GamesBeat seems to have secured the exclusive on a new poll from national polling outfit Harris Poll about video games. The poll, which questioned 2,278 U.S. adults found that nearly three in five adult Americans – or 58 percent – think that video games contribute to violent behavior in teenagers. Further, 38 percent of respondents said that they knew nothing about the Electronic Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) system for rating video games, while 33 percent of the adults surveyed said that they let their children play whatever games they want regardless of ratings.
Nearly half of respondents, or 47 percent, said that they are not confident in the ability for the ESRB ratings to keep mature games out of the reach of children, while 32 percent said that they are confident that the game ratings can do so. Those surveyed said that they had more faith in the movie (49 percent) and TV (39 percent) ratings systems. That last part is ironic because it isn't based in reality if you believe the Federal Trade Commission's studies that show that the video game industry is better at enforcing its age-rating system than movies or music.
Finally, more than a third of respondents said that they do not understand the ESRB rating system, with only 14 percent of respondents claiming to fully understand the guidelines and 18 percent saying they understood a lot of it.
“The findings underscore the lack of awareness Americans have about the video game rating system, as well as the confusion in the market,” Harris Poll president Mike de Vere said in a statement. “They also factor into a larger discussion playing out across our country and on a political stage around how violent games impact our youth, with President Obama recently announcing his desire to look into ways to fund research examining the impact of violent video games on children.”
Full results of the survey will be released on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how the polling organization worded its questions and how the demographic of those polled breaks down in terms of political affiliation, age, race, gender, etc. If the data is taken at face value it sure looks like the ESRB and the video games industry have a lot of work to do in order to better inform parents about understanding and using the ratings system.
Thanks to Cheater87 for the tip.