keys go in ignition, turn to make engine go on. He might have cranked it a bit much, but I'm willing to bet he figured that out. For gears, There'd be Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive, and probably One and perhaps Two. He might not understand the reasoning behind Neutral and the numbered gears, but "Drive" and "Reverse" would probably be pretty easy for him to figure out as well. Lastly, he's only got two pedals. Rather nicely matches up with the mechanics of driving. One button goes faster, one slows down. About 10 seconds of experimenting would tell him which does what.

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

There's another question to ask if they're going to drag GTA into this, was it actually his game? I think it's more likely the game belong to the parents, the kid probably picked it up and played it to see what it was, or saw one of his parents playing it and they let him play while they were with him. Given that the parents, at the very least the step mother, seem to show little interest in the kid I guess they just left the game out.

Obviously, letting the kid play the game isn't grounds for further neglect charges, but it sure shows a pattern.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Glad he wasn't hurt.

Too bad there aren't laws that require the repeated pimpslapping of idiots like his parents. I'd get in line.

Unfortunately our foster care system is pretty bad. Many of the people that volunteer for it do MUCH worse things than neglect/child endangerment. Hopefully he ends up with the good ones.

"Driving by 6, senator by 10, president by 18, world domination by 30, and galactic overlord by 35." (Assuming he got rid of that presidential age requirement of 35 as a senator)

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Has anyone ever asked, does his parents have the game Grand Theft Auto???

And if so, which version?

Is it me or does the Grand Theft Auto part of the story seem to be something that the news have made up just to make news.

Monster Trucks...a bit more realistic since it is an E rated game.

But seriously, you could say that the boy learned how to drive his car by watching his mother and father do it, but sadly that would never make any sensationalism news...

So yeah, I would question the story first before jumping to conclusions here.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

I blame the Monster trucks if it was gta he would have stolen another vehicle.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

"Giving GTA to a six-year-old? Unbelievable..."

Because it obviously had much more to do with it than Monster Truck Jam? Please...

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Well if they're gonna play The Blame Game, which one would you point the blame at?

The one that everyone's heard of, of course. (Even people who've prolly never touched a controller in their lives, though that number seems to be shrinking, from the looks of some of these stories...)

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Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

I am more upset about the kid was playing GTA then he tried to drive the car. It looks pretty pretty clear that there was an issue with the mother. And the father unfortunetly should have known better, but at the same time, I feel for him trying to keep the family together. I hope that the father leaves the wife and is able to get the kids back.

~Weatherlight~

~Weatherlight~

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Are you serious? Listen i don't think anyone thinks a 6 year old should be playing the GTA games but to say that a 6 year old playing GTA (which is relatively harmless although inappropriate) is worse then a 6 year old driving a vehical in which he could get into a accident and harm/kill himself and others is idiocy at it's worst.

 

 "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

The kid is so lucky, I'm glad he's ok.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

"Giving GTA to a six-year-old? Unbelievable..."

Not that unbelievable, really. Pretty darn retarded and irresponsible, sure, but that's what many parents are unfortunately...

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Anyone else think child endangerment is too harsh? I mean she probably puts her keys in the exact same spot all the time and once the child figures that out...

----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Nah. There was enough of a history there that there was a court order forbidding the mom from being left alone with the kids. Given that they ignored it and the result was one of the kids crashing a car in an attempt to go to school I'd say that it's definitely time for child endangerment charges. The bottom line is that something ain't right in that household, and this is the straw that gets something substantial done about it.

-Gray17

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

So the kids weren't even hers it turns out. Bad on the father for putting his kids in her custody as well as continuing to be with her. Dude should stop picking up skanks in bars and falling in love with them.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Umm, nothing I said, or have see says that the kids weren't hers. Just that there was a court order saying the kids shouldn't be left alone with her. Presumably there'd be problems in the past with mom neglecting the kids, and dad was ordered to make sure that mom wasn't left in sole charge of the kids.

Now that he's failed to do that with this as the result, the kids have been placed in protective custody/foster care.

-Gray17

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

No way. The car had been totaled because the Mom wouldn't wake up. The kid is very lucky that he didn't kill someone else or himself.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

 It takes very little effort to show concern for your childs safety.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

I'm just surprised that the kid was able to translate controller input to actually using the steering wheel. I drive completely different on a game controller and in the car. I'm actually a pretty poor driver in video games.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Something I say frequently in driving games online "No, this is NOT indicitave of how I drive IRL."

Yes I have a WIP. Just wait and see.

