Survey: 75% of parents think games contribute to violence

Seventy-five percent of parents with kids under age 18 at home believe violence in video games contributes to violence in the United States, according to a survey sponsored by Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress. The poll sampled 1,050 U.S. parents in early January, with 77 percent saying that violence in TV and movies similarly contributes.

Forty-five percent of parents surveyed called violence in games a major problem, though 68 percent said the current system of ratings for games and movies allows parents to make informed decisions about violent content. The survey also included several questions about whether ads for violent games and movies are appropriate to show when children may be watching, with 84 percent finding an unnamed trailer for Hitman: Absolution inappropriate in that context.

"Parents are clearly concerned about how violence in media may be impacting their children," Common Sense Media founder and CEO James Steyer said in a press release. "Our culture of violence seems to have made it the new normal that parents who take their kids to a movie theater or gather to watch a football game are at risk of exposing them to inappropriate content that is marketing video games or films rated for more mature audiences."

Common Sense Media has strongly spoken out on the issue of kids playing violent games in the past. It was one of several sponsors of the 2005 California bill to ban sales of violent games to minors, which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 on grounds of violating free speech protections.


  • makk88 - January 15, 2013 12:07 a.m.

    Mainstream media tells people what to think. There would not be so much controversy if it was not plastered all over the news.
  • CUFCfan616 - January 13, 2013 2:37 p.m.

    Survey - 75% of parents buy games for their children without checking the content or age warnings
  • Oujisama - January 12, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    Eh, its totally understandable. They're parents, most of them probably didn't grow up in an age where EVERYBODY played video games. It's just new and unusual to them, and they reject that and fear its effects. The obvious truth is that video games dont cause violence, but parents should be free to think what they want.
  • NinjaPopsicle - January 12, 2013 12:16 a.m.

    Honestly, the only thing that I really take away from this article is that a website that calls themselves "Common Sense" shows that 75% of parents have none whatsoever.
  • codzprc - January 13, 2013 12:07 a.m.

    Really wish there was a "Like" button, so I didn't have to make a comment about how much I like your post.
  • GoldenEagle1476 - January 11, 2013 7:46 p.m.

    If you think that video games contribute to violence, DON'T BUY YOUR KID CALL OF DUTY.
  • gamestop224 - January 11, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    in other words 74% of parents watched a call of duty trailer and 1% tried to play a violent video game but couldn't hang and they mad. I bet the 75% bought their kids the very games they complaining about.
  • taokaka - January 11, 2013 6:58 p.m.

    This really annoys me because games helped me as a child cope with some serious anger issues. Along with changing my group of friends, video games were probably the second biggest factor which helped prevent me from constantly getting into fights with other children due to anger outbursts. So when people say that they cause violence I feel like saying "Screw you, now sit down and listen to my life story"
  • CountRichtertoffen - January 11, 2013 5:51 p.m.

