Children Aged Four 'Acting out X-Rated Violence of Video Games'

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

Children Aged Four 'Acting out X-Rated Violence of Video Games'


Byline: Anna Davis Education Correspondent

CHILDREN as young as four are acting out scenes from ultra-violent computer games in the playground, teachers warned today.

Pupils in reception classes are mimicking scenes of murder and bloodshed after playing 18-rated games including Grand Theft Auto and Call Of Duty.

In Grand Theft Auto players assume the identity of a gangster who in one scene beats a prostitute to death.

Staff need more training to cope with children who are exposed to such violence, say members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers union.

Alison Sherratt of Riddlesden St Mary's primary in Keighley has watched four and five-year-olds in her class "out on the playground throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies".

She said most of the 27 children in her class have TVs and computers in their bedrooms and own consoles including PlayStations, Xboxes and Wiis.

"How as a teacher do I respond when one of my five-year-olds tells me her brother has played a game and asked her to join in by stabbing a person in the back? We need guidance," she said.

Ms Sherratt said research has shown violent computer games can make teenagers more aggressive but no research has been done on the effect on younger children. She said: "If teens find it difficult to separate fiction from the fact of their virtual personalities, how are my four and five-year-olds supposed to read and cope? …

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