Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More than Alcohol, Smut & Violence

August 11, 2008 -

Just-released survey data from parenal advisory website What They Play maintains that parents worry more about their kids' exposure to video games than alcohol, violence and pornography.

From WTP's press release:

Nearly 3,000 respondents in two separate What They Play polls concluded that drinking beer and watching pornography were less objectionable activities for children than playing certain video games. Further, viewing violence was more acceptable than seeing content involving sex and sexuality within games.

WTP president John Davison commented:

These poll results demonstrate that parents are as apprehensive about their children’s media diets as they are about traditional social issues such as alcohol, drugs, violence and sex. When it comes to video games, parents should know that What They Play is a resource that helps demystify one of the most popular – and challenging – forms of entertainment their kids are into.

Dr. Cherly Olson, co-author of Grand Theft Childhood, is also quoted in the press release:

Although these findings seem surprising at first, they hint at fears parents have about video games. To some parents, video games are full of unknowable dangers. While researching for Grand Theft Childhood, parents we spoke with in focus groups often bemoaned the fact that they didn’t know how to use game controls - and felt unequipped to supervise or limit video game play. Of course, parents don’t want their children drinking alcohol, but that’s a more familiar risk.

According to WTP's data, here's what parents found most offensive in video games:

  • a man and woman having sex (37%)
  • two men kissing (27%)
  • a graphically severed head (25%)
  • multiple use of the F-word (9%).

Parents apparently worry about what their kids are playing on sleepovers, too:

The second poll... queried parents on what they’d be most concerned about their 17-year-old child indulging in while at a sleepover. More than 1,600 respondents revealed they’re more apprehensive about their child smoking marijuana (49%) and playing the video game Grand Theft Auto (19%), than watching pornography (16%) and drinking beer (14%).

GP: If accurate, the data poses some interesting challenges for the video game industry, starting with building parental confidence in game content as well as the means by which mature-themed games are kept away from younger players.


Comments

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Hell, no. If we have four more years with a Republican president, I'm taking all the money out of my bank accounts and traveling the world (or at least moving to Canada).

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

This is just sad really, and its "nice" to see that theres still major homophobia here in the States, ugh.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

I'm not really too surprised about this, it's kind of a given fact that parents are more worried about their kids seeing violent content and nudity, and hearing foul language, than they are about almost everything else.  The South Park movie covered that fairly well.

The "big problem", at the end of the day, is that there are very few people sticking up for the game industry in the national media.  Where have the ESA and ECA been while a long list of national and local news agencies, along with countless private groups, have been running what boils down to a smear campaign?  There have been several recent quotes that still blame V-Tech on violent games, even when several groups found that not to be the case.  Why haven't the groups that are suppose to be sticking up for gamers and game makers stepped up?  If the same thing happened in the film industry the wolves would've been let loose long ago.  Everyone complained about the book bombing after the Fox "news" piece, but did anyone see anyone else doing anything about it?  The reponse from the gaming industry was was almost invisible!  The only person who comes to mind who's gone to bat on a regular basis is Patricia Vance, and I applaud her for what she's done, but we need a lot more than that.

The gaming community has been out here fighting for years for videogames to at least get a fair shake, and fighting against the stereotypes and fear mongering that have been so prevelant.  It's time the gaming industry, the ECA, the ESA, game publishers, game designers, and everyone else involved on the industry's side actually stand up for themselves and what they do, it's time for the ESA and ECA to start moving on states and push education BEFORE legislation is brought up, instead of just fighting it after the fact, it's time for the ESRB and game publishers to push harder for voluntary enforecement of game ratings at all retailers, and it's time for game makers to grow some teeth and stand up for what they're making as an art form that can be for either adults, kids, or both.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

How old are the kids this survey is talking about? If it was below something like 15 or 16, then why the hell did the parents buy them the games? Or maybe they looked 17...... which is good enough at some stores...

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Simple answer: Parents are more familiar with porno, TV/movie violence, and alcohol.  Videogames are a great unknown to them- and it's not like most older parents are able to figure out how to play their kid's games.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

While that is true, it doesnt mean the parents have to be completly oblivious about the game.

