U.K.: parents “will be reported …for neglect if they allow children to play over-18 computer games”

A public authority governing 16 schools in Cheshire, England, has sent a letter to parents warning them that they must not allow their children to play with adult-themed videogames such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. “If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game, or associated product, that is designated 18+ we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as this is deemed neglectful.” [ITV via Lenore Skenazy]


  • As a game designer & parent this makes perfect sense.

  • “Inappropriate” access to any game or “associated product.” Good thing there’s no room for abuse in that language. And thinking back to yesterday’s thread about permission slips for Oreos, can it be long before schools tell parents they’ll be reported to the police for allowing “inappropriate” access to any sugary food or “associated product?”

  • Wait- aren’t kids allowed to watch R-rated movies if their parents allow and accompany them?

    Why can’t the parent also give consent for playing R-rated games? Many places do have rules that kids cannot buy R-rated games, unless their parent pays/approves of it. (Of course this overestimates the ability of parents to understand game appropriateness and supervise their kids given the stories at notalwaysright and such, but still)

  • @ anonymous: No, they are not. Nor are parents legally able to decide which films they can take their children to see. My wife attempted to take our 15-year-old son to see a film that was rated R and was turned back when his age became known.

    This is very unlike the US (at present) where parents can decide what is age-appropriate for their children.

  • In high school I had a teacher scream at me about my “inappropriate reading material” and threaten to take my book away. She was incandescent about me reading this horrible material in the hallway between classes. I have little doubt that if it had occurred to her or had been encouraged by the school in this way, she would have reported my parents for allowing me access to this “associated product” of a videogame. The book was “Dune” by Frank Herbert. She had it confused with the then-popular (and to a certain type, terrifying) videogame “Doom”. This is why these types of rules worry me. They will mostly be used by the idiots in society, and good luck trying to straighten it out because the school or other organization will most likely do their very best to protect the idiot.

  • John Burgess,

    At one point in time the ratings on movies were a type of “forced voluntary compliance” in that a movie theater did not have to follow age restrictions, but then again, no distributor would allow their movies to be shown in theaters that did not agree to the age restrictions. In some towns that restriction was codified into law.

    With the advent of the VCR, those restrictions got changed as no one wanted video stores being held accountable for renting a movie to an adult that was then seen by children. The MPAA changed it’s rating system to where the R rating is no longer “restricted” to people above 18. The R rating now is an advisory to the content of the movie says that parents should check to see if that content is appropriate for their child. Only the “NC-17” rating restricts entrance to theaters based on age today.

    It should be noted, I suppose, that the games mentioned in this kerfuffle are all rated “M” for “mature” by the ESRB. That rating is the game equivalent of an NC-17 movie rating.


    The real question here and elsewhere is whether the government should act as some sort of watch group over parents in every decision parents make (or don’t make.) When parents don’t act or don’t act in the way that government thinks they should, the government will “resolve” that conflict in their favor. The real question has to be “how long are people going to let government officials decide how a thoughtful and responsible parent must act?” Until people as a group say “enough,” and fight back, those in government will continue to impose their “superior judgements” upon parents, children and families.