NIMF miffed with M-rated sales to minors

Nationwide survey conducted for National Institute on Media and Family finds teens able to buy violent games 46 percent of the time.

The National Institute on Media and Family isn't releasing its annual game-industry report card until early next month, but a San Diego-based affiliate of the group has given a sneak peek at the results, a NIMF representative confirmed to GameSpot today.

As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, a two-month undercover survey found that underage teens were able to purchase games rated M for Mature at 46 percent of surveyed stores. Included in the group were 60 retailers nationwide. Games carrying the M rating are intended only for audiences 17 and older.

The stat was attributed to a representative of the East County Youth Coalition, which aided the NIMF in conducting the survey. That group wants retailers to adhere better to the ratings guidelines, create formal training procedures for employees, display information about the ratings in their stores, and to physically separate M-rated titles from the rest of its offerings.

The 46 percent figure falls more-or-less in line with a Federal Trade Commission report on violent media released in April. In that report, the FTC found that 42 percent of children aged 13-16 were able to buy games rated M for Mature, a significant improvement over the 69 percent that were able to do so in a 2003 study.

The NIMF's findings still put the game industry well ahead of most other entertainment industries when it comes to keeping violent content out of kids' hands. The FTC study found that only movie theaters did a better job of limiting minors' access to inappropriate material (39 percent of kids were able to buy tickets to R-rated films), whereas retailers sold children R-rated DVDs (or their unrated counterparts) 71 percent of the time. Vigilance in the CD aisles was even worse, given that minors were able to purchase recordings with explicit content 76 percent of the time.

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Discussion

314 comments
delorean529
delorean529

Won't they realize this could become like drugs and kids will buy these games in the undergroung gang scene? These liberal nutjobs are only making it worse. My friend plays Assassin's Creed and plenty of other violent games and he is 10. I've never seen him hurt a kid and he is really nice

envybianchi
envybianchi

If NIMF really wants stores to stop selling R or M rated games, cds & movies to underaged kids, why don't they just create a system just like when you buy cigarettes or alcohol? Basically, having signs at each register saying, "Please present Photo ID if you are 21 years or younger, if you are purchasing R or M rated content." They can also set up a software, so when an employee scans an R or M rated item, the screen would prompt the employee to check ID & input in the correct Date of Birth. Not that hard to imply that in this day & age. They do that for cigarettes & alcohol.

Wilstysabsinthe
Wilstysabsinthe

A twenty-seven percent improvement is quite good. I don't see why they should be griping. I guess they won't stop until no minors can gain access to them. I suppose it's possible, but highly unlikely. There will always be some way to expose oneself to mature forms of video games and other media. What will happen if they succeed in stopping minors from doing this? Probably take the next step and ban video games all together.

Cl0ne888
Cl0ne888

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Cl0ne888
Cl0ne888

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

shrink45
shrink45

Come on guys, we have the internet you know! "No need for ID on the Internet, friend."

Flame_Co
Flame_Co

Now compare it to R rated movies and prepare to get ur pantys blown off.........

czekebob
czekebob

I played M when I was 7. (Sigh) Why don't they just lock up the M rated games and Make you show your ID To purchase them?

StrangeBreww
StrangeBreww

They are going overboard on this. It's just games.

pill922
pill922

i can buy them all the time

HuusAsking
HuusAsking

I have a question to the NIMF. How do you handle kids who are smarter than the parents? Who can fake IDs? Who have legally-aged friends? Who have parents who simply don't care?

osxgp
osxgp

Ahh, the "Blame Game". Played by politicians and groups like this everywhere. Pre-order now and get the Official "Blame Game" T-shirt.

osxgp
osxgp

I'd like to see some of the people of this organization work at a retail store for minimum wage and see if they care who buys what.

sementhead2001
sementhead2001

Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that it's people in suits in rooms rating games music and other forms of expression, it truly is the most subtle bit of censorship in existence right now.

f789790
f789790

Wow I cannot believe they are paying attention to music. How about paying more attention to the R-rated movie kids.

Toxostomo
Toxostomo

At least they are cracking down on the retailers instead of targeting the content this time. Either way all of this sh*t concerning children buying violent content all comes down to one thing: the parents. If parents would be more responsible then there wouldn't be an issue. Also I don't believe for a second that violent video games merits violent nature. It's all just the person playing it.

ishpoo805
ishpoo805

Time to blame violence on video games and not society again.

Silver_Crow
Silver_Crow

ESRB ==/==> LAW ESRB=====> ADVICE ..............u.u

Merl57
Merl57

the problem here is retail people making minimum wage don't really give a crap about this. Working at these places they play games and understand them. Even if they don't agree with it they still have to ID kids. Hell I'm 20 *&(_ in years old and they still ask for my ID. Every time. The stores are doing a fine job but when you underpay your emloyess what do you expect them to do?