    I struggle to see how the ratings system could be considered confusing. Outside of color-coding it, I don't think it could get much easier to understand.
  • winner2 - January 11, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    New survey: 75% of parents confirmed for retardation.
  • jackthemenace - January 11, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    This is total bull. There were psychopaths and child violence long before the invention of video games, and now, there are still millions of kids that play violent video games that aren't psychopaths. I play video games non-stop, and I'm one of the least violent people I know. Even when I was young- like, 10 or so- I'd seen violent films and played violent games beyond what I should have, to my parents- at least, my father's- knowledge. But he didn't mind, because he's well-educated, and he'd raised me well. The problem doesn't lie with giving children violent video games, the problem lies with making sure kids know that it's not right to do it in real life. As I was growing up, my parents always taught me to do the moral thing- y'know, to share, to say please and thank you, to be polite and respectful, not to murder hookers and steal their money, the usual. And so, when I was playing the violent games, even when I was enjoying it, I knew it was stuff that wasn't right to do in the real world. And that's what parents need to do- teach kids what's right and wrong, NOT stop them knowing that wrongness exists. I'm not saying parents should shower their kids with Mortal Kombat and Manhunt, but a certain amount of exposure is good, in a way (And I'm sure this is going to be controversial); if kids see the violence, and are then taught it's wrong, it's much better than kids NEVER seeing violence, or profanity, or sex, and assuming that what they see- since their parents never let them- is fine, since they have no prior knowledge. As everyone's said, violent games aren't what's wrong with society, bad parenting is. And besides, like OryanBelt said, the entire survey's eschewed by Sandy Hook anyway. If this had been before Sandy Hook, or before the James Holmes thing, or even before Columbine, people would see it differently, but the media never covers the GOOD side of gaming, like teh Humble Bundle's positive, charitable messages. The Media's too biased against gaming.
  • ParagonT - January 11, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    Question for anyone who can answer: How old were the samples? Was it balanced? Or was it just one thousand random parents? The baby boom generations have hit and are still hitting right now, so I would think that many parents are actually pretty young. Just a thought. Enlightenment anyone?
  • MolokoVeck - January 11, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    I agree with previous posters who mention that bad parenting is more to blame than the media. Anyone who seriously argues that a book, song, movie, TV show, or game was the cause of a violent attack is blind. A balanced, well-educated individual can handle media without going ape shit. Oh well, this is a tired argument that will continue to be brought up whenever youth violence makes the news. Fortunately the game industry is strong enough to survive.
  • tommygunzII - January 11, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    What all those shooters had in common was that they were victims of bad parenting in my opinion. It is the parents responsibility to teach their children to defend themselves when cornered by others. Its also the parents responsibility to teach their children compassion and empathy so that when they see another student being cornered they would stand up for them. Lately it seems that parenting "experts" advice is to tell the children "not to fight back" and "go tell the teacher"if you are being bullied. That is the formula for disaster, every single one of those shooters were outcast loners that were bullied and picked on. All they needed was someone to tell them its ok to defend yourself or someone to put their arm around them. The 75% of those parents that believe video games are the problem should be locked up. Their cluelessness is the reason we are here in the first place. Only a parent with zero control over their child would blame anything on a video game or any media for that matter. Here's a tip, raise your children properly and you won't have to worry about outside influences doing it for you. For some reason I find it hard to clarify my point, hopefully everyone understands where I'm coming from.
  • tommygunzII - January 11, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Parents also need to grow a spine as well. I'm not sure who the biggest pussies are; the parents or their children. At least back in my day we settled differences one on one and got it out of our system, not bottle it up until it explodes all over the place. Ok, I'm done here. Have a good day :)
  • oryanbelt - January 11, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    Here's my 2 cents: Do video games cause violence in people? Maybe, but this greatly depends on the individual. There are people that use video games as an outlet for their stress and just to have a good time. There is a clear rating system in place for some of the more graphic games available and the individual buying the game is the one responsible to know before hand what they buy. A parent doesn't let their child go see a R rated movie in a movie theater without learning about it first and the same is applied to video games. This is the same tired song and dance that has been going on for generations for all forms of media from the radio to movies to television and now its video games turn. Not to mention this survey was implemented in the after math of one of the most horrible shootings in America's history. Please try to convince me with a straight face that the survey's poll wasn't influenced by recent events. The thing about video games and all digital media in general, you can't expose you child to it unless you provide it for them. Until their kids get older and are able to do more things without the aid of an adult and able to make their own decisions; the parents are responsible in teaching them values and morals that they should advise in their lives. Even then, parents should all watch over their kids as they get older so that ones that are subject to bullying and discrimination don't turn to shooting people as an answer/outlet. I could go into a another whole segment about schools and bullying, but I'll just say that school systems need to fix their shit. That is where almost all school shootings first originate, the schools and the students themselves. I know its hard to manage hundreds to thousands of kids per school in some cases, but it needs to be done. These same parents that took this survey should support their local schools, this will help immensely for sure.
  • oryanbelt - January 11, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    Damn that came out longer than I thought it would O_O
  • ultimatepunchrod - January 11, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    First, 1050 people is not a representative sample of all parents in the country. Second, an organization with a stance on an issue is a biased means to gather data. Third, in the survey the parents say that they feel the ESRB is a good means for parents to make informed decisions about what games to buy for their kids, but they still blame the games. You think maybe the problem is parents who don't pay attention to the MPAA or ESRB? Finally, when did a football game become inappropriate content? I'm not a sports fan at all, but that's taking it too far.
  • Unoriginal - January 11, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Well someone should beat some sense into them!

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