Content rating systems like the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) have done their part for years with regard to rating the level of violence, sexual content, adult language and overall maturity level of video games.
Many parents, however, fail to heed these warnings for a variety of reasons. Some believe that in-game violence doesn’t translate to real-world actions while others probably don’t pay enough attention to the games they are buying their kids.
Whatever the reason, children of all ages inevitably end up with copies of games from franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. That’s provoked the ire of the Nantwich Education Partnership which recently sent letters to parents of kids in 16 schools in Cheshire threatening legal action.
Drafted by head teacher Mary Hennessy Jones from Pear Tree School, the letter said several children have reported playing or watching adults play games that are inappropriate for their age. Jones further noted that if an individual child is allowed to have access to games designated 18-plus, the school is advised to contact the police and children’s social care as it is neglectful.
Additionally, the letter advises parents about the potential perils of children having access to certain social media sites as it could increase early sexualized behavior and leave kids ripe for exploitation.
The debate of whether or not violent video games influence real-world behavior has been going on for many years. In April of last year, a study conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Rochester found that poor gameplay mechanics – not violence – led to aggressive behavior.