72 Percent of Adults Support a Ban on the Sale of Ultraviolent Video Games to Minors

Common Sense Media releases results of nationwide parent poll on the impact of violent video games on kids

Common Sense Media
Monday, September 13, 2010

San Francisco, CA – Common Sense Media, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology, today released the results of a nationwide parent poll that revealed that nearly three-quarters of all adults would support a law that prohibits minors from purchasing ultraviolent or sexually violent video games without parental consent. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that would prohibit the sale of ultraviolent video games to minors, but the video game industry has aggressively fought the law in court. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on November 2, 2010.

"The results of this poll clearly show that not only do the effects of ultraviolent or sexually violent games weigh heavily on the minds of parents, but also that parents feel that the video game industry isn't doing nearly enough to protect kids from accessing the most ultraviolent games,"  said James Steyer, CEO and founder, Common Sense Media. "The Supreme Court's decision in this case is going to have a huge impact on families and kids across the United States, and what we've learned from this poll is that parents want to be the ones deciding which games their kids play, not the video game industry."

The poll, conducted by Zogby International, surveyed 2,100 adults between Aug. 13 and 16, 2010.

Other key findings include:

  • 65 percent of parents say that they're concerned about the impact of ultraviolent video games on their kids
  • 75 percent of parents would give the video game industry a negative rating when it comes to how they protect kids from violent video games
  • More than half of both parents and adults in general would go so far as to rate the industry "poorly"

The poll results come on the heels of national press coverage around the Entertainment Software Association's attempts to lobby attorneys general across the nation to support the industry by filing an amicus brief in the case. Steyer has already challenged Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to a public debate on the issue and urged both him and Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch to hear the side of kids and families before making a decision. Briefs are due on Sept. 20.

The law under debate in the Supreme Court case concerns only the sale of video games rated M (Mature) or AO (Adults Only) to anyone under 18 without parental consent and does not affect the industry's ability to create games or sell them to appropriate audiences.

 "It is disappointing that the attorneys general we've contacted will open their doors to the billion-dollar video game industry, but they won't take the time to speak with an organization that represents parents," Steyer added. "We hope the attorneys general will take a look at these poll results and that they'll side with families over protecting the profits of the video game industry."

For footage of the type of video game violence under discussion in this case, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXnkQXTo_lE.

For a full copy of the poll results, including methodology, use the contact information below.

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, visit: www.commonsensemedia.org.

Marisa Connolly
[email protected]