For example: About a week after I got Halo 3, I wanted to get my Dad involved in what he says is "a waste of time" and have him play with me. So, rather than just throw him into a game, I taught him the buttons and everything. Not only was it a good bonding experience for us (he isnt home a lot), but it showed him that, while what happens in the game is both graphic and violent, I have enough common sense to know that its just a game and in no way should I re-enact anything I see on the screen in real life.

Thats what parents should be doing: spending time with their kids and trying to like what they like

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

 < how i feel

What has happen to the parents? Damn media. No way Jack Thompson had anything to do with this.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Of course he did! He also*:

- Invented the internet
- Cured cancer
- Caused world peace
- Ended world hunger

*Note: the preceeding may or may not have actually happened. (Spoilers: none of the above)

But seriously, have you ever known him not to take credit where it was clearly undeserved?

400 Episodes, TEN YEARS and counting: http://www.orangeloungeradio.com/ | Voice of Geeks Network - http://www.vognetwork.com

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Probably not the moat trustworthy source. they said it was a poll so it was probably just on their website which is focused on the "evil" of games so what do you expect?

extra random though. it says parents are concerned about their 17 year olds playing GTA? you can buy it at 17. somebodies parents are a little too protective.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

"felt unequipped to supervise or limit video game play"

Have them play in the living room and be there! Could it be any simpler?

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

LOL.  I really don't understand how it would be any different than supervising or limiting how much tv a child watches.  But then again they have problems with that too.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Hilarious though is it not that after almost 17 years of being alive, I am the only person I know in my age group that has not drunk alcohol, smoked anything or indulged in drug use, due in no small part to having videogames as my release, and to a similar degree, fantastic parenting, now what does that say about parents today?

Your soul is a tasty refreshing treat to ones such as I

chick chick chick chick chickeeeeen lay a little egg for meeeeee!

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Only in America would 2 people having sex, or two men!! kissing be considered worse than a "graphically severed head "

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Well I wouldn't LIKE to see two men having sex, and in my opinion is more gross than seeing a fake severed head, but if I had a child, I'd say seeing a severed head would be worse for a younger child

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Didn't we see this same poll before???

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

The pornography industry needs to pick up the slack.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

So stupid, they would rather have their kids binge drinking with their stupid friends than playing a video game, these parents need tog et their head out of their ass. Also smoking pot shouldn't be any worse than drinking, as a matter of fact if I had a kid I'd rather they be smoking with their friends than getting piss drunk and driviing into a tree.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

"Also smoking pot shouldn't be any worse than drinking"

Popular as it is to view smoking pot as less harmful, I'm not really convinced that's the case. Ingesting it... maybe (I've not seen data the to know) but inhaling smoke of any kind is not really recommended.

Otherwise, yes I agree, clearly a significant number of people don't appropriately prioritise their worries.

Gift.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

 I feel I should point out that marijuana, while pretty much harmless to adults, is known to be rather detrimental to developing brains (and our brains don't finish growing until our early 20s). The younger the brain, the more likely it is to cause damage. I have personal experience that correlates with this as well--I knew several people in high school with sub-par brain functions because they'd been smoking pot since they were 9.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Agreed. A little Mary Jane never hurt anybody.

Two men kissing, on the other hand... j/k

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Agreed.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

And THIS, my friends, is part of what is wrong with society today. Game, set, and match.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

''viewing violence was more acceptable than seeing content involving sex and sexuality within games.''

 

you what now?

so a kid seeing a dad beating a wife,  or seeing  a fight out on the street is MORE acceptable than in a video game...?

ill repeat.... you what now?

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

This also potentially represents the decline of the responsible parent in the modern age.  I have encountered many parents who just let their infant do whatever they want.  Bad behavior with the infant?  Oh, the infant will just "grow out of that behavior", which never happens of course.  Then, later when the infant has grown into a child and challenges the parents over and over and over again because as an infant they learned there are very few boundaries, the parents just give in.  As the child becomes an adolescent they become a problem to society and it just gets worse from there.

