In the wake of the brutal ride-by slaying of an 11-year-old Liverpool boy on Wednesday, the leader of Great Britain’s Conservative Party has attacked a number of cultural influences – including video games. As reported by the Times, David Cameron said:
What has become of our society when we have this spate of children killing children?”
It means understanding and acting on that age-old maxim that it takes a village to raise a child. It means retailers stopping the sale of alcohol to young teenagers. It means music companies, media companies, games manufacturers, not just thinking, ‘What is my social responsibility as a company in terms of the projects I support and the charities I back, good and important as they are’, but asking, ‘What is the effect of the music I produce, the games I market and the programmes I broadcast?’
Coincidentally, fellow Conservative Jeremy Hunt was interviewed recently by MCV regarding the British game industry. Among his comments:
The UK video games industry is obviously a vitally important part of our economy. The Government needs to do all it can to support the video games sector and allow it to flourish.
I would, however, place equal weight on the cultural influence that games can have. As children and young people make up a significant proportion of video game users it is important for the industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way.
Issues involving content have largely focused on the negative aspects associated with games. The arguments around Resistance: Fall of Man and Manchester Cathedral being the most recent example. The industry needs to accept it has a duty to act responsibly when it comes to appropriate content and politicians and the media needs to realise that the industry can have a positive impact on young people’s lives…
I believe that it is time for the games industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way and play their part in the prevention of unsuitable material falling into the hands of children. It is essential that manufacturers take seriously the messages sent out by violent and increasingly life-like video games and I believe that most currently do so.