The majority of parents don’t check age restrictions on video games and don't think violent games affect their kids, according to a new poll.
The study, conducted by gaming price comparison and swap site www.Playr2.com. 1,221 parents of children aged 17 who frequently played video games were surveyed.
The parents were surveyed, and were asked if they checked the age restrictions of their children’s video games before allowing them to play. Just under two thirds (64%) answered no. The majority of these parents, 55%, agreed that they did not think that age restrictions mattered on video games.
Similarly, they were not concerned that their under-18s could be playing grown-up games. Asked "Would you be concerned if your child was playing video games with an age restriction of 18?", 51% said no.
The parents viewed films differently, with 54% claiming that they would be concerned if their child was watching films with an age restriction of 18.
Parents saw a difference between films and video games. Most parents (61%) did not consider that violent games could affect their children's behaviour negatively, with most reasoning that video games did not mirror real life.
Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, told The Huffington Post: "Age ratings exist to provide parents and consumers generally with information about games and the suitability of games for children. Just as parents should not buy 18 rated films for minors, so they should not buy 18 rated games for children. Parents must take responsibility."
"There are so many games that are fun and suitable for children. Parents and consumers just need to look at the age ratings," he said.
Earlier this month, parents told The Huffington Post that their kids play adult video games, and they're just fine. One said he was not "the slightest bit worried" about his 17-year-old son, who plays shooter, Call of Duty.
Sarah, a mother-of-two, told The Huffington post that her 13-year-old step-son plays violent video games regularly.
She said they're no risk "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.
The parents' comments came after a teachers' union leader warned that video games are leading to a "marked increase" in playground violence, as students as young as four act out violent video game scenes at school.
Simon Kilby, founder of Playr2.com which conducted the study, said: "The effect that video games have on a child’s behaviour is a consistent topic of debate, and one that regularly raises concerns. We wanted to look more into how parents feel about the matter, and what they do, if anything, to control what video games their child is exposed to."
"It was really surprising to see that the majority of parents admitted that they don’t check age restrictions on games. At the end of the day, they’re there for a reason due to the content of the game in question. I’d advise any parent to keep a close eye on the age restrictions on games. You’d do the same for films, you shouldn’t ignore them on games," he said.