These same parents then blame their original inability to be an effective parent from day one on society instead, which then gives politicians such as Leland Yee all the ammo he needs...

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Now, I'm 16, and I admit that I am sometimes a bit spoiled (my parents never really gave me chores to do around the house until about a year ago), but some younger kids I've seen today can get away with saying stuff that would've earned me a nice healthy smack on the ass.

I was at a going-away party for my friend who was moving, and her 10 year old little sister (and her sister's friends) just constantly ran around, etc etc. Then, one of them got the idea to throw an egg at my friend, and what punishment do the girls get? They get yelled at, and some of them go on the verge of tears, so the dads back off. One girl tells her dad to "stop being a fag" (this is America btw, where fag is a pretty intense term for a 10-year-old), and another tells her dad to chill out as if she was the head of the house or something.

The fact that I'm only 16 and think that the kids 6 years behind me are spoiled just shows how bad this is getting, and I blame the parents

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

"One girl tells her dad to "stop being a fag" (this is America btw, where fag is a pretty intense term for a 10-year-old), and another tells her dad to chill out as if she was the head of the house or something."

More than likely, the girl has no idea what fag means. My sister was that age when she said the same thing to me and I asked her what a fag was, While I can't remember what she told me, it was not right. She had no clue what a fag was other hearing it from some one at school. Yea, I think some kids rule the roost at home and the parents wail about how they are so helpless.

Just my $00.02

 - Warren Lewis

Consumer responsibility is just as important as Corporate responsibility.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Yeah, I think most kids that age don't know what the insults actually mean. All they know is that they're shocking, insulting, and offensive.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

 Exactly. It is just like when 2 year olds say "I love you" because they know they will get all kinds of positive responses from parents and grandparents. They may have no idea what they are saying but they know what it gets them. 

 

Or when politicians say that they will balance the budget and also lower taxes. They really do not understand how to do that but they know they will get a positive reaction.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

And the parents blame everyone else. 

Whatever happened to disciplining your kids when they are young so they don't grow into maniacal teenagers?

What happened to being a role model?  Too busy fighting your spouse to notice that your child is watching. 

Whatever happened to controlling what your kids watch or play? 

Whatever happened to interacting with your kids and sharing experiences with them? 

 

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

The parents that are actually disciplining their kids, being role models, controlling their kids media intake, and in general interacting with their kids are usually too busy to be telling people about it.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

I for one will follow my dad's example. When I do something that I know damn well is bad, well, that deserves a smack or two. Good ol' fashioned bend-kid-over-knee and spank his/her ass. There's limits, of course, but not doing anything will just turn them into spoiled lil brats

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

 Good ol' fashion grounding always worked on me... the classic method of denying a child of there favorite things, tv, video games, playing with friends and so forth. Though such methods do garnish a bit of hate and scorn from the child if you start it off young it will help them get the message... and if you're gonna give a kid an allowance, make them EARN IT instead of giving them free money... Though a good way to lessen the hate is to balance the negative punishment with some positive rewards for especially good behavior(as in doing more than just following the rules; don't want to spoil em')...  you got a make sure you still give the kids enough love that they keep loving you back and don't just remember the times you punished them. Gotta give em' the overall message, "be good then we're all happy"

Another thing parents need to stop doing is giving their kids so many damn luxuries... A lock on their door, their own computer, their own tv, being lenient on curfews and so forth; really you're just making it harder to keep an eye on them... let them grow up, mature and show you that they can use such freedoms well and do not require you're watchful eye

 

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Whatever happened to disciplining your kids when they are young so they don't grow into maniacal teenagers?

Becuase various 'research studies' indicated that discipline can be harmful to children later on in their lives.

 

What happened to being a role model?  Too busy fighting your spouse to notice that your child is watching.

Because of anti-violence and responsibility activists we no longer see role models like G.I. Joe, Voltron, or the like. Instead we end up with pacifist 'Dora the Explorer' shows, which aren't bad as they are, but hold no real moral value in terms of real-world application.

 

Whatever happened to controlling what your kids watch or play?

Just ask, the TV is now the babysitter of America, cutting out thousands of jobs!

