The controversy over video games and their content has been a conversation that has been on the forefront of many peoples minds since the creation of the first video game systems. Parents don’t want their kids to be playing any games that have violence or racy graphics in them, and because of this video games receive ratings Ec (early childhood), E (everyone), E10 (everyone 10+), T (Teen), M (mature), AO (adults only), and RP (ratings pending). These ratings are designed to allow players as well as parents figure out what is appropriate for certain age groups. Ratings not only designed as a recommendation, they are also designed so that only certain age groups can purchase these games. Although the age limits are enforced, age restrictions are easily avoidable as parents, siblings, and friends can purchase these games for ages that really should not be playing them. The ratings are meant to protect people of certain ages from being exposed to things that are not suitable for them, however children of younger and younger ages are being exposed to these mature games from a much younger age than intended.
Many current games have sparked controversies in the gaming industry such as, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, because of the violent messages that they reveal. Parents and others have blamed violent mature games like this for violent acts enacted by youths. Many believe that mature games desensitize kids from violence and they do not see the real outcomes of their actions. On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and 6 adult staff members. Many reports have linked this shooting to video games because Adam was apparently obsessed violent video games. For this shooting, reports say that these game gave him a false sense of courage and rage to actually perform this horrific incident.
It’s hard to tell if this issue can ever be fixed. Video games have recently become a big part of our society, especially for future generations. Games without violence, sexuality, graphic content, and illegal activities have become less appealing and buyers find them not as exciting as games with that content in it. Slapping a M rating on games is rarely going to stop an underage kid from playing them, as there is really no way to stop kids from playing these games unless video game industries stop creating mature games.
Timeline of Video Game Controversies: http://ncac.org/resource/a-timeline-of-video-game-controversies/
Entertainment Software Ratings Board: http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp