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.


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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.

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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.

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