News Article

Mothers Against Violence: Violent Games Aren't to Blame, Parents Are

Posted by Damien McFerran

BBC debate results in surprisingly level-headed conclusion

Violent video games like Madworld, Grand Theft Auto and House of the Dead: Overkill are often blamed for society's ills but in a BBC Radio debate today common sense prevailed as the UK-based organisation Mothers Against Violence decided that parents must shoulder the burden of responsibility when it comes to allowing their kids access to age-rated titles.

"I'm not directly blaming games, I'm blaming parents," said a spokesperson for the group, adding: "If someone doesn't do something where does it stop?"

Almost inevitably, the Nintendo DS version of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was mentioned, which is unsurprising when you consider the studio in which the program was recorded is based in the UK city of Leeds, where the team behind the handheld version is based.

The discussion focused on the fact that violent video games come with prominent age ratings which are often ignored by parents, who willingly purchase the titles and then pass them onto their under-age offspring.

Such comments mark a welcome change from the usual ill-informed bad press the industry is usually subjected to. Both the US and UK markets have adopted age rating standards, and the UK industry has even gone as far as to say it will bankroll of awareness campaign to educate parents about the different ratings.


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User Comments (40)



TingLz said:

They finally opened their eyes!! This is a freaking miracle



pixelman said:

"The discussion focused on the fact that violent video games come with prominent age ratings which are often ignored by parents, who willingly purchase the titles and then pass them onto their under-age offspring."

And it took them HOW long to figure this out?



BleachFan said:

Sometimes it's not just the "prominent age ratings" that should put up a red flag in the parents' heads. The box arts themselves should give them some forewarning as well. I mean, if there's some dude standing with a bloody sword on top of a pile of decapitated corpses, it's probably not something you want your twelve year old playing. Indeed, parents hold a respectable amount of blame for children getting their hands on violent video games.



Bobpie said:

And sometimes, it's not even the game at all!
Sometimes people learn from their parents, and happen to play games etc.



M00se said:

finally! but i still hate how my parents wont let me play m rated games but im 15 almost 16 and i owned t rated games when i was about 10! im no 10, 10 year olds shouldnt play m rated games but 15-17 year olds it ok in my book! well at least stupid soccer moms will realize that its not the video games!



Slapshot said:

I really wish I could crawl through the internet and kick the crap out of every foul mouthed kids dads,
everytime I hear these young kids cussing up a storm online. I'm sorry but no 8 to 14 year old kid should even be playing modern warfare online anyways.



BleachFan said:

@BB Thrilla: There are still a plethora of things a 15 year old shouldn't be rightfully exposed to in M rated games...



nintendoduffin said:

I can recall when the original Grand Theft Auto was released and there were people trying to get it banned and not only had I not heard of the game before the controversy but I actually bought it (I was only thirteen at the time so I had to get my older sister to buy it for me) purely on the basis that it was so controversial.



JakobG said:

My parents are suspicious about +16-rated games though I am 16 already.



dizzy_boy said:

in the uk, games have the PEGI age rating in the bottom left of corner of the box.
also, what makes me laugh is that the 12, 15, and 18 rated games get the same ratings badge that dvd's get.
you'd have to be a kind of dumb, not to, at least, read the description of the game on the back of the box when you're buying for a child.
but then, most parents couldn't care less. just as long as their child shuts up, and stays out of the way. and video games tend to be the ideal way to achieve that.



V8_Ninja said:

Looks like gamers are getting somewhere in the modern society. Hats off to all in the organization!



Deviant_Mugen said:

Common sense prevails, hoo-rah. It probably won't put an end to violent video games being blamed for some of society's ne'er-do-wells, but it's a start...



AVahne said:

well FINALLY! they finally realize that it's the parents fault that their kids start acting violent.
I hope they don't do something stupidly radical like getting rid of these games



Betagam7 said:

Yep, I remember waiting to purchase GTA IV at HMV watching as an airhead mother purchased the games for two kids who couldn't have been older than 8 years old and, considering it was the middle of the day, should have been in school anyway!

When the clearly concerned store clerk listed the content of the game and pointed out the rating, this walking example of bad parenting just issued an embarrassed could tell that in her blinkered view all videogames are exactly like Sonic the Hedgehog.

Reminds me of one of the multiple reasons I don't miss Britain one iota.



astarisborn94 said:

About time that they realize that it's parents responsibility, not the video game industry. Now that's maknig sense.



Mr_M said:

I never thought that i'd see the day where a parent group comes to this conclusion, finally!



Sylverstone said:

Finally. Stop blaming game developers for your crappy parenting.

At least I see the war against violent video games has calmed with this and Jack Thompson's surprise denouncement of the Rhode Island violent video game bill.



BlueFlameBat said:

Because you should never blame the people who are actually being violent, right? I'm sick of the blame game. Everyone is responsible for his or her own actions unless he or she is forced into something, and video games don't force you to do things. You also can't expect parents to watch their kids 24/7. They have lives too. Not that parental intervention would hurt.



naut said:

EXACTLY. Thank you. Don't complain about violence in games. If you don't want your kids playing it, don't let them. That simple.



BulbasaurusRex said:

It's good that not only are they blaming the parents for not taking enough responsibility, but they're also indirectly acknowledging that violence in video games does have an effect on children. I personally don't think M rated games are acceptable for anybody, but if more parents are going to keep them away from their children until they're 17 (and T rated games away from younger children), I'll gladly take that victory.



TingLz said:

There are some games that I would not approve of if I had kids of my own until they are able to support themselves. GTA is one of them because that game is just...what the crap...



JimLad said:

I got Perfect Dark (18) bought for me when I was 14, and it traumatized me with its awesomeness. Now I can't play shooters because their local multiplayers suck by comparison.
Oh the horror!



FATEM said:

I know a lot of parents who have already reached that conclusion and shoulder the responsibility but this is the first time I've seen a group such as this come out and tell people they need to take responsibilty. Now if only Robert McClelland would get the hint.



EdEN said:

FINALLY! Now if all "parent/censor" groups were like this gaming wouldn't be the Taboo topic it has been for the past years.



Morpheel said:

its not like the bratty kids these bad parents have raised will take a no as an answer...



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Betagam7: What's Britian got to do with it? What you describe is a common occurance at my GameStop in Maryland. So few parents care that their kids are getting M-rated games that I always find myself very impressed and pleased when someone DOES object after I question them on it.

@Bulbasaurus Rex: I don't think it's fair to say NO M-rated games are okay for adults. GTA, sure...that series just plain shouldn't exist. But I have no problem with games with a lower basis in reality, such as God of War. It's hyper-violent and NOT FOR KIDS, true, but it has its place in a sensible adult's library, IMO. At least it has a slightly better reason for the violence than just making you play as a criminal.



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

@Stuffgamer1: Why shouldn't the GTA series exist? It's one of the best videogaming series of all time. Age ratings are very important in my opinion and must be complied. But banning videogames, movies or books for adults shouldn't be acceptable in any modern democracy. Else you could say Martin Scorsese or Stanley Kubrick movies shouldn't exist, too.



ueI said:

When I was 14, a gamestop clerk asked me if I wanted to reserve an M rated game. I didn't want it, and I thought the question was a bit strange.

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