Violence in video games

Calls to curb violent video games by father of Damilola, but should we go further?

Richard Taylor, the father of the murdered schoolboy, is calling on the government to impose financial penalties or taxation on violent video games that may influence or have a bearing on street violence. 

At present video games are only covered by a voluntary ratings scheme which extends its existing ratings system of U, 15 and 18 to digital downloads and video games.  This is despite concerns and calls for a regime to be imposed on video games following repeated concerns about the links between video nasties and violence.

Such concerns are not new and some of us can recall similar concerns going back as far as the tragic case of Jamie Bulger.  There have been many studies conducted and there is ample material to support the view that there is a strong link between aggressive and violent behaviour and violent video games. 

If that is the case, having regard to public concerns over violence and knife crimes and shootings involving young persons, are we being asked to pay too high a price.  If a taxation regime is introduced surely this is in danger of falling short of children’s expectations of us as parents and as responsible citizens. 

How would we balance the risk?  How would we square the interests of children generally if there were a risk that licensing was simply seen as a badge of approval for something that instinct and intuition and downright common sense should tell us otherwise? 

Surely we ought to have the courage of our convictions and go for a prohibition or outlawing of violent video games otherwise there is a danger that any thing less will simply allow commercial interests to hide behind a veil of authorisation under any system of licensing or regulation.  How many lessons must we learn?

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