Parents Fear GTA More Than Sex And Alcohol

Back in my days as a teen, my parents weren't afraid of anything as far as I was concerned, but not all 15-year-olds are 6'6" with a goatee. Today's parents have plenty to worry about in fact, though a recent survey performed at the family-focused consumer game site What They Play seems to indicate their priorities are a bit out of whack. They asked a series of asked over 1,600 respondents what they'd fear the most if their 17-year-old were to participate in a sleepover. The results, picked from single answers only - no multiple choice here - indicated that while 16% were concerned about pornography and 14% about beer, 19% voiced concerns that their child might end up playing Grand Theft Auto.

Proving that parents haven't gone completely crazy, the vast majority - 49% - were worried that their child would smoke a little chronic with their pals and then...I dunno, giggle for 8 hours straight, like we did back when i was a teenager. That's the real danger folks.

What They Play™ Finds Parents More Concerned About Video Games Than Alcohol and Pornography; Violence More Acceptable Than Sexual Content
Polls Reveal Parents Have Attitudes Toward Video Games and Social Issues That May Surprise

SAN FRANCISCO—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Parents are more concerned about their children's exposure to video games than alcohol, violence and pornography, according to recent polls conducted by What They Play (, the parents guide to video games. Nearly 3,000 respondents in two separate What They Play polls concluded that drinking beer and watching pornography were less objectionable activities for children than playing certain video games. Further, viewing violence was more acceptable than seeing content involving sex and sexuality within games.

"These poll results demonstrate that parents are as apprehensive about their children's media diets as they are about traditional social issues such as alcohol, drugs, violence and sex," says John Davison, president of What They Like, Inc. "When it comes to video games, parents should know that What They Play is a resource that helps demystify one of the most popular - and challenging - forms of entertainment their kids are into."

"Although these findings seem surprising at first, they hint at fears parents have about video games," says Cheryl K. Olson, Sc.D., co-author of Grand Theft Childhood. "To some parents, video games are full of unknowable dangers. While researching for Grand Theft Childhood, parents we spoke with in focus groups often bemoaned the fact that they didn't know how to use game controls - and felt unequipped to supervise or limit video game play. Of course, parents don't want their children drinking alcohol, but that's a more familiar risk."

The results of the initial What They Play online poll, conducted April 4-10, 2008, found that the 1,266 participants were most offended by the following in a video game: a man and woman having sex (37%); two men kissing (27%); a graphically severed head (25%); and multiple use of the F-word (9%).

The second poll, which ran August 1-6, 2008, queried parents on what they'd be most concerned about their 17-year-old child indulging in while at a sleepover. More than 1,600 respondents revealed they're more apprehensive about their child smoking marijuana (49%) and playing the video game Grand Theft Auto (19%), than watching pornography (16%) and drinking beer (14%).

Additional What They Play poll results and insight into parents' attitudes toward video games and other forms of entertainment in which their children engage can be found at


    That's just sad.

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