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

Turns out it was the last posibility that was right. The mother had already lost rights to be alone with the children from previous charges. I feel really sorry for the kid, but it shows exactly why he's so damned independant.

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

Bad on the parents for giving GTA to a six-year-old because it's not appropriate for a kid that age (although he probably just messes around with the driving), but good on the six-year-old for wanting to go to school, even after crashing into a utility pole.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

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

Ahh, sucks for the kid that he didn't make it to school in the ride.

As for the folks, I'm surprised they gave him GTA. But if they think it's not harmful to him, then it's not. HOWEVER, that does not merit Child Endangerment charges. They had no idea the kid was gonna take the car.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

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

Lots of people think cocaine and crystal meth are harmless too. Does that mean they're not?

M rated games are NOT something to give to kids this young, I wish they'd just flat out make it illegal for 12 and under to play M rated games, then leave it up to the parents to decide after that.

"How would they track it though?"

 

--Okay, I think there needs to be another acceptable level after M. I.E. unreal tournament = M rating 1, manhunt and co = M rating 2, and M rating 1 should be completely up to the parents

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

 Children that are 6 years of age cannot comprehend the concept other people having different view points, much less being entities seperate of themselves. If they cannot perceive the notion that this other human in the game is feeling pain because of their action, how do you argue that they are learning to hurt others?

 Your statement is completely without grounds, in either basic psychology or common sense.

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

Lacking the empathy to relate to others is precisely why a very young child should not be allowed to play certain games.  You said it yourself, a 6 year old canot percieve other people's pain.  So they'd have less of a problem emulating an act of violence if they are used to the act being "good."  They're not learning to "hurt others," they're learning actions that are rewarded in the game.  So a child that young, even one that isn't being neglected, shouldn't be playing GTA.  If he had run someone over, he probably wouldn't have thought twice about it and kept on driving (speculation, but one based on developmental psychology.  college, ftw).

To me, the issue of him driving and where he "learned" it, and the issue of playing of the game at 6, are two separate problems.

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

I'm going to have to disagree with both of you in regards to 6 year olds lacking empathy and awareness.

Two psychologists, Wimmer and Perner carried out whats known as the Sally-Anne test in 1983 in an attempt to test for a child ability to understand what other people believe.

You can look it up, but it basically involved children being asked to predict what a third party would think in a certain situation.

85% of 4 year olds passed it.

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

I think the child endangerment charges probably stemmed from finding the mother at home asleep, after the child took the car. Not the fact that he played video games. Who knows what else was found at the home.

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

From the Washington Post:

"The boy's parents were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment. Wilkins said the father, David E. Dodson, 40, was under a court order not to leave the 6-year-old and his 4-year-old brother alone with their mother, Jacqulyn D. Waltman, 26, at their home in the town of Wicomico Church. But Dodson left for work at 6:30 a.m., and Waltman was still asleep when the 6-year-old missed the bus and then drove off at 7:40 a.m. for Northumberland Elementary School, Wilkins said"

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

Ignoring a court order, that's great.  And what the hell did she do in the past that she cannot be left alone with her own children? 
No, no, no, this whole thing smacks of child neglect, and if there's a court order involved, then it wasn't the first time.

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

Just speculation here, but maybe she wasn't so much sleeping as she was passed out. The kid did try to wake her up after all, maybe she has a history of alcohol abuse and she got too sauced the night before and her kid couldn't even get her up.

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

That's still child neglect.  It doesn't matter if you're sleeping or passed out, neglect is neglect.  Probably why she's not allowed to be alone with the children.

 

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

AE: Let's pull back on the name calling, Derovius.  It just derails the thread.  Thanks.

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

Thanks a great many bunches, Andrew. I was getting ready to contact either Dennis or EZK (Dennis through e-mail, EZK through Forums), since I don't have your e-mail and you're not on the Forums as far as I know, so I wouldn't be able to contact you, in order to deal with him. He Trolled Alevan in the JT/SCotUS thread.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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



"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

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

Didn't we leave this sort of tattle tale bullshit behind us in elementary school?  Fight your own battles.

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

The frontpage tends to be a much kinder and gentler place than the backpages . . . where you can get your ass tore up right quick if you don't know what you're doing. Ain't that right, Shadow?

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

 His ass is well travelled, not unlike the Panama canal.

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

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

AE:  Knock it off.

 I'll "knock it off" when there is an even handed application of the rules, admin. Until then, I shall keep you most busy with censoring.

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

Anyone I see posting a comment with nothing but insults will have their post deleted.  I try to be evenhanded in my moderating but obviously I'm going to miss a few.  Feel free to point out any offending posts I've missed and I'll address them.

 

Andrew Eisen

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

"Anyone I see posting a comment with nothing but insults will have their post deleted.  I try to be evenhanded in my moderating but obviously I'm going to miss a few. "

Golly gee wiz Batman, who knew that there would be angst in a forum that discusses politics and opinion.

"Feel free to point out any offending posts I've missed and I'll address them."

 Why should I do your job for you? I could care less that others insult me,

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

Derovious you said:

''I'll "knock it off" when there is an even handed application of the rules, admin. Until then, I shall keep you most busy with censoring.''

then when AE TRIES to do this :

 "Why should I do your job for you? I could care less that others insult me"

please make your mind up. Either you want even application, or you dont. Either you do care about people insulting you and getting away with it, or you dont. You cant care just when it suits you (i.e. you want to throw a tantrum and make a scene), and then not care when somebody tries to deal with it.

