Parents Oblivious To Video Game Advisory Stickers
Before the entertainment industry started to plaster parental advisory and game ratings stickers on the boxes of games, they largely had to guess whether or not they were safe for kids. Lobbyists, politicians, parents and consumer protection groups pushed for video game ratings during the 1990s, much to the dismay of the industry as a whole. Although the video games of today are very different from the cocktail arcade machines of the 1980s, parents still have the same concerns. From ultra violent video games to titles depicting scantily clad characters, many felt that children were being exposed to material that was much too mature.
Unfortunately, research has come to show that parents are continuing to purchase video games with questionable content despite them being labeled with prominent ratings stickers. Additionally, retailers are still likely to sell these titles to children despite them clearly being under the age of 18. No one is sure if parents are simply ignoring the advisories or if they are simply succumbing to their children, but the message is clear – the warnings aren’t working.
Just as the Surgeon General’s warning on the side of cigarettes are largely ignored, consumers eventually become numb to overt advertising. The parents that are buying mature video games for their children are almost certain to be aware of content prior to purchase. However, actually looking at the ratings label would solidify their suspicions. By ignoring it altogether, they are able to ignore the fact that they are directly exposing their children to mature subject matter.
Unlike the cocktail arcade table, video games made for home consoles can be readily played in the comfort of a child’s bedroom, unbeknownst to their parents. In most cases, kids are unlikely to play mature games in front of their parents, even if the game itself was purchased by an adult. Neither researchers nor members of the gaming community have yet figured out a way to make parents more aware of the type of content that is contained in mature games. However, most online and console based subscription services do require users to 18 or older and have access to a credit card. This, in part, has helped to keep mature content away from kids.