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58% of parents see a tie between games, violence

Harris Poll finds majority of US parents believe games contribute to teen violence, 38% entirely unaware of ESRB

Most American parents believe the violence in games is tied to violence in the real world. As reported by VentureBeat, a Harris Poll survey set for release later this week found that 58 percent of 2,278 US adults surveyed think that video games contribute to violent behavior in teenagers.

The poll also found that 38 percent of parents were completely unaware of the Entertainment Software Rating Board system. That contradicts the ESRB's own surveys, which have found only 15 percent of parents are unaware of the industry's rating system. Speaking with GamesIndustry International earlier this month, ESRB president Patricia Vance said awareness of the system may have peaked, although she added educational efforts would continue.

Violence in games became a point of cultural debate once again last year after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting. The National Rifle Association responded to calls for stricter gun control by casting the blame on violent media, with executive vice president Wayne LaPierre calling gaming "a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against own people." Last month, President Barack Obama called for research into possible ties between gaming and real-world violence in a package of proposals to address the problem of mass shootings. Stricter gun control measures were also part of his plan.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.