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Duncan Smith: Games are destroying innocence of children

Nobody cares about age ratings, says ex Tory leader

Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith has blamed videogames for destroying the innocence of children.

Speaking to The Times, Duncan Smith said that games were a contributing factor in what he calls Britain's broken society.

Children's innocence, he said, is being destroyed by television and computer games. "We are driving children to lose their childhood, and some videogames are incredibly violent, like Grand Theft Auto. They are meant to be 18 but nobody cares what it says on the label."

Duncan Smith cites many other problems too - including the "alcohol-obsessed" nature of our country. Alcohol is every bit as dangerous as drugs, he said - "You can argue that it's more dangerous than heroin because it's easier to get."

He also blames poor parenting skills, broken families and few benefits for married couples.

"I see a lot of dysfunctional families where you are really seeing a society in collapse. We are now into three or four generations of lone parenting, multi-fathering.

"In some areas, the way in which society should work has been inverted - instead of wisdom being passed from mother to daughter or father to son, dysfunction is being handed from one generation to the next."

MPs have been widely discussed the issues brought about by games over the past few months. Recently Labour MP Keith Vaz admitted he didn't know what games his 14 year old son was looking at. The packaging of 18-rated games needs to be changed to spell out the dangers off gaming, he said. "It should be splashed across the front: 'This has the potential to damage your health' - and that is not happening."

Meanwhile, Tom Watson - another Labour MP - has set up his own pressure group called Gamers' Voice, which he hopes can more positively represent gamers and encourage discussion on issues such as age ratings.

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