Majority of Americans Correlate Teen Violence to Video Games

by Jeana Lee Tahnk

Majority of Americans Correlate Teen Violence to Video Games

Still, a third of them allow their kids to play any games they want regardless of the game’s rating

Although the majority of Americans believe there is a correlation between video game violence and offline violent behavior in teens, a third of them let their kids play whatever games they want – regardless of the game’s rating.

A recent survey by Harris Interactive polled more than 2,200 adults, and found that 58 percent agree that there is indeed a connection between violence and video games. While the jury may be out as to whether that’s true, every game does clearly labeled with a rating – even though many parents are unaware of it. 

ESRB ratings guideEach game comes with an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating that clearly provides information about the game’s content and which age range it is appropriate for. The ESRB ratings are clearly marked on each package and there is even a complementary mobile app to ensure that parents are picking age-appropriate games. And while the majority of parents are well aware of movie ratings, video game ratings seem to fall by the wayside – almost 40 precent of respondents saying they know “nothing” about the ratings guide.

That said, the majority of adults (56 percent) don’t think there is a difference between playing a violent game and watching a violent movie. And nearly 90 percent agree that parents should have the final say in what their kids are allowed to play. Almost half of those surveyed (47 percent) think that the government should play a more-regulatory role in what video games are available to children.

Plus: 10 Violent Video Games to Avoid

“The findings underscore the lack of awareness Americans have about the video game rating system, as well as the confusion in the market,” said Mike de Vere, President of the Harris Poll.

Before allowing kids to play video games, parents should become aware of the very helpful ESRB rating system. Young kids should never have access to games with ratings of T for Teen, M for Mature or A for Adult. It is those titles that are ever more violent and realistic. By following the general guidelines and age-appropriate levels, parents can rest assured that their kids aren’t being subjected to the blood and gore that’s most definitely prevalent throughout (too) many games.

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