 

 

Whatever happened to interacting with your kids and sharing experiences with them?

Los Angeles is already working on that.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

"Becuase various 'research studies' indicated that discipline can be harmful to children later on in their lives." 

They're just talking about spanking, there are other methods too.  Disciplining does not need to involve corporal punishment.  I'm talking about parent's not backing down too easily and being tough in misbehaviour.  There needs to be no spanking.

I guess external role models help a bit.  But the biggest role models are people you know.  You are likely to be negatively affected if your parent's fight.

It's sad that the TV is a babysitter. 

 

 

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Neither me nor my wife have ever spanked our daughter but she knows exactly whats expected of her and repeats the rules she lives by when role playing with dolls. Saying you can only keep kids in control by spanking is like saying you can only get frags in death matches by camping a random doorway. Yeah, your method may work but it is not necessarily the best method and certainly is not the only method.'

 

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

 

"They're just talking about spanking, there are other methods too.  Disciplining does not need to involve corporal punishment.  I'm talking about parent's not backing down too easily and being tough in misbehaviour.  There needs to be no spanking."

How did I say you can only keep kids in control by only spanking?

 

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

With every new generation the older generation cries out that society is going downhill, kids are all becoming spoiled little a-holes. And not just recently, this cyclic behaviour has been happening for a long ass time and will continue to happen. The generation that calls this new generation a bunch of spoiled idiots with no moral vaules were described the same way, and they did not learn from it.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Kids becoming spoiled? If you ask me, the only, and I mean the only way to get spoiled is from the parents, and parents alone. So how are these parents complain about their child being spoiled? Also, parents are worried about their kids seeing two men kissing? This proves even more that today Homosexuals are treated much worse then African-American

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

I find it interesting that video game sex/homosexual kissing is more offensive than graphic decapitation in the first survey, and that video games are worse than pornography in the second poll.  The results sound contradictory to me.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Wow, parents today apparently don't have their priorities straight.

They are more afraid of Gears of War than they are of a minor getting access to alcohol?  I understand that they feel "better equipped" to handle the alcohol issue than video games, but the latter of the two can result in actual real life problems.

And what the hell is up with that one part of the survey where parents are more worried about two men kissing in a video game than having a severed head be displayed on screen?  Some people should not have been allowed to reproduce in the first place if they can't prioritize correctly.

All this has done is reinforce a theory of mine; once the "gamer generation" becomes the dominate adult demographic, these kind of issues will fade into the background.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

It depends on the parents involved in my experience. Plenty of them do know how to do their job, and have their priorities straight. They're too busy actually raising their kids to sit around moaning about stuff in public.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Oh my, this is really pathetic... It says alot about how well the media have scared parents into believing this nonsense. And please, no one say that Thompson played a major role in this. 1st, he didn't, and 2nd, if you say that he'll just take it as a compliment for whatever reason.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Don't worry, he'll take credit soon enough.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Hurrrrrgrandtheftautohurrrr

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

just goes to show how the family groups have scared parents.  The media has done some pretty good fearmongering.  This is just sad.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

Not only that, but the parents are the ones BUYING the games. It's confusing, it really is.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

It's beyond sad. Someone who worries more about their child playing video games than smoking does not sound like parent of the year to me. In fact, judging by the list of things parents find most offensive in games, it looks like the things a parent that wants to shield their kids from everything would fear.

But what really strikes me as poor parenting is that they think it'd be better if their kids were smoking and drinking for real instead of doing it in a game, because somehow doing the acts in real life is easier for them to handle.

If a parent is more worried that their child is playing video games than doing drugs, chances are their kids are out there doing drugs, because mommy and daddy are too busy checking their child's room for game consoles than they are for other things.

- The most frightening thing a person can ever hear: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help"

- Stand back! I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Re: Survey: Parents Fear Kids' Exposure to Video Games More

I guess all of JT's hardwork is starting to pay off. Thank you JT. Thank you bi-partisan attention hungry politicians. Thank you Fox and CNN. You've instilled the world with much paranoia and made it a more sh*tty place to live in.

Thank you very much.

 
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