04/04/2012 12:12 BST | Updated 05/04/2012 05:56 BST

The Parents Who Let Their Children Play Violent Video Games

Parents who let their children play addictive video games have hit back at claims they increase playground violence and lure children into a bloody and crime-fuelled fantasy world.

One father told The Huffington Post UK he was not "the slightest bit worried" about his 17-year-old son, who plays games such as Call of Duty, building up rage, resentment, anger - or even the odd supernatural combat skill.

The comments came after a teacher union leader warned addictive video games are contributing to a "marked increase" in playground violence, with pupils as young as four and five are acting out graphic scenes of violence in the playground and lashing out in the classroom.

Computer games have long been deemed the cause for today's "lost youth", with teachers, parents and experts alike blaming the virtual worlds for corrupting innocent minds and leading children down the proverbial garden path.

But The Huffington Post UK spoke to parents who continue to let their children play such video games, and heard how - shock horror - their children turned out perfectly normal.

Brian Baglow, who worked on the first Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game back in 1997, is father to a 17-year-old boy who plays addictive computer games.

He argues the main problem with games today is not the violent content itself but the "quality and fidelity" of the graphics.

"We've arguably been doing exactly the same thing since the earliest days of arcade machines - blowing things up. Space Invaders did it. Call of Duty does it. It's just far more realistic and gory nowadays."

Baglow says it is the responsibility of the parent, not the games industry, to regulate what their children are seeing.

"There's a whole rating system in place to show exactly what sort of content is in a game.  Yet for a great many parents, they will allow their children to sit down and play anything - regardless of what's on the box.

"They're simply buying it without even considering the content. Claiming ignorance about games or the Internet simply isn't good enough."

But, he continues, he has let his son play "a number of games which a rated for older kids".

"I know exactly what he's played and have sat and watched him do it." Baglow says the key is discussing the content in the games and how it has made his son feel.

"Which," he adds, "most of the time is thrilled, excited or happy.

"He's indulging in some fun and relieving some stress after a tough term at school. I'm not in the slightest bit worried about him building up rage, resentment, anger (or building a set of supernatural combat skills)."

Additionally, mother-of-two Sarah says her 13-year-old step-son regularly plays violent video games, and used to play up for to eight hours a week.

She told HuffPost the games are not damaging, "provided the player is capable of distinguishing fantasy and reality - which I think most children are".

"I played violent games when I was a teenager and they didn't make me aggressive or violent - in fact, I found them relaxing," Sarah says. "They're a safe space to play out aggressive feelings.

"I think there are hugely beneficial things about videogames that the press often ignores. I watch my step-son play, and he learns a lot about history, about strategic thinking, about design and construction, and about team play. His successes also boost his confidence. I'd much rather him play them than veg out in front of the television."

According to Baglow, rather than becoming ignorantly immersed into a virtual world, his son actually "despairs of the whole issue".

"A game is very clearly not the real world. Any action in any game does not to behaviour or skills in the real world.

"His favourite game is (currently) Fifa and it's not made him a world class footballer. Similarly, his love for Modern Warfare 3 has not turned him into a special forces ninja, or a troubled, heavily-armed loner."

Baglow concludes by saying the violence of video games, and in particular GTA, was "never, ever the point".

"It was all about creating something new and fun."