Ever since video games became more and more popular there has been an increasing controversy about them. With violent games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto many people have blamed video games for their children having violent tendencies.
Several years ago the video game industry implemented a rating system for video games just like movies. The perception among many people though is that these ratings are pretty much ignored by kids and parents and even the stores that sell them. Those people would be wrong. The truth is the video game industry has been the strictest about selling games with bad ratings the past seven years.
The Federal Trade Commission did a report that tracked the sales from 2000 to 2006 of 13 to 16 year olds who were able to purchase M rated video games, R Rated Movie tickets, Unrated Movie Tickets, R Rated DVDs and Explicit Content CDs.
Thirteen to sixteen year old kids have the easiest time getting Explicit Content CDs. In 2000 about 85% of underage kids could get CDs with explicit lyrics. In 2006 the number had decreased a little bit but only to about 75%.
R Rated DVDs being sold to 13 – 16 year olds wasn’t really prominent when the test first began in 2000 but from 2001 to 2006 the percentage of 13 – 16 year olds that could buy R Rated DVDs increased from 0% all the way up to a little over 70%. Unrated DVDs were also not being sold to 13 – 16 year olds up until 2003 but from 2003 to 2006 also went from 0% to just over 70%.
R Rated Movie Tickets have been a little bit more responsible since they started off in 2000 at just 45% but from 2000 to 2006 the percentage of 13 – 16 year olds that could buy R Rated Movie Tickets only decreased to a little less than 40%.
Then there are video games, the item that most people think are sold to anybody who wants them regardless of the rating or the age of the buyer. In 2000 when the test started it was certainly true, 85% of 13 – 16 year olds could purchase M rated games. But from 2000 to 2006 that percentage dropped to a staggering 42%, they cut their percentage in half. Not only did the video game industry’s enforcement of the rules lead to the biggest decline by far (43% compared to just a 10% drop for explicit lyrics) but if the pattern continues for another year in 2007 then the video game industry’s percentage of sales to 13 – 16 year olds will be lower than everybody else.