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Survey: Parents More Concerned About  GTA  Than Alcohol, Pornography
Survey: Parents More Concerned About GTA Than Alcohol, Pornography
August 11, 2008 | By Eric Caoili

August 11, 2008 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

When asked for a single choice, parents are more concerned about their children’s exposure to games such as Grand Theft Auto than alcohol, violence, and pornography, according to a recent online poll conducted by family-centric consumer game site What They Play.

A separate survey also showed that most parents considered viewing violence as more acceptable than exposure to content involving sex and sexuality.

The initial poll, conducted April 4-10, 2008, found that, asked 1,266 participants what they are most offended by in video games. 37% responded that they were most offended by a man and a woman having sex, whereas 27% answered “two men kissing,” 25% responded “a graphically severed head,” and 9% chose “multiple use of the F-word.”

The second poll, conducted August 1-6, 2008, and - like the first - only tracking single answers, as opposed to letting people pick multiple choices - asked over 1,600 respondents what they’d be most concerned about their 17-year-old child indulging in while at a sleepover.

49% revealed that they’re more apprehensive about their child smoking marijuana, and 19% responded that they are most concerned with their children playing Grand Theft Auto. 16% answered that they are most disturbed by their children watching pornography, while 14% are most concerned with them drinking beer.

Said What They Like president John Davison: “These poll results demonstrate that parents are as apprehensive about their children’s media diets as they are about traditional social issues such as alcohol, drugs, violence and sex."

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Denny Steel
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I can't help myself but to laugh, I think there is a lot more to worry about then GTA and porn, I'm sorry the real world isn't pretty and to not let your children see it how is, then your letting them down. Sure certain ages I can understand. But 17 is one year away from being legal in some countries hell even 21 isn't all that far from 17 sorry but to think this is going to corupt your children is mistaken. But the information that you give your children about this stuff will help them decided if these are some of the things that they are willing to experience. You can't be around all the time. I should know I was a kid once done all of thee above at a young age and I can say that I haven't turned out bad. But that's just my opinion

Max Nichols
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I find these results incredibly hard to believe. Perhaps I'm just naively idealistic about the state of human reasoning, but I can't bring myself to believe that parents truly think Grand Theft Auto is more damaging than the traditional scares. Which forces me to question the validity of the study.

Factors like the audience of this particular site being who they are, the simplicity of the polling, and the potential for leading question phrasing are all reasons to take these results with a grain of salt.

Saemon Gyohei
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Definitely an example of selective audience. What They Play is a family-centric GAMING site, so the participants have gaming on the brain during the poll, thus the high focus on GTA.

David Delanty
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I think if they removed the "Smoking Marijuana" answer from the survey, and just left it at 1)Violent Video Games, 2)Porn, 3)Beer, we would get a much different answer. That would be a redistribution of 49% of the sample pool; a pool that is more concerned about their children doing illicit drugs than violent video games.

Point's a poll. You can twist a poll to state just about anything.

I could make my own poll, same question, and the answer would be 1)GTA, 2)Crack Cocaine, 3)Pot, 4)Meth, so on, until I have 1 answer for GTA and a dozen separate drugs for the remaining answers. There is only a 19% sample that would answer GTA. But the remaining 81% would be divided amongst whatever illegal drugs they considered most dangerous/plausible to reach their kids. I could then make the conclusion of:

"Survey: Parents More Concerned About GTA Than PCP, Acid, Red Bull."

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David makes a good point, but still: 19% of the 1600 participants thought that it was more important to keep a video game out of the hands of a 17 year old than marijuana or alcohol? Do all those surveyed even have a 17 year old child? Regardless, this definitely reinforces my opinion that there's a serious disconnect between our industry and the average American parent. Not that there's a whole lot more the ESA and ESRB can do to educate these people, it's just something that's going to have to come with time.

Maurice Kroes
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I agree with the comments with this one.

Even though I think that most of this comes from ignorance. They only being fed bad news about GTA4 from the media (people blaming crimes on a video game, oh please), and its something most parents don't understand (so its scary). The other things are more easy to understand and more familiar issues they think can handle.

At least, thats my take on such issues ;)