Video game Grand Auto Theft Auto V received an R18+ rating when it went on sale two weeks ago. But the classification is little more than a political panacea, says author and commentator Melinda Tankard Reist, reports C-Mail.
Children as young as 10 are already hooked on the game which along with the series' usual bloody carnage and gratuitous violence and explicit sex also features cannibalism, murder and torture, she says.
'I am asked to speak at many schools and children in Year 6 and 7 are boasting about playing this game and then giggling they ask me not to tell on them,' says Reist.
She points out that despite the R+18 rating for the latest GTA video game, there is no way of monitoring this or preventing children from buying it online and swapping the game among their friends. "Exposing kids to images of killing, maiming, dismembering and sexual assault over and over again has real consequences,' she says and cites the case of an 18 year old in Thailand who stabbed a taxi driver to death trying to find out 'if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game.'
In 2003, two brothers aged 16 and 14 killed a man and wounded a woman shooting at cars in Tennessee and explained to police they were acting out the Grand Theft Auto 3 Video game.
Equally shocking was the killing of Australian baseballer, Chris Lane who was out jogging in Oklahoma in August this year and was shot by three teenagers who were bored and decided to "kill someone."
'You cannot expose kids to these sorts of things (violent video games) and expect them to be unaffected,' Melinda says. 'If kids are given a diet of violence none of us should be surprised when they act with violence.'
What we are doing, she says, is teaching boys and young that violence and aggression is the way to solve problems to get the outcomes you want.