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.