Should the ESRB Video Game Ratings be More Strictly Enforced?

ESRB Video game Ratings enforcedOn the heels of another school shooting with possibly the youngest suspect I’ve ever heard of (12 years old). I have to question whether or not the shooter had played violent video games before. Smart money would be on “yes”, I mean how many other ways (except possibly unfettered internet access) could a 12 year old get knowledge of a sawed-off shotgun?

Although I’m a big fan of games like Battlefield I firmly support a strong ratings system. Time and time again I see parents buying kids far younger than 17 years old, games that are rated “M”. Either they aren’t educated on what
the ratings mean or they simply don’t care. Exposing a 12 year old to games like Grand Theft Auto where you are rewarded for killing pedestrians cannot be good for development.

Not long ago I overheard a parent in Toys R Us asking for something called “GTA V” for her 14 year old kid.
Neither the parent nor the sales person knew what it was but eventually they figured out it meant “Grand Theft Auto”. Throughout their whole conversation there was no mention of the game’s “M” rating, but clearly the parent was buying it for a kid who wasn’t 17 or older (she even said it was for her 14 year old kid).

I feel like parents are letting their kids get desensitized to violent crimes by allowing them to play these games at such a young age, it might even be possible that kids playing such violent games at a young age could even
encourage them to perpetuate a violent crime…

Personally I think this is something that needs to be reformed. I don’t know how you do it since parents are of the age to buy the game, but somehow parents need to learn that what is found in a game marked “M” is NOT ok for a 12 year old kid.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this issue, so be sure to comment and vote in the poll!




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