A short article on Wired comments on a poll run by What They Play, the US-based website aimed at educating parents about computer games. I couldn’t find the actual poll on the site — it must have been and gone — but the Wired article displays the results.
Apparently 37% of parents would be more offended by “a man and woman having sex” compared to 26% disturbed by “a graphically severed human head”. 27% would think the world had ended if a game contained “Two men kissing”.
Obviously this is not a scientific poll and is only indicative. However, it’s really rather silly too. Games have ratings. Sex and violence in games is rated, like movies. It’s right there on the box and the back always has a description of the themes of the content. Any game containing sex and/or violence is likely to be a 15 or 18 and is not suitable for a child anyway. I’m not naïve enough to assume that violent games won’t get into the hands of younger minors, but I’d suggest that if they are, there’s a problem with the parenting in the first place.
(As an aside, I was watching a Will It Blend of Halo 3 the other day and the presenter Tom Dickson discussed playing it with his 4 year old grandchildren. WTF? — it’s rated M for mature, 17 year olds and up. I know that’s probably too high — it’s not as bad as many games — but still…)
The most interesting analysis comes in the user comments, in particular this one caught my eye:
I have to admit, though, the fact that “two men kissing” even made the list just illustrates how fucked we are as a society.
Indeed. And I think it says more about the creators of the poll than anything else.