April 08, 2009

Spot the problem with this story..

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7990927.stm

I'm reading this story in disbelief. Is it April the 1st again or something? The headline reads: Four ecstasy pills have been found inside a computer game bought at a High Street store.

The story goes that a family bought a pre-owned video game for their 12 year old son from a local branch of Gamestation, but upon returning home found a quantity of class A drugs stashed inside the case. This is of course bad and a serious mistake by Gamestation.

But I'm more interested in the other story, which is conveniently nested within the article - and has been nicely eluded to by the writer of the article. The story which in which a family (who are outraged at the discovery of drugs in this video game title) were buying Grand Theft Auto 4 (an 18 rated video game) for their 12 year old child. I'd sympathize a little more if this was a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog or something - but this is an 18 rated game. As in, not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. What the hell were they doing buying this game in the first place?!

The age restrictions are there for a reason. Grand Theft Auto contains scenes of violence, sex, and drug abuse. It isn't even remotely suitable for a 12 year old. If action is taken against Gamestation, I think I'm going to turn into some kind of 'parental ignorance' vigilante. I've witnessed with my own eye, parents buying copies of Grand Theft Auto for their children and the sales assistant dutifully advising them that the game is rated 18 for unsuitable scenes only to be dismissed with a "Yeah - whatever.. it's fine.." type comment. I'm astounded and appalled that a story like this can make its way into the press without the real issue here even being commented on.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. But video games are only toys, and therefore you couldn’t possibly have a toy that is aimed at over-18s only etc etc etc etc yawn.

    And then people wonder why we despair at those who complain about children playing “violent” games…

    10 Apr 2009, 13:09

  2. Mike Willis

    An acquaintance of mine worked in the children’s section of a Waterstones around the turn of the millennium. On numerous occasions she had to explain to parents why the South Park related merchandise was located elsewhere in the store.

    13 Apr 2009, 10:37

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