Kyoto police have reportedly arrested a man for forcing his 9-year-old stepson to play violent video games. But that’s only part of the crime and the overall charges are a lot more dangerous than that.

The man, identified only as a caregiver in the Nara area of Japan, had been reportedly forcing the little boy to sit next to him and play violent video games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid IV, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and Kenka Bancho. These forced play sessions happened for hours each week, over a six-month period where the mother was mysteriously absent and had apparently left her son alone with his stepfather.

But violent video games rarely bring about criminal charges, especially in Japan, where they don’t even get the (often pointless) media attention they do in America. The actual arrest was made because this video game coercion was just one part of how the stepfather was allegedly abusing his spouse’s son.

The man also reportedly insulted the boy verbally, cursed at him, told him he was “not wanted” in the house and even made threatening statements like, “I have yakuza friends.”

The boy’s mother had separated from his stepfather last April, after months of worrying about the effect his abuse was having on the child. She finally went to the police a few months back when doctors told her the boy was suffering from post-traumatic stress.

The stepfather was arrested in January earlier this year, and even though forcing the boy to play violent video games was part of the problem, it clearly wasn’t the whole story.

So what do you think; if the charges are proven, what should the man be convicted of in court? And how do you view the mother’s role in all this?

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