Video games cause violence, most children admit to Ofcom (UK)

UK Telegraph 16 May 2008

Most children believe that playing violent computer games does lead to aggressive behaviour, according to a survey by the broadcasting regulator. Two thirds of those aged between 12 and 15 said that violence in games had more of an impact on behaviour than violence in television or films, the study by Ofcom found. The findings come only weeks after the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, a computer game in which the main character robs and murders his way through the criminal underworld. Although given an 18-certificate, parenting groups have expressed concern that the game, which has smashed all previous entertainment sales records, will fall into the hands of younger children.

Ofcom questioned more than 2,000 parents and their children to find out how the use of technology was changing. It found that children’s bedrooms were increasingly becoming “multi-media centres”, with those aged 12 to 15 having at least six media devices in their rooms, including the internet, MP3 players, digital cameras and mobile phones. Those aged eight to 11 had, on average, four devices in their rooms. But despite concerns over children accessing the web unsupervised, a rising number of parents said they had not installed blocking software to stop their sons and daughters watching unsuitable content.