Children Playing Violent Video Games Could Be Child Neglect In UK


According to a report from the BBC, head teachers in Cheshire sent a threatening letter to parents of children attending 16 local schools. The letter stated that they would report parents of children playing violent video games rated “18-plus” to the police for neglect or abuse.

Part of the letter stated:

"Several children have reported playing or watching adults play games which are inappropriate for their age and they have described the levels of violence and sexual content they have witnessed: Call Of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Dogs Of War and other similar games are all inappropriate for children and they should not have access to them.If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18-plus we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as it is neglectful."

Children under 18 are prohibited by law from purchasing games with PEGI ratings of 18-plus, but aren’t prohibited from playing them if their parents purchase them. Nonetheless, police take reports of abuse very seriously, and accusations can send perfectly good parents into a nightmare of legal trouble. And while perhaps you may agree that games such as GTA are inappropriate for young children, IGN reports that the letter also cites websites such as Facebook and Whatsapp as dangerous, potentially exposing children to exploitation.

It is up to parents to teach children about the goods and bads of the Internet and media, but for those that do, or even for those who ignorantly buy their children a violent game, it seems a large, dangerous leap to associate such activity with child abuse. Whether any reports will actually be made or taken so seriously remains to be seen.

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