Yes I have a WIP. Just wait and see.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Ok I'll agree that at 6 years old he has no bussiness playing GTA. I don't even think a kid that young could even really appreciate a game like that for what it truely is but seriously stop singling that out like it's responsible for this. If the kid had played Mario Cart would people be saying that his parents are bad for letting him play that? I'll agree that his mom is an idiot for leaving her car keys within reach of the kid but I have to say that this is one smart 6 year old if he knew how to unlock the car and start it up as well as turn. I also have to commend him for wanting to go to school as well, so maybe he is mature enough for GTA idk but seriously lets stop talking about GTA and more about the mom for leaving her car keys out where he could get them and not waking up for her son.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

 The real question is whether or not a 6 year old understands what they are playing. When I was 6, I use to sit in those arcade racing car seats and play with the wheel, pedals and whatnot. Didn't matter if the game was on or off, you don't think on that level when you see something interesting and investigate.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Thank God there are law enforcement officials who actually blame and arrest the parents. Let's see a lot more parents get arrested when their kid does something this stupid and tries to blame it on games.

 

When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Actually, the kind should be commended for wanting to go to schools. As others have said that's pretty rare these days. I agree that letting a 6 year old play GTA is a pretty bad decision on the parent's part; the boy still wanted to go (or rather drive) to school - for breakfast and PE.

 

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

I don't ever think that the words "Taurus" and "Bad Ass" should ever be in the same sentence.  Other than that the parents pretty much goofed up here.  Also Grand Theft Auto doesn't teach you how to change the gears in the car.  The child probably learned that from sitting in the car with the parents, observing their actions.  So obviously, we have to ban parents taking their children anywhere in their vehicles.

 

 

Gaming online since 1999 If you enjoy source based games please check out www.3pointgames.com Running TF2 and other popular games.

Gaming online since 1999 If you enjoy source based games please check out www.3pointgames.com Running TF2 and other popular games.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Go watch Robocop and see all the awsome and badass things a Ford Taurus is capable of.  :P

 

 

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Well, at least the kid is motivated. If they put him with a good family, that motivation could take him places.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Next Take Two CEO, maybe?

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Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

For everyone deriding the mother for being asleep, for all we know she works a night shift or multiple jobs. I'd be interested to know what rationale the police used to charge the parents with child endangerment. Leaving the car keys on the counter? Giving the kid GTA in the first place? Where exactly is the willful endangerment?

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Actually you need to read the rest of the information. She was already in violation of a previous court order just for being alone with the children.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Have any other articles specified which GTA it was?

The kid was pulling 90 degree turns?  DEFINITELY a GTA game.  No real car can pull instant 90 degree turns.  They turn right or left gradually.  :)  Ok, so picky picky.

We should, however, be REALLY greatful the family didn't own a Hummer or Monster Truck. 

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Did the kid try to pick up any hookers while he was in the vehicle?

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Well, considering they probable had to send a tow truck to pick up the car I'd say, Yes, yes he did

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

So could this be used as evidence to suggest that games don't train you to do *well* at what you do in the game? This kid was not very good at driving a real car, despite having "trained" on games. So it's logical to hypothesise that violent games also make you not very good at shooting people.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Totally.  I wouldn't even know how to load a real gun.  I know if it's an XBox gun you press the "X" button, and if it's a Playstation gun you press the square button.  But how do you tell if a real gun is an XBox gun or a Playstation gun?  :)

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

load a gun? you have to load them? you dont just step on the ammo?

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

You have to hit the reload button...or just click the gun away from the screen (thinking of the coin-op "house of the dead" games)

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Yeah, it's totally misleading, right? I went hunting with my dad once, and I never did figure out how to pull up my targeting reticule.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

The playstation gun costs twice as much as the xbox gun, but the xbox gun breaks after the first ten times you shoot it.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

LOL I'm an Xbox owner with about three bricked systems to my name and even I LOLed

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

This is in the news here, but no mention of the video games. Guess we dutchies don't give a damn.

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

The AP article is the only one that mentioned VG link. Even CNN's video coverage and interviews say nothing about VG

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

There's actually a link to VG made on the BBC:

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7816511.stm

"The boy told police he learned to drive by playing video games." is all they say.

 

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

Don't be so surprised how far he got, there really isn't much traffic there.

I grew up in Northumberland county. It didn't have street names until a few years after I left. I'd be surprised if they have gotten more then 3 or 4 traffic signals in the whole county. Sounds like they built a consolidated elementary school now. Their idea of traffic is being behind a bus. The Great Wicomico Bridge (aka Darth Vader Bridge) isn't that scary. All the kid had to do was stay in his lane, and he did that for the most part. Where he went wrong was not knowing the rules of the road, like speed limits and passing zones. Games don't teach that.

I can't tell you how happy I am that this story didn't have a tragic ending. It could have been much worse. There are roads down there that are dang curvy.

 

Also,  a shout out to anyone else from Northumberland!

Re: Six-year-old Learned to Drive (Badly) From Video Games

From the AP Article

"When he got out of the car, he started walking to school. He did not want to miss breakfast and PE."

Mother was at home asleep, and he wanted breakfast..... wow, mother of the year award here.

For those who dont know, many schools have breakfast programs exactly for households like this, where the parrents are too busy, work night shifts, or sometimes just dont care enough to feed thier children in the morning. I'm not saying which of these 3 the mother represents, just explaining posibilities.

 
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