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

I think Darthmatt's comment about how his younger cousins want to play stuff like shooters because they're not mature enough to want to play more immature games is both funny and insightful. Honestly, when I was younger myself I always found myself wanting to play action games all the time. Not bloody and violent games, but action games with lots of twitch-involvement and stuff like that which often had blood and violence in them. Not because I like blood and such, but more because I liked the action. Now that I'm older though, I find myself more patient and thoughtful however, and more able to appreciate games that don't involve you shooting something or whacking it with a sword every 5 seconds, and find myself playing more "kiddy" games (which really aren't, honestly, if they're games with good, engaging gameplay) more than I ever used to when I was a teenager. I still play lots of action games, but I also find myself playing more stuff like Mario Games and stuff like Touch Detective as well.

mattisdada
mattisdada

Well before i started playing violent video games when i was 7. I was a sweet little boy, always so helpfull and caring. But then i played a violent video game. And i turnend out bad. So bad infact, that i was doing drive by's by the time i was 7 and a half, and pimping all over town! If i see someone i just feel the URGE to KILL. Im so violent! Rarrghhh!!! Im going to kill these pollers because of my violence!!!!! They make me so angrey!!! Grrrr. For the people that cant see sarcashem in text(Which no body can, thank you very much) i was being sarcastic. I like playing violent video games, and i like playing non violent video games, whatever i find FUN. And guess what? Im probably one of the least violent person you will ever meet. I dont belive in war, guns, killing things. For example, i think killing something JUST because it annoys you is wrong, eg a fly. Which im sure all these surveyrs have done before, i would say there more violent then me. But they dont play violent video games, what gives?! Guess what? Doing something with a controller is doing something quite diffrent to real life. And also, let me ask you this question. How many killers(Mass killers, gennociders, murdurs, ect) are there out there(in jail or in the streets) are gamers? Probably a very veyr veyr very small ammount if any. This is bogus. Please stop wasting our tax on things like this(If this is goverment funded), and if its not goverment funded, SPEND YOUR MONEY ON SOMETHING THAT WILL STOP VIOLENCE!!!!!!! And trust me, stopping violent video games, aint gonna help. Sorry i dont have time to proof read this or spell check it, the spelling is a bit wrong. And i am a 16 year old. WIth these views, in these times. Prove me wrong. If you can

Cradleofbodom
Cradleofbodom

LOL! who cares... seriously, if your 16 and buying a M-Rated game, whos gunna care. And the explicit music, god all you have to do is go to school for a day or walk down the street to hear as much or more explicit things. People need to find better things to pole.

Paveric
Paveric

Nah, people are inherently violent. It's our nature to kill stuff. We play violent games because we have a natural urge to be violent, not the other way around. Let's just count our blessings that most people do it in a video game. P.S. I tried to swear in this message only to realize it gets censored. I find it funny since we're talking about censorship. How ridiculous.

retrofraction12
retrofraction12

Games really don't make people violenet. They make people use to violence.

thesaxmaniac
thesaxmaniac

I started playing DOOM when I was 7 or 8. Not to mention Wolfenstein 3d. I also played Myst and Simcity 2000. I'm pretty normal. I have no violent record whatsoever.

Paveric
Paveric

Yeah, I'm glad this restriction isn't working and I'm 19 and rarely play "adult " games. Maybe if their parents don't want them to play a game they should be more active in their kids lives and pay attention to what their kids spend their money on. Plus, the very idea that video games cause violence is sickening, and this is just another example of that mindset.

JerseyJ2007
JerseyJ2007

Growing up, I didn't personally know any parent who restricted what their kids played, watched, or listened to and none of the kids (including me) got "scarred for life" or whatever most of our society thinks will happen to the kids. Anyone who believes in these restrictions when they themselves had to deal with them a few years ago is a selfish, brainwashed idiot.

Squire_Ramza
Squire_Ramza

all of you who are saying good and are happy about this are proly all 16 and younger. if you are 17 and older and ure still happy about this then thats just a shame... I for one would love to see retail chains get tougher on it because then maybe some retail stores would actually start selling AO (adult Only) games. the main reason they dont allow selling of AO games is cause they know half the time no one cards the person buying a video game. No, it's because the companies who make the consoles won't allow games with an AO rating to be made for their systems because of their own ethical standpoint.

Squeets
Squeets

I don't see what the big deal is... either they got the money for the game from their parents, which means they have permission, or they have a job and they worked for their money and you should shut the f**k up and let them spend it on whatever the hell they want to spend it on... Does playing a violent video game when I am 16 scar me for life because I didn't wait one year...? I have been playing violent video games since since I was 7 on Resident Evil 1 on PS1... and you know what... I get straight A's in school and I am a very sociable person with many friends... Oh wait? Thats not what your study found? And to think that they use government money from our taxes to send people to college on scholarships just so they can do research on how many stores sell 17+ games to 16 year olds...? WTF?

Darthmatt
Darthmatt

Its funny how my younger cousins come over and all they want to play are my shooters. Never mind that I have super mario galaxy or other E games. They love the shooters, they have PSPs. They want the mature games because they aren't mature enough to enjoy immature games. Anyways, I'd like to see a study of how many deaths and acts of violence those kids see on TV each week.

Afro_Samurai
Afro_Samurai

You know, if these people would take that same energy and put it to something meaningful like trying to reduce the number of illegal weapons on the street, then we got something to report.

kenshinhimura16
kenshinhimura16

Thats what happens when you hire teenagers to work at your stores in order to pay them less.

zeke2040
zeke2040

i'm so tired of hereing this... but i guess watching hostle 2 is good for a four year old to watch at the movies with there parent... i guess govorment and politicains have no one less to blame... they should do something better with our tax money and waste on cure for virus or diasea , and not waste money on survey's to find out game rating, or how violent they really are...

L_i_o_n
L_i_o_n

46 percent can get the video games on shop, the rest, 54 % download them on internet

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

"and to physically separate M-rated titles from the rest of its offerings." - This has been something I have spoken out about many many times for years. Usually I am arguing against politicians efforts to bring government in where it does not belong. All retailers should begin separating their games by Rating with each clearly marked and M-rated games in a completely separate shelf from the rest. I think this would make a huge difference and would make it easier for parents as well.

TKTOWA
TKTOWA

I like the idea of separating the M-rated games from the rest. It makes it easier for me to find my gore fix :P.

sieg6529
sieg6529

Gawds I love to hear the under-agers whine.

KingKoop
KingKoop

I'm 21 can I buy what I want please?

robthemachine
robthemachine

i hate the new crack down on the games, im 16 yeas and 11 months old and i cant buy m rated games still, every place checks me for id. i couldnt buy bioshock, halo 3, assasins creed, call of duty 4, resistance, gears for pc, or crysis. in about a month the problem will b solved, but it still really sux cuz so many great games came out the last few months and i wasnt able to buy them without havin my grandma pick them up for me.

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

i remember a couple weeks ago some kid.... he looked like he was 15 offered to pay be like 5 bucks to buy a game for him.. i said no, but obviously they don't sell to minors there..

link631
link631

there should be rating only for 12+, 16+ and 18+

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

The Government should not put their business in the game industry, let the ESRB handle that.

sharpshooter188
sharpshooter188

whats funny is these arent "kids" they r older teens. not quite 18... which is how they get the games etc. The way these surveys make it sound is as if the retailers are selling M games to 12-14 yr olds. I got carded the other day at game stop and the first thing in my mind was.......the ****?? im 24....why...am i being carded for an M game? So I guess they are cracking down since this bs law has cost alot of people their jobs. I love america.. but sometimes the laws in it do far more harm then good and it makes me vomit in my mouth a little.

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

Let's remember that this is not parents buying games for teens but that under 17 year olds are going into stores and buying M rated games. This then draws the conclusion that games can be purchased that are adult in nature without the parents knowledge. Honestly I'm sick of the subject being brought up but that is why the stores need to just stop selling these games to the under 17 crowd. The key here though is that if the industry will not self police that it will eventually bring all the politicians in and the government will become further involved. Yes teens will get the games anyway... that is not the point . I just would prefer the government stay out of it as much as possible.

zinstro
zinstro

Wow these announcements at first annoyed me because they are pointless. Now they just bore me.

Mush_Mouth
Mush_Mouth

I put the majority of the blame on parents (who most of the time shouldn't be allowed to breed because they're awful parents), and the rest of the blame on the idiot retailers who don't keep enough of an eye on their employees to make sure they're doing their job and not selling these games to underaged kids. The people at my local GameStop *cough*savannah ga*cough* have no problem selling M rated games to minors, however they were more than ready to give me the third degree about my preorder of the Rock Band bundle, WHICH I HAD THE RECEIPT FOR IN MY HAND. This is what happens when 20 year olds get hired to manage a store...think Randall from Clerks if you need an example.

sentay0
sentay0

Oh God not this again.

Anti_Chaos
Anti_Chaos

The media likes to pin violence on video games. Ever think that it's bad parenting? It probably is. Does the gangster (oh, sorry, GANGSTA) kid play video games? Not likely. Does he have an abysmal home life? More than likely, YES. 'Nuff said.