Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size
A
A
A

Ultraviolent Video Games Too Accessible for Kids


WebMD Health News

Jan. 25, 2001 (Washington) -- What's the good of standards, if they aren't enforced? Video games are now age-ranked according to their content under a voluntary industry system, but those ratings are rarely enforced in stores, according to a report released Thursday.

In its fifth annual report card on video and computer games, the National Institute on Media and the Family gave ratings enforcement a D+. The report noted that "sting operations" with children aged 7-14 have found that most retail chain stores allow youths to purchase even those games that are rated "M" as suitable only for persons 17 and older. According to the report, only Target and Funcoland were enforcing policies to prevent the sale of violent-rated games to youngsters.

For the release of the report on Capitol Hill, organizers played a video depicting some current games, including the M-rated Activision game "Soldier of Fortune," which allows players to realistically blow opponents' heads off with guns and dismember dead bodies. Industry observers say that these already high-tech games are only going to get more realistic.

The report gave the industry grades of C on educating parents about its rating system and for its marketing/advertising practices. And it emphasized that the game industry had been responsive to earlier recommendations to improve its education and marketing efforts.

In a statement, the Interactive Digital Software Association, which represents game makers, said, "We are constantly exploring additional steps that can be taken both to educate parents about the ratings system and to develop new guidelines to restrict advertising that inappropriately targets kids."

Daphne White, executive director of the Lion and Lamb Project, a group that opposes the marketing of violence to kids, tells WebMD, "I applaud the report, but I might have been a little tougher." She and the institute support a single, independently controlled rating system that would cover TV, video games, and movies.

According to White, "The video game industry has taken some toddler steps, but it is young, and there is a lot of room for it to be more responsible. Things have improved in that there is a rating system, and the software industry has started an advertisement review board, so I think the ads have been toned down somewhat."

A bipartisan group of senators who participated in the release of the findings made clear that they are eyeing tighter regulations on the entertainment industry.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn.), said that he would introduce legislation to give the Federal Trade Commission authority to prosecute those companies who marketed adult games to children.

Last fall, the FTC issued a report that charged that the game, movie, and music industries have been targeting adult material to children.

Lieberman said, "These games numb them to the consequences of violence. If companies are going to make it, we should do everything we can to keep it away from our children."

Today on WebMD

family walking on the beach
Slideshow
two boys in a swing
Article
 
mistakes_parents_make_with_toddlers_2.jpg
Article
woman with cleaning products
Slideshow
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow