Two lovestruck Russian teenagers who held a shootout with police before turning their guns on themselves were under the influence of violent video games, according to one Russian senator.
United Russia politician Yelena Mizulina blamed “digital violence” for pushing the children to arm themselves with guns.
The two 15-year-olds had streamed their confrontation with police live in the Russian city of Pskov on Monday evening. Speaking in the video, which was later posted to Instagram, the couple said that they had “zero options” as their parents wished to end their relationship. No police officers were harmed in the face-off.
Mizulina said that video games were likely to have had a “detrimental effect” on the children.
“Experts in the field of child psychology are seriously concerned [about video games],” Mizulina wrote on her blog. “Shooting games erase the psychological barrier between reality and the virtual world. They were originally designed to be part of U.S. military training,” she said.“The child believes that life is only a game in which they have several lives.”
The teenagers had spent three days hiding from their parents before being discovered by local police officers, Russian media reported. Authorities negotiated with the pair for several hours before the children stopped responding, the Pskov police department said in a statement.
In the video stream, one of the teenagers appeared to believe they faced death if they did not surrender to the police.
“But if we do surrender,” the 15-year-old said, “we will never see each other again.”