Violent Video Games

Many parent and government groups, religious organizations, and psychologists often criticize video games for being violent or cruel. They say that violent video games have a bad effect on society and are the cause for many crimes and accidents that take place. Studies show that playing violent video games and watching violent shows does lead to some aggressive behavior. Although video game critics generally do agree that violent video games are not any more harmful than violent television shows or any other forms of media and entertainment with the same amount of violence and cruelty. Some adults still do find it upsetting that some video games allow the player to take part in crimes and are rewarded for completing them. One of the more controversial violent video games is Grand Theft Auto. The game allows the player to hijack cars and run people over with them; the game also allows the player to purchase guns to kill rival gang members. Many argue that these are also the players’ choice and that the simulation is very similar to real life in which they can decline to do so.

The controversy about violent video games and other concerns such as explicit sexual content in games has led to the adoption of rating systems into the industry. The ESRB rating system is used in the United States and the PEGI is used in Europe to help parents decide which games are not harmful for their children to play. To help educate parents and show which games are not targeted to children an ESRB rating of ‘M’ for Mature is given or an ‘AO’ for Adult Only while the PEGI will give a ‘Certificate 18’. Although if the parent buys and gives permission to the child to play an M rated game it is not regarded as an offense.