Study: 89 percent of parents believe game violence a problem

Common Sense Media survey finds majority of parents nationwide have issues with levels of violence in games; 84 percent took issue with Hitman: Absolution ad.

A new study commissioned by Common Sense Media has found that 89 percent of parents across the United States believe violence in today's video games is a problem. In addition, the survey concluded that 75 percent of parents found it difficult to shield their children from violence in media.

As part of the study, parents were shown a video advertisement (below) for Hitman: Absolution, with 84 percent saying it was inappropriate to show on television during a time when children could see it.

One question asked if parents thought violence in video games could lead to violence in the real world, to which 75 percent responded saying yes, with 17 percent saying no, and 8 percent saying they were not sure.

Another question on the survey asked parents if they thought violence in contemporary video games is a major problem, a minor problem, or not a problem at all. Forty-five said it was a major problem, 44 percent said a minor problem, 8 percent said not a problem at all, and 2 percent were not sure.

Other highlights from the study included 60 percent of parents saying they "very closely" monitor the movies, video games, and music their children listen to with respect to violent content. Additionally, parents surveyed expressed faith in the movie and video game ratings systems, the MPAA and ESRB, respectively, with 68 percent saying the current systems do allow parents to make informed decisions about violent content.

Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress commissioned the study, which was performed by SurveyUSA on January 4 and January 5. A total of 1,050 parents with a child under the age of 18 living at home participated in the study.

Respondents were selected at random, and all participants heard the questions asked identically. The margin of error for the study ranged by question, scaling from ±1.6 percent to ±3.5 percent.

US Vice President Joe Biden will meet with representatives from the video game industry today in Washington DC as part of a wider task force aimed at examining the role of violent media in mass shootings. The discussion around violent media has been reignited in the wake of the December 14 schoolhouse massacre that left 20 elementary school students and six adults dead in Newtown, Connecticut.

hitman from SurveyUSA on Vimeo.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

1008 comments
cleverestx
cleverestx

Any violent game that influences someone to commit a violent crime isn't the real problem. Why? Here is a news flash: because it's clearly A GAME, not an instruction manual. If anything this reaction is trying to band-aid a symptom of the real root cause which is bad parenting and/or a messed up individual.  I don't want (mature and sane) freedom to enjoy art and it's creative expression silenced/censored because of some quack-job who would absolutely find some different muse if he didn't have a violent 'game'.  Let's deal with the real issues "parents", please.  How about instilling some real morality and principles into your children and also being firm about fantasy vs. reality?

Azzameen
Azzameen

Every parent will say this. My parents preach about it all the time: yet in the days of the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis to some of you) my parents were obsessed with playing Road Rash.


To those of you who have never played that, it's a game where you illegally race on motorbikes (usually outrunning police) whilst also punching your fellow riders off their bikes, bumping them into oncoming cars and sometimes wrapping chains around their heads.

I personally find the idea of someone doing that far more scary, possible and easier to do, than someone going on a shooting spree

nirmalbalaji
nirmalbalaji

Stop the sales of guns to the public. Then see a huge amount of reduced violences in America.

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

having just watch the tv series 'Spartacus', video games have NOTHING on what they can get away with in a TV series!

Arbalon
Arbalon

I believe that violent video games can negatively effect kids... some kids more then others, but to a degree it negatively desensitizes all kids that play them. Parents should do less "We should get rid of violent video games" and more studying into what is in the games their children are playing.. Making the decision THEMSELVES of what they think their kid can handle. To disband a product is a child-like reaction to a very serious problem.. Simply be more cautious, more discreet, and let your children play what YOU think THEY are Mature enough for.

mos2000
mos2000

I bet you 0% of these people think that bad parenting, such as letting their 5-year old purchase these games they're "so offended by" just to shut them up is a problem. Earth to parents, you can't abolish everything you don't like.  At the end of the day, guess what... you still have to be a parent! Saying "no - I don't want you getting involved with that" comes with the territory.  Trust me, I do it all the time - some of you should try it. It's more effective than b!tchin' to some d@mn  media survey, hoping they can get everything banned to make your job a cake walk...

dashitbomb
dashitbomb

it`s easier to place blame on video games instead of where it belongs, on parenting. i`m 28 and have been playing games since i was 10 years old, and have yet to pick up  a crowbar and bash people's heads in. i grew up watching the godfather and scarface as the featured evening movie, and still have a clean record. if your kid's a screw up, blame yourself because you're in charge of his education, and it's up to you to teach him right from wrong. as chris rock said if a kid grows up to call his momma pam and his grandma mom, he's going to jail. take some fucking responsibility and raise your kids proper.

syler4815162342
syler4815162342

Learn how to stop your children playing games that are not suitable for their age not destroying this industry Game Designing is an Art like movie if Game Developers don't make games they have on their mind worrying about some No aspect children we won't experience those amazing games, If there is a problem on system surly they can't blame it on Game Industry, Parents should more educated and if some crazy people go and buy guns start shooting at people it's not Game Industry fault it's their government and society fault that grows sick people like them...

syler4815162342
syler4815162342

Learn how to stop your children playing games that are not suitable for their age not destroying this industry Game Designing is an Art like movie if Game Developers don't make games they have on their mind worrying about some No aspect children we won't experience those amazing games, If there is a problem on system surly they can't blame it on Game Industry, Parents should more educated and if some crazy people go and buy guns start shooting at people it's not Game Industry fault it's their government and society fault that grows sick people like them...

thetarget
thetarget

It is easy to point fingers and shift responsibility to others instead of taking a step back and re-evaluate their parenting. 

IMO these people don't deserve to be parents.

Hawkeye049
Hawkeye049

You don't see every teen who plays military shooters signing up for the military at age 17 do you? Ima shoot some terrorist just like in my video game! Yay!

b10nutz
b10nutz

  I believe that 89% of the  interviewed parents know nothing about parenting and like always they try to blame the movies, music, games, etc, and not their inability to teach their children the difference between  good and bad.

100proofsoco
100proofsoco

Common Sense Media my ass....

Can we take a "poll" and see how many of these parents bought 18+ games for there 12 year old?

I don't seem to remember all these issues our society has nowadays when I was growing up, but then again I grew up watching The Cosby Show not The Karskankians and Honey Doo Doo.

Urufudo
Urufudo

1,050 parents were polled, this isn't even 1% of the 148.8 million parents estimated to be living in the USA. :P

Zanoh
Zanoh

And what percentage out of that 89% didn't bother to install parental controls, employ good parenting, and asserted a more active engagement in a child's environment?

liark2z
liark2z

oh this people today, blame obesity to cocacola, blame violence to videogames, like they are stupid enough to not take responsability or being able to decide using the labels  and info the system provides, scumbag lazy parents

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

It's such an ignorant and stupid argument, I still debate it with my hard headed Dad and his Gf to this date and they are both over 40. 

He literally believes that violent crime is increasing exponentially due to the desensitization of youth through violent games. What I really don't get about him is that HE raised me, I've never killed or harmed another man....

"Of the millions who play violent games, how many of them snap and go on violent rampages?" 

This quote should be enough to shut up any congress, debate, survey, research or ignorant biased observation.    

botsio
botsio

most parents the survey are oldfashioned even my dad has a negative perception about video games in general!but sit him down and explain the pros and cons to him!that will wipe out that negative perception!thus sensitization is the key!the games industry should set out and educate thus stumping out these negetive perception!gamers can be likened to mutants they hate us that is all their saying!

killip
killip

And these 89% of parents are the ones ignoring the rating system and allowing their children to play whatever they like. Fu*king massive contradictions in play.

fillup0
fillup0

Parents forget that they have the power over the content their kids play. I'd like to inform the media that if they are going to scare parents about all those "scary evil vidyagaems" at least scare them into taking some initiative and controlling what their kids can see, rather than scaring them into thinking that violent videogames should be banned... Which is stupid because there's no concrete definition for a violent videogame. A game with cartoon violence can count as a violent videogame, okay?

Twist_of_Cain87
Twist_of_Cain87

Here is an idea:

Understand the hardware you buy your kids.

Use the Parental Controls on the hardware.

Don't buy your children games rated above their age level.

Its amazing.

chitosan87
chitosan87

The Real problem is ...

Most Parent didn't accompany their kids while playing games, but yet they accused kids bad behavior from games.

Most Kids didn't share their knowledge about games to their parents, while they (mostly) didn't realize who bought the games for them.


So the Solution, make games that can be play by Parents and Kids.

Answer : TETRIS

Problem Solved!

:P

Panda-Pat
Panda-Pat

If your dumb enough to let your 12 year old play an MA rated game and then you complain that it's too violent ..... then you sir are a ....F***wit

theKSMM
theKSMM

Consider me part of the eleven percent minority.

NRA President Wayne LaPierre threw that red herring out there and people jumped on it like a dog on--well, a red herring.  I knew the discovery that the Columbine High shooters played videogames (Doom, uh-oh!) would lead to some connection being made between videogames and mass murder.  But in this latest case in Sandy Hook Elementary, there has been no notion that videogames were connected...but somehow they're the problem!

I have no doubt that legislatures around the country even now are drafting legislation that will get shredded when tossed up against the First Amendment, but lawmakers will draft and/or pass it anyway in order to be seen as "doing something" to keep kids safe from the scourge of violent videogames.

People fear what they don't understand, and until people understand that videogames are not exclusively for kids, then they'll see any moderately mature game as being as inappropriate as The Boondocks on Disney Channel.

In all the mass shootings I've seen, the common thread was never videogames, music, or movies.  It was the shooting.  Maybe the guns are the problem, not the games.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

"Common sense media."

Sounds like a skewed poll from a group with an agenda.

Nothing new to see here.

dre256x
dre256x

Scapegoat  Scapegoat  Scapegoat  Scapegoat... When u can't fulfill your responsibility as a parent, you look to blame the next most vulnerable thing.. life responsibilities have become so over burden to keep up with it all, that some parents DO choose the ease way out because it solve a said problem NOW... Your here over weight problem all the time, but you have fast food chains posting quarterly profits... 

I'm personally glad games cost $60, it provides that much hindrance for a child to get it (even though they still can)... Also about that hitman poster, its sending a clear message to YOU parents, a sniper killing someone isn't a game for young kids,  BUT NO you prefer the retailer at the store says "How old is the person your purchasing this for or this isn't a kid friendly title"..

PrinceJ23
PrinceJ23

They added a new Criteria to buying game. I always would have to ask my friend "Does that game come with an online pass" because I am a pc gamer, I have every console I haven't used since opening them out of box. I buy console games ONLY used, or if its exclusive then I buy them new. So say bye bye to my money microsoft and sony, if you implement such Dickery.


Whos with me.... Gaming industry is going to be the next wall street....

PrinceJ23
PrinceJ23

What about movies... MOVIES let you sit mindlessly watching people kill each other. Where as, games let you be in their shoes, you dont have the "what if... Feeling" as much as you would if you watched a movie saw a dude chop off another guys arm you wonder how that would feel. If you play a game and chop off an arm you KIND? of feel it, so you dont have the URGE to do it. I blame movies ... lets ban all movies... then lets ban posters that have volence on it. then lets try to ban Violence in all. sound good?

holtrocks
holtrocks

Then parents don't let your kids play them rather than trying to ban them for everyone use some common sense and parent your kid instead of asking society to do your job for you, dumbest generation ever.

1stormbringer77
1stormbringer77

If you didn't watch it,go to what TheDeadlyKiwi sent us to watch & you'll know how the Media isn't telling the whole story on how in the last 20 years there's been a 50% reduction in violent crime and a 54% decrease in the murder rate. But they're screaming about the video games making people kill because of them.See? The Media won't tell the whole story, & they expect the public to believe everything they say to be the absolute truth and not hide the REAL statistics.

decoy1978
decoy1978

I'll admit to you guys, that yes there is violence if video games (DUH) but whether its a problem or not, that is the PARENTS RESPONSIBILITY. I do not want our government telling me HOW to raise my child. But I do expect parents to be responsible enough to TEACH their child right from wrong; fantasy and reality. 

It is a lot easier to blame video games, guns, rap music, Justin Bieber when a child commits a crime, than for parents to just speak up and say "It was my fault, I was at work all the time and I didn't raise my children properly". No parent wants to admit they messed up and sadly we live in this era of passing the blame instead of owning up for our actions.

blackratos
blackratos

these guys didnt even think about video games when committing crimes..most of them try to outdue other famous shootings because its plastered all over the news..they want that glory and be famous for what they did..its not because they played a video games and decided to try and  copy that..the copy these a-holes thats plastered over the news..this is just like america to blame everyone else..how about dont buy ur kids games if u think thats the problem..how about educating ur kids on violence and guns instead of sweeping it under the rug. parents are remodels and other things are not..u are the biggest influencxe in kids lives so its up to u to be the parent! bootom line.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

here's a list of violence-

books- the bible is horrific... and that's just the first one

movies

tv

radio

and let's not forget about war, where we actually commit violence by KILLING people

... end war and we'll talk about video game violence


lazycomplife
lazycomplife

OK there is as much violence on basic cable. The US military is also very violent, which kids will be thrown into at 18.  Hypocritical nation.

Divedude
Divedude

A game or gun has never killed anyone.  Its the person behind it.  Nuff said.  Stop blaming the item for stupid people.  if someone had went out and killed a city with a spoon, then god help our fruit loops as we will not have anything to eat with. That Dang Spoon, how did he get that.

Shadowsnake
Shadowsnake

I think Kim Kardashian is inappropriate watching material for children for a time when they can see it. The lesson here? Neither one is likely to go away from TV (or anywhere for that matter) any time soon.

