Content warning labels placed on video games actually increase children’s desire to play, according to a new study published in the March issue of Pediatrics.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune:
Researchers tested 310 Dutch children ranging in age from 7 to 17. Participants read fictitious game descriptions and rated how much or how little they wanted to play each game. In every group, the more objectionable the content, the more kids clamored for the controller—"forbidden fruit," the researchers called the games…
Authors, Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan and Elly Konijn of VU University Amsterdam… suggest that youth should not be allowed to buy their own games, that parents and physicians be aware of risk factors… and that policy-makers rethink the classifications…
Interestingly, the study began with the hypothesis that mature content ratings issued by the Pan-European Game Information system (PEGI) enticed younger players. With regard to PEGI the authors conclude:
Although [PEGI] was developed to protect youth from objectionable content, this system actually makes such games forbidden fruits. Pediatricians should be aware of this forbidden-fruit effect, because video games with objectionable content can have harmful effects on children and adolescents.
As GamePolitics readers know, PEGI, which enjoys video game industry support, is locked in a bitter struggle with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for ratings dominance in the U.K.