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WINTEC Hosts Seminar On Violent Video Games

MEDIA RELEASE

March 4 2009

WINTEC Hosts Chief Censor Public Seminar On Children’s Access To Violent Video Games

Is it ok for children as young as five and six to be playing video games designed for people more than three times that age? Children are being exposed to gratuitous violence – well before they are legally allowed because of a proliferation of easily available X-rated material, a new study says.

Hamilton based child advocacy agency Parentline says there is a very high chance that children will be exposed to violence before the age of 18 – the legal age to view and purchase such explicit material.

Parentline said there was concern that young people were being inundated with violet behaviours and imagery before they were capable of contextualising it .

New Zealand’s chief Censor, Bill Hastings is guest speaker at a public information seminar about this issue in Hamilton on Thursday March 5th.

Hosted by Wintec and to be held on the institute’s city campus, the Parentline event follows research, undertaken last year, which showed that 70 % of the city’s children aged from five to fourteen year olds years were playing restricted video games.

The discussion forum will include demonstrations of various video games and provide information about censorship and the reasons some video games have age restrictions. Graphic violence, sexual themes, drug use, horror and offensive language are routinely incorporated into games children are playing. R18 Means R18? is open to the public and entry is free. The community education seminar aims to provide an opportunity for parents and adults to catch up with what’s happening with digital technology and the video games industry – now the world’s biggest entertainment business.

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Parentline surveyed 1187 five-14 year olds and 496 parents to gather information on the children’s video gaming habits as a result of concerns over violent and other disturbing behaviours. 90% of the children said they played video games with one in five playing every day, and 11 % playing for an average of five hours or more. This was significantly more than the adults reported.

Nearly 600 games were named as ‘the best’ they had played in the past month. These included one banned game, and 55 with age restrictions. The top 10 favