Please Use Caution With Purchases of This Year's Video Games
From: ICCR's Violence and Militarization in Our Society Working Group
We Wish You the Best of Holidays
The Violence and Militarization in Our Society Working Group of the Interfaith
Center on Corporate Responsibility is asking members of our religious communities
to use extreme caution when purchasing video games as holiday gifts this year.
Among the 250 new video games introduced are a new generation of extremely violent
videogames that are more racially and sexually specific, with anti-social characters
directing the action. The games are more colorful, detailed, and with more realistic
graphics that are enhanced by using voices of major movie stars and popular
music tracks to increase the games' appeal.
Half of all the video games sold in 2003 will be purchased during this holiday season. Although the video game industry self-regulates with a ratings system to inform people of the content of the games, ICCR members are concerned that video game retailers are not doing enough to prevent children from purchasing violent entertainment products in their stores.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports, "More than 1000 scientific
studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases
the risk of aggressive behavior in children...desensitizes [children] to violence
and makes them believe that the world is a 'meaner and scarier' place than it
is." Violent video games are of particular concern, because they provide
a more interactive experience than the passive viewing of films or television
A recent survey completed by the Federal Trade Commission found that 70% of unaccompanied children ages 13-16 were able to buy Mature-rated games. For example, "Grand Theft Auto" is a very violent video game played on Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox system and has been called "racist" by the Haitian-American community and the Haitian government because of the high level of violence toward women, minorities and the dialogue to "kill all Haitians." Although Rockstar Game Incorporated representatives have stated it will omit this part of the game from future versions, the Haitian-American community is proceeding with a boycott and public demonstration in front of Rockstar Games New York City corporate headquarters.
We urge those who purchase video games for children, or allow children to purchase such games, to do so with caution Some of the best-selling games of special concern are: Manhunt; Grand Theft Auto III; Grand Theft Auto Vice City; Postal 2; BMX; True Crime: Streets of L.A.; Duke Nukem: Time to Kill; Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. Those games are all rated Mature (for persons 17 and older). Other games, rated Teen (children 13 and older), deserving caution because of their depictions of extreme violence include: Enter the Matrix; Medal of Honor: Rising Sun.
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), is a coalition of 275 faith-based denominations, congregations, pension funds, health care corporations, foundations and dioceses of religious institutional investors with combined assets of more than $110 billion. ICCR's Working Group on Violence and Militarization of Society has joined with other organizations such as: Lion and Lamb Project, the National Institute on Media and the Family, grassroots and legislative initiatives throughout the country to stop the marketing of violence to children.