Grand Theft Auto
My son would (13) like to buy a game called GTA IV, but I am aware it is rated as an adult game. He says many of his friends are playing Grand Theft Auto games. What do you think?
Answer from Kids and Media’s Director:
The game Grand Theft Auto has since the first edition shocked and fascinated people all over the world. Within its genre it´s known as a trend setting cult game. GTA IV did not disappoint its fans, and it most likely won´t cause any less shock with authorities, parents and others than previous editions. GTA has never been a game for children.
Grand Theft Auto IV is a game with many aspects. When it comes to graphics, playability and it´s life-like capacity, GTA IV is among the most amazing games ever produced. A masterpiece. It´s an actiongame with a satirical view on society, an inferno of violence marinaded with drugs, porn and coarse language. When it comes to the values GTA IV promotes, there really is nothing positive to say. As can be expected the game has an 18 year limit, and the cover has warning signs all over it signalling the very strong contents. That in itself should, in our minds, speak volumes to parents.
It is of great significance that the industry takes its responsibility seriously: Games should not be sold to people below the age-limit. This is decisive in order for both parents and authorities to trust the industry which today has responsibility for setting age-limits. Campaigns that put emphasis on age limits, good information from distributors and retailers and responsible sale are all good ways to ensure that age limits are understood and adhered to.
Should games like GTA IV and other bloody affairs like God of War be illegal? The question is relevant, but not easy to answer if one wants to draw a logical line around games regulation. If GTA IV was to be withdrawn from the shelves, there would also be hundreds of other games with equally unsavoury contents that should go out with it. And who should have the authority to decide what games should pass through? Kids and Media believe it to be almost practically impossible to carry out a believeable and functioning cencorship by the government. We have faith in letting the industry itself continue to have the mandate and responsibility to set age limits and use the PEGI age rating system with contents warnings, as long as they show themselves worthy of such trust.
Kids and Media would not recommend that parents let their children play Grand Theft Auto. We strongly advise against parents buying Grand Theft Auto IV to children under 18.