Video games always seem to be the butt of controversy when a new, violent game is released, but is the game really to blame, I say no.
The heavily anticipated video game “Grand Theft Auto V” is set to be released on Sept 17, and already has a huge amount of controversy surrounding it. The game’s developer Rockstar Games is use to controversy though, this being just another installment of the wildly successful Grand Theft Auto series, which includes releases on everything from PCs to mobile devices.
The game carries an “M” or Mature rating as put in place by the Entertainment Software Rating Board or ESRB, this rating warns that only players over the age of 17 should play the game. This isn’t a law, just a suggestion, but most video game retail chains will honor the ratings suggestion and have the consumer provide valid I.D. showing they are over the age of 17 in order to purchase the game. This prevents players deemed too young from playing the mature rated game.
But then why do I still hear 10-13 year-old kids yelling at me through my headset while playing GTA multiplayer, Halo, Call of Duty, or really anything given the “M” rating?
Because someone bought that kid the game.
When any news outlet outlandishly claims that these games are to blame for a recent tragedy, I can’t help but think that the video game development companies did everything they could to ensure no one under the age of 17 played the games, short of pulling games from the shelves or flat out making it illegal to play it.
It’s simple nature vs. nurture. If a parent sees the “M” rating and simply doesn’t care and purchases it for their impressionable child, they simply cannot blame the development company for a child re-enacting events from said game. The parent allowed that child to play that game, same would be the case for movies carrying an “R” rating, or TV shows with an “MA” rating, if the parent allows it they cannot use the company that creates the game as a scapegoat.
The blame won’t stop anytime soon though. Having a big company to blame is just so much easier than proper parenting of a child, and with no end in sight I hope that parents start to make an informed decision by themselves rather than letting a major news outlet make one for them.