Let’s go over this again: Grand Theft Auto is NOT for kids

gtav

I Sold Too Many Copies of GTA V To Parents Who Didn’t Give a Damn:

The article I linked to was written by a video game store employee and how he sold too many copies of Grand Theft Auto V to a bunch of clueless parents whose kids are too young for the game. If you’re unfamiliar with the GTA series in each incarnation of the game you play a criminal and you are required to do some pretty violent things in order for the game to progress. Here’s the thing, despite what some critics may try to tell you the GTA series was never intended for children.

This is a pet peeve of mine because I’ve been a gamer since the introduction of the Atari 2600. I had the first generation Sears model. So I’ve been gaming longer than some of these ‘parents’ have been alive. I know that all video games that are released to the public today, and for a decade and a half now, all have ratings on them just like movies.

ESRB(1)

All of the Grand Theft Auto games are rated M for mature. That means that the game is not recommended for anyone under 17. While I don’t believe that video games cause violence per se if a kid was exposed to this game at too young an age it could have detrimental psychological effects on the child. For example there was this kid I knew growing up who got into his dad’s porn stash. Back in those days it was Playboy and Penthouse magazines, tame by today’s standards. However young children believe just about everything they see or hear. This kid ended up believing all the things he saw and read in these magazines as real, especially the ‘Dear Penthouse’ sections. When we were in middle school he told me how disappointed he was when we were selling magazines for school that we weren’t invited into this one house that had several attractive young women in it.

My point is that if a too young child is exposed to this game they may end up thinking that the ultraviolence in a GTA is not only acceptable but encouraged in society and by the time he grows out of it, it may be too late.

Category: Bad Parent Sightings | Tags: ,
  • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

    I don’t for one second believe that playing video games causes people to become violent, but I do think that children should be protected from knowing about the horrors of our world until they’re old enough to understand. Why does a little one need to know that some people are violent or steal things or rape people? They don’t need to know!

    The ratings shouldn’t be a suggestion…it should be made so that if a shop keeper suspects or knows that someone is buying an adult rated game for a minor then they refuse to sell it.

  • Char

    Scary is when the grown ups watch and still let the kids play.

  • Benighted

    I read an interview just this morning with a game store owner where he said he was constantly amazed at the apparent ignorance of parents regarding the ratings system and the content of well known games like the GTA series. He started to ask parents who were buying M and A rated games for young children if they knew what the ratings meant. He said the majority didn’t know, and (perhaps more worryingly) even after he explained most bought the games anyway.

  • Muggle

    I think the problem with so many video games being sold to young kids/ parents of young kids is that video games are, for some reason, considered something only adolescent boys do. Which is totally not true, but that mindset is out there. It’s why some games would be outright banned in some oh-so-“enlightened” countries with stricter freedom of speech laws than the US (passed for the benefit of teh childrenz, of course). I have my issues with the ESRB, but I think that it’s a fairly good guideline for what’s appropriate for young kids (older kids and teens, not so much).

    In reality, violent and sex-filled games have been around for decades now, I think I might actually be younger than some franchises/games.

    • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

      LeisureSuit Larry anyone?

  • Alexandra1973

    I remember it was cool when my parents got a TI/99-4A computer back in 1981. :) Munch-Man! I was 8 years old then.
    I am now 40 and I play Sims 2 and 3, which are teen-rated. While I don’t mind if my 11-year-old son watches while I build houses (he’s had a developmental delay and it’s helped him learn about what things go in what rooms), when my Sims try for a baby, even though you see nothing more than the bed or blankets jumping around depending on which game it is, it’s when my son is in another room. Or better yet, I put the walls up (I play with the walls cut away) or switch to another floor while the action is going on.

  • Jessie

    Amen, friend. As a former GTA “obsessed” twenty-something, I totally agree. I would play these games for hours, and then when I got into my car I had a false sense of entitlement and violent tendencies. It didn’t take me long to realize the game was poisoning me. I LOVE VIDEOGAMES. But this one is NOT for kids. Thanks for posting this.