The US-based National Institute on Media and the Family ? which styles itself as ?the nation's (that?s USA, USA!) leading resource on the effects of media and video games on children?,as released its 11th Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card.
A number of recommendations appear to be basic common sense and won't offend anybody who can actually do anything about them.
● The industry should eliminate the double messages to parents.
● Specialty game stores should follow the lead of the major retailers who have fulfilled their commitment not to sell M- or Adults Only-rated games to youth.
● There should be a universal, independent rating system.
And some are questionable, if not simply scaremongering:
● More attention should be paid to the emerging problem of video game addiction.
● Kids' bedrooms should be media-free zones.
According to the relevant press release, "This year's MediaWise Video Game Report Card highlights major improvements in big box retailer enforcement and policies; commends responsible retailers and game console makers for video game safeguards; and recommends additional research on positive and negative effects and uses of video games related to school performance, children's health and behavioral development."
According to the cutely-named report card, ?While improvements have been made by the video game industry and retailers, parental involvement received an "Incomplete" as surveys showed too few parents following the ESRB's ratings and parental controls on gaming consoles.?
?Highlights? from the report card show:
● Game console manufacturers like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (Only those? What about? erm?oh, yes
) have made great strides in educating parents on the rating system and installing parental controls on their products, many parents have not followed or used these tools to prevent their kids from playing inappropriate video games.
● Prolonged game play can adversely affect a child's physical health and school performance as well as social and behavioural skills.
● Almost half of all "heavy gamers" are six- to 17-years-old.
● Children who spend more time playing video games are heavier, and are more likely to be classified as overweight or obese.
● The amount of time a child plays video games is correlated with poorer grades in school and attention problems.
● Specialty game retailers failed to prevent kids from purchasing M-rated video games.
The most ?information? to be had, however, is with the two big lists of games that the kiddies might play and those that will turn them into screaming, monstrous hellions.
Before looking at the lists below, SPOnG challenges you to write down your own Top 10 predictions and compare. Have fun now, y?all.
Parent Alert! Games to Avoid for your Children and TeensGangs of LondonThe SopranosGrand Theft Auto: Vice City StoriesReservoir DogsMortal Kombat: UnchainedScarface: The World is YoursThe Godfather: Mob WarsSaints RowDead RisingJust Cause
MediaWise Recommended Games for Children and TeensLEGO Star Wars II - The Original TrilogyMario Hoops 3 on 3Super Monkey Ball: Banana BlitzRoboblitzMadden Football '07LocoRocoDance FactoryBrain AgeNancy Drew: Danger by DesignMario vs. Donkey Kong 2: The March of the Minis
Let's just got back to that issue of the "emerging problem of video game addiction". If you are worried that you might be wealthy and secure enough to be experiencing this addiction - or you know someone who you think might be - here's what to look out for:
There are even physical symptoms that may point to addiction:
● Carpal tunnel syndrome.
● Sleep disturbances
● Back, neck aches
● Dry eyes
● Failure to eat regularly or neglect personal hygiene
SPOnG recalls reading some Victorian literature relating to what was then called ?onanism? with very much the same symptoms? go on, look up 'onanism'.