Parents, Not Industry Must Protect Kids from Violent Video Games, Says Group

This should go without saying, but in today’s world, I’m afraid me must say it.

( – With parents rushing out to buy video games for their kids this holiday season, the National Institute on Media and the Family claims the video industry is exercising more responsibility, but that it remains up to parents to protect their children from the violence contained in the games.

“Video games are becoming a key part of our entertainment culture,” Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) said at a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday. But, he said there should be restrictions on what kids can access. He compared the games to alcohol, cigarettes and pornography.

“Media violence has a negative effect on children, with a greater correlation than between smoking and lung cancer,” he said.

Lieberman pointed to an annual survey and report card released Wednesday on video games, which showed that while video game consoles now have parental controls and ratings that are more comprehensive and better enforced, parents are not doing enough.

“It’s really time to focus on the parents,” he said. “Pay attention to the games your kids — our kids — are playing. Watch what your kids watch. Play what your kids play,” he said.

However, David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, said that over the last ten years there have been “significant changes.”

“For the past ten years, we have used this annual report card to challenge the video game industry to improve its record of attending to the welfare of younger players,” he said. “More recently, we urged retailers to step up their responsibility to keep adult games out of the hands of children and youth.

“This year we acknowledge the strides taken by both sectors of the industry,” he said. “This report has been an effective tool to bring about voluntary change.”

The group gave game console manufacturers as well as to big retailers such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target an “A” grade. The industry has “really given parents the tools. They’ve taken this seriously,” Walsh said.

Parental response, he warned, has been “inadequate.”

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