Who Should Be Responsible For Keeping Violent Games From Children?

A Gallup survey conducted over the weekend finds that while Americans believe the greatest responsibility for keeping violent games out of children's hands lies with parents, they aren't opposed to the government stepping in to help.

With oral arguments in the Supreme Court hearing over the California video game law that would outlaw selling violent video games to minors having been heard this morning, the non-partisan First Amendment Center publishes the results of a survey that strikes at the heart of the matter: Who is responsible for keeping violent games from children?

The survey, conducted by Gallup on October 29 and 30, asked 1033 adults how much responsibility they felt parents, the video game industry, and the government should have for deciding whether violent video games be rented or purchased by children.

Of the 1033, 86 per cent said that parents should have a "great deal" of responsibility, the single largest response out of any of the three groups. Only 4 per cent said parents should have no responsibility at all.

Next on the responsibility ladder came the video game manufacturers and retail outlets, which 43 per cent of those polled felt should have a "great deal" of responsibility, with less than 20 per cent responding no responsibility.

the government came in last responsibility0wise, with 28 per cent saying the government should have great responsibility, and 26 per cent saying none.

While those polled indicated the government shouldn't have very much responsibility to determine whether or not children can purchase violent games, an overwhelming 68 per cent felt that the government should be able to prevent sales or rentals of violent games to children under 18, in support of the California violent video game law, currently being contested in the Supreme Court.

31 per cent said the government should not have that ability, and 2 per cent were undecided on the issue.

"In recent decades, adults concerned about the impact of comic books, popular music and movies on children have pressed for government control of content, but voluntary industry codes and parental monitoring largely have worked," said Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center. "Mum and dad are still in the best position to keep inappropriate content out of the hands of kids."

How would you have answered the poll?

Image via Flickr


    i woulden't have answered the poll, im getting pretty over this kind of survey because it seems that one of them is all ways popping up.

    how about they research something useful, and stop milking the violent video games topic.

    "Who Should Be Responsible For Keeping Violent Games From Children?"

    Parents. Who else?

      The people who sell them. Should it be purely up to parents to stop kids from buying booze?

        "Should it be purely up to parents to stop kids from buying booze?"

        ....Er, yes. Until a child is of age (18 in most of the Western World) the child is of the parents responsibility.

        Granted, retails should not be selling this sort of thing to kids, but if a child comes to a clerk with a 18+ rated game, the clerk should be asking where the parent is.

      Parents are fucking stupid. If you give a parent responsibility for controlling the games their kid plays, their responsibility will go no further than swiping the credit card to pay for their 9-year old's copy of God of War III or Modern Warfare 2. You shouldn't leave it up to parents.

        I think it should be the parent's job. And if they door it poorly, they get a fine!

    The retailers should stop selling mature games to kids. If they don't meet the age requirement written on the box, then don't sell it to them. And parents should also look out for what they're kids are doing. So many times when I was working in retail a parent would come in and buy adult games for their kids. And even though we warned them of the content when they made the purchase, we would still get calls back to the shop with complaints.

    Heaven forbid parents actually look into what sort of videogames their kids are getting. Too many times I've seen parents picking up Grand theft auto because their 12 year old kid wants it "really really bad".

    What pisses me off more is the store clerks who gladly sell it, I've seen morons at GAME and EB who just hand over MA15+ titles to kids who couldn't be a day over 13.

      Dont attack the workers; they just want to get paid. Its because the game is ONLY MA15 that everyone thinks its ok to give to them. Who hasnt gone and seen an MA film before they were supposed to? Did you get hassled? I never did. But an R film..now people take that seriously. Beccause if it is restricted to those 15 and over, it is still restricted to a degree, children. Hence, gaming is for children et al. If GTA had its 18+ rating like it should, you wouldnt see people handing it out willy-nilly.

        Which is exactly why we need an R18+ rating. Still, I've seen store workers just sell these games to kids, not even mentioning to the admittedly ignorant parents that "Err, you are aware this game has you running over pedestrians and murdering people, right? Just want to let you know" Nothing, just "Here, sold".

        Hell, I played the original GTA when I was 13, (PC CD ROM, shit yeah!) but my mother knew what she was buying for me, and knew that "Yeah, it's violent, but I know my son and I'm aware he knows it's just a game". Hell, she'd even watch sometimes, wanting me to take that one jump over that broken section of bridge in liberty city.

        Seeing a parent who has no idea about what they're buying and the store clerks just not giving a damn pisses me off.

          But your story is so common; I have had my mother buy me violent games and the store clerk DID mention the content, only to be met with a very similar response that yours gave. To be perfectly honest, this seems to be the norm. Parents who would freak about the content of the game wouldn't even get past the MA15 rating, let alone inquire WHY it has that rating.

          Most certainly do agree with the R18 rating being needed though; if only for selfish reasons. I'm sick of my games being stripped, even if it rarely happens.

    The secondary question is why the hell is this even and issue at all? Does violent media turn children into morally corrupt sociopaths? No.
    Does it turn them into delinquents with poor attention spans nope?

    I have three smart, well adjusted children who all play violent games (my 7 year old's fave game is Left 4 Dead) and all their friends play violent games.

    This issue is an overblown load of crap, an election chip being used by politicians to falsely claim moral high ground.

    Seriously people, stop thinking of the children, the children are fine.

      The parents are who you should be worrying about. I have no doubt kids can handle violent video games, but If they're only playing it because of their parent's ignorance, then I've got a problem with it.

      Point i'm trying to make is: Parents need to know what their kids are playing, and not just letting their kids play whatever they want, not knowing what it is.

      I sort of consider it similar to the "Jessi Slaughter" fiasco from 2 months ago, where some 12 year old girl was the target of bullies, since she was acting like a... erm, you know what on youtube. The parents reaction?

      "They're bastards! But we don't know what our daughter does online, we don't even like to use the computer. What she does online we don't bother to worry about"

      Hmmm... what an odd comment.
      Do you also let your kids watch porn? Go to strip clubs with you? Drink your beer?
      If not, why not?
      Sex is a natural part of life, and more likely to be part of your kids' lives than hacking limbs off zombies. So why no Playboy for them?
      Most people will have a drink and not be adversely affected, but I'm sure you don't let them drink alcohol.
      Why? Because it is not SUITABLE for them. Pre-teen children are in their formative years. Where the rules are embedded in their brains and which will inevitably be passed onto their children. Their world is normalising. What a kid has access to then is normal to them.
      SHOULD gratuitous zombie hacking and violence be NORMAL for a 7 year old? That's a parent's choice I suppose (it's a no for me, but a yes for you), but these rulings are to make sure that kids don't make these decisions without an adult.
      I hope the ruling goes ahead.

    Hmm. As a parent, I feel it should be up to me what games my child plays/buys. He is a child, not earning his own money and as such I am the one paying for it, so it -should- be my responsibility! If he comes home with a MA15+ game when I have specifically told him not to buy one, then that is my problem, and I need to discipline him.

    anyone BUT the government.

    Governent should be there to protect our citizens via police and protect our country via army

    nothing else.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now