 

also:

AE: "Anyone I see posting a comment with nothing but insults will have their post deleted.  I try to be evenhanded in my moderating but obviously I'm going to miss a few. "

YOU: Golly gee wiz Batman, who knew that there would be angst in a forum that discusses politics and opinion.

I REALLY dont understand your point, and neither do you it seems. your logic is that posts filled with 'nothing but insults' are perfectly acceptable because this is a forum that discusses politics and opinion? where is the link there? last time i checked in a thesaurus politics wasnt in there next to insult, and neither was opinion.  They mean absolutely different things. You can VERY easily discuss politics and opinions WITHOUT requiring a single insult last time i checked.

 

 

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

"please make your mind up. Either you want even application, or you dont. Either you do care about people insulting you and getting away with it, or you dont. You cant care just when it suits you (i.e. you want to throw a tantrum and make a scene), and then not care when somebody tries to deal with it."

 Who says that his enforcement of the rules has to do anything with me. There are numerous other infractions out there, but it seems that AE only magically appears after someone whines to him about me. GP, like everywhere else on the internet, is nothing but a popularity contest; he who whines loudest wins. I'd rather not take any part in that nonsense.

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

The thing is Derovius, this is a forum on the internet and things are done differently than say in real life.  In real life, none of us would talk to you and infact if we were having this discussion in say a pub, you would probably have been barred from it.  On here, we need mods to stop people like you from ruining it for everyone else because they do not have the normal powers to simply reject you from the conversation that is being had.  You claim GP is a popularity contest, but you don't get to have such conversations away from the internet if you act like an arsehole all the time because you don't have any friends.  I'm sorry that you haven't yet learned how to interact with other human beings, but I can assure you that everyone else that is telling you that you are in the wrong is correct.  I hope some day soon you can appreciate that fact for the truth that it is.

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

No one whined to me.

This particular article's comments section was absolutely littered with posts authored by you that were nothing more than insults directed at one of the readers.

Didn't need a tattletale; it was pretty hard to miss.

 

Andrew Eisen

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

Points can be made without calling the other person's character into account.  You used to make points while calling the other persons character into account.  That worked.  That was fine.  Now you just troll.  Didn't see what you said to AL, but his definition of neglect is sound right there.

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

But... But... It's the internet! I though the whole point was to ditch the discussion in favor of random insults, and ego stroking. That's how you disuess things online, right? Right?

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

Angst is no excuse for bad manners, personal attacks, or off topic posts.  Sure, I see how discussions can get heated and why that stuff happens but that's why I'm here, to moderate it and keep it from getting out of hand.

"Why should I do your job for you?"

Okay, feel free not to point out any offending posts that I've missed.

 

Andrew Eisen

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

 Interesting you would speak so strongly on your dedication to keeping GP safe, clean and spam free, but not 4 posts away is an utterly offtopic discussion on the machinations of football. How... disappointing...

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

As I implied earlier, I'm not going to catch everything.  As for a football discussion, I don't see it.  In fact, the only place on this page the word "football" shows up (other than this post) is in your above comment.

 

Andrew Eisen

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

 FFS, do explain to me what sporting venue uses the concept of yardage for points? Glance one... two... three posts above this one and you're smack dab in the middle of it.

 I can't believe the admins here need hand holding to, its bad enough one of them is a right wing fundamentalist.

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

Ah, that's what you're referring to.  I'll let those three comments stay.

 

Andrew Eisen

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

"I fought the law and the law won,

I fought the law and the law won." -- The Clash

 

 

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

Help! Help! I'm being compressed!

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

Wow... I didn't expect that...

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

Come and see the violence inherent in the system!!!

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

Unneccessary roughness and unsportsman-like conduct. 15-yard penalty. Still fourth down. 

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

Actually, depending on where the ball is spotted, both penalties would count. So it's a 30 yard penalty.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

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

Isn't that also the point were the penalized team gets to take their ball and go home? If not, it should be. 

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

Then stop whining.

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

EDIT: This comment is superfluous.  Some MOD, please delete.

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

Yeah I'm just saying that maybe the court order stemmed from some previous incident, maybe she has a history with it.

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

Ahh, so this wasn't a new situation. The mother had already lost rights to the children without supervision.

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

Update:

Police found a kitten in the back seat of the car:

http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/funny-pictures-kitten-seatbelt.jpg

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

LOL

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

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

Question:

How the hell did he see over the dashboard?

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

Answer:

He was standing while driving.

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

Another question:

How did he get the car into reverse/drive?  You need to hit the brake and move the gear shift at the same time? (I'm assuming the Taurus were Auto Transmissions since I've never seen a Taurus with a stick shift)

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

Some cars you don't actually NEED to hit the brake, its just really bad for the transmission if you shift while moving.

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

 Wrong again, you can easily shift from drive through neutral into reverse at reasonable speeds so long as you do not apply either the brakes or the gas. So long as the gears have similar angular accelerations, there is little shock when they mesh. Such is why you can easily shift gears standing perfectly still (powered gear is the ~ same velocity as the slave gear).

 Ah, another failed attempt at the realm of applied mechanics. You continue to disappoint, Austin.

 
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Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
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MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
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DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
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Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
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Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
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Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
 

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