It’s amazing how a few bad apples and lax parents can create such a hoopla. If you are to believe what you see in the media, then you are looking at a bleak future where kids grow up to be muderous adults, shooting anything and everything that moves simply because they put their hands on a video game.
If you also believe what you read and see in popular media, then you will be led to believe that the video game industry is essentially one giant virtual drug dealer, preying on innocent children with evil vendors handing out copies of Grand Theft Auto IV on street corners to young children. All sarcasm aside, if you are to believe what certain people are saying about the video game industry, then you must think that a 5 year old can waltz into Gamestop and be sold a copy of Saint’s Row 3.
A recent study shows that the video game industry; yes, the evil video game industry that is creating a society full of murderers, is actually the most effective in enforcing age-based ratings. Under this study, 13 to 16 year olds, unaccompanied by their parents, were sent into a variety of movie theaters and stores to buy movie tickets, DVDs, and CDs with a Parental Advisory Label, or video games that were rated M for Mature.
The survey revealed that video game retailers successfully prevented 87 percent of attempted purchases of rated M games, the highest percentage among the categories tested. Four of the top six video game retailers refused to sell rated M games to more than 90 percent of underage shoppers.
Movie tickets – Ratings enforcement at the movie box office is at its highest level since the FTC began its mystery shopper program in 2000. Less than one-quarter of underage shoppers were able to buy a ticket to an R-rated movie, down from one-third in 2010.
Movie DVDs – Retailers of R-rated and unrated DVDs continued their trend toward increased ratings enforcement. Thirty percent of shoppers were able to purchase R-rated DVDs compared to 38 percent in 2010, and 30 percent were able to buy unrated DVDs, down from 47 percent in 2010.
Music CDs – Retailers of explicit-content music are increasingly turning away children attempting to purchase music CDs bearing the Parental Advisory Label. Less than half of underage shoppers (47 percent) were able to purchase CDs with this label, down from 64 percent in 2010 and 72 percent in 2009.
Video games – Unchanged from 2010, 13 percent of underage teenage shoppers were able to buy M-rated video games – the highest level of compliance among the industries.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and say that violent video games are appropriate for young children. I currently have a young daughter with a son on the way; you can bet your booty that I will be very active in monitoring what they play. I have said time and time again every time a senator starts spouting off about the evil Call of Duty or some other game, that it is up to the PARENTS to prevent their kids from playing games that they do not deem appropriate. Chances are, as this study now shows, if little Johnny is playing Grand Theft Auto, you as a parent bought it for them.
It’s time to open your eyes, parents. Video games are a huge, huge, HUGE industry around the world. They are not “kid’s toys.” They are not strictly for children. If I have to hear one more clueless parent proclaim, “Oh my goodness, this is SO violent! How can kids be allowed to play this?” I will slap someone. Yes, it IS violent. No, it is not for kids. That big, black, prominent “M” on the label should have clued you in to that. But I suppose researching and reading up on the games your kids want to play is too much work, am I right? I suppose it’s too hard to ever accept that the majority of gamers are adults, and that video games, like any other entertainment medium, is targeted at all ages, from kids to adults, with a wide range of violence from jumping on mushrooms to ripping someone’s throat out.
Stop pointing fingers and start being more proactive. Your child cannot waltz into an AM/PM and buy a pack of cigarettes, and they certainly cannot waltz into a Gamestop and buy Grand Theft Auto. If you don’t like what you see, don’t buy it for them. The video game retail industry is doing their job to prevent underage sales; now we need to do ours as parents and stop buying these game for our kids without any understanding. There is and will be nothing more important to me than knowing and understand what my kids are interested in.
Yes, this probably means, playing a game or two. It probably means jumping online to research a game that little Johnny wants before buying it for him. It probably means that the video game industry as a whole will have to stop being the scapegoat for all our troubles.
source | ftc