Even at '89%' its more likely that only a very SMALL percentage (hell lets say 11% of that shall we?) actually does anything about the 'exposure' to children and these are the hardcore parents that won't allow their children any type of console/tv entertainment unless its a math/language educational use only.

Sorry parents these game aren't turning children into serial killers, that would be the excessive bullying they get from the school system day after day (and not just from students in some cases). If thats not enough to convince you, think about how much you actually spend on providing your kid(s) the game they so desperately want most of the time? Its amazing what you will do for your children just to get them to leave you alone sometimes.  

Onafets87
Onafets87

Some parents tend to forget that videogames are just a form of entertainment and, they can be useful for relaxing or spending some time together. It's not that videogames alone can turn someone into a murderer, right?

Plus, videogames are not the only source of violence out there: it's enough to watch news on TV, reading a newspaper to see that there's violence in other medias as well: at least the in-game violence is over when you turn off your console...

slainta
slainta

Funny. I have issues about violence for kids going to school in USA. It seems they can learn what a REAL shooting is. Also the most moronic thing is that, seen the wide spread of guns in US, many of those parents own a firearm themselves at home. But that doesn't count, does it? 

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Demographics will change once parents see through the studies. With unanswered questions on what's the study based on and which country is it based at. The US obviously but how about the rest of the world? Well not counting Syria, India and countries on going war crisis.

Kunakai
Kunakai

I wonder how the same demographic feel about News, Television and books? Surely the effects of other media are as much a concern as games?

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

@nirmalbalaji You wish. All countries that did that had a substantial increase in all sorts of crime, particularly homicide by guns, either right away or a couple of years later.

Those who want a gun to commit some act that's *illegal* will always obtain one somehow. Even if you stop *production*, someone will start manufacturing illegal guns somewhere in the world to supply criminals. You may be able to reduce the chance of a school shooting this way but at the cost of more criminals feeling free to go around touting their illegal arms and robbing more, consequently increasing all sorts of crime rates. You're saving 20 children per semester while getting 20 more deaths by gun *per hour*.

I live in a country (Brazil) that has 1/6 the number of gun permits but 8 times homicide by gun rates when compared to the US - and we've reached these totals after a sharp increase post-disarmament campaign a few years ago. Is this what you want? Because there's not a single country where the outcome was different than this. Less pronounced in some cases (Brazil has plenty of other problems when it comes to security and crime fighting), but *all* cases follow the same pattern: less legal guns equals higher crime rates and deaths by gun.

Hawkeye049
Hawkeye049

@fillup0 I agree, even cartoons have hidden meanings behind certain things they do or say, that is actually provocative. They also often involve some kind of violence. When I was a kid I loved Chuck Norris in Walker Texas Ranger, and the Power Rangers. It doesn't mean im gonna start roundhouse kicking people in the face for fun!

rolla020980
rolla020980

@theKSMM No, guns aren't even a common factor in mass killings, they are just a tool. People that want to kill a bunch of other people will find a way. This guy could have driven a car through the playground on recess and killed as many as he did with guns. Here is a common factor for you... these mass killings are happening at places where guns are not permitted to be carried by sane law-abiding people. Hell, we even put a sign on the door advertising that no one has the capability to defend themselves against a raging lunatic. Some will claim that there will be a shootout at the OK corral, but it just doesn't happen.  There were 2 cases just last week of people lawfully defending themselves and preventing their deaths and the deaths of their families.

Besides, this whole debate about guns/video games is an attempt to take focus away from the failures of the government to provide adequate protection for the occupants of a government facility. The school district and police have failed and need to be held accountable for their lack of concern for these kids' lives.

Archias
Archias

@YukoAsho

From their website (%s): "Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology."


It's like cigarette companies releasing surveys saying cigarettes aren't bad for your health. Totally bogus report.

skytrot
skytrot

@RealFabioSooner All countries!?!!?!?! Get your facts right my friend. There are so many countries around the world, in Asia and Europe) that have tight gun laws and have way lesser gun crimes then the USA. Sorry but your post is full of ignorance.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@rolla020980 @theKSMM First, guns aren't tools, they're weapons.  Tools have some practical, creative use.  A gun's only purpose is to maim or kill.

Second, I don't doubt that people can defend themselves with guns.  (Just as I don't doubt that people with guns can get shot and killed like unarmed people can.)  What I reject is the notion that we have to accept that guns are floating around freely and oh well...nothing we can do about it. *shrug*

I have no problem with people owning guns for protection, sport, or just because they really like guns.  What I can't wrap my head around is why those people don't want to try to keep guns out of the hands of those who might harm us?  Why aren't they even willing to try?