Deputy United Kingdom prime minister Nick Clegg believes games like Grand Theft Auto can have a "corrosive effect" on player behavior, the politician said on his LBC Radio show today (via The Guardian).
"Clearly these games can have an incredibly powerful, and I suspect in some cases corrosive effect, on someone's behavior, someone's outlook; they get shut off, they don't talk to other people, they just stay in their living room, their bedroom hunkered down in front of their computer." Clegg said. "They occupy a hermetically sealed world of their own and that can have a very detrimental effect."
His comments came just days after the Washington Navy Yard shooting in which 13 people were killed by a gunman who reportedly played violent games for hours on end.
Clegg did not say which research his comments were based on, though the link between violent games and violent behavior has been debated extensively.
"In a free country, what do you do? Do you start saying to people you can't use it for more than X number of hours? No you can't do that," Clegg said. "There are, of course, restrictions around content. But we cannot limit people's use of [video games], certainly not the amount of time they devote to this by law or by edict."
Clegg added that parents bear a "heavy responsibility" to make sure the games their children spend time with are age- and content-appropriate. He said this responsibility is especially challenging for some parents because games have evolved so rapidly of late.
Clegg also said that parents should try to ration their children's time spent playing games because "overuse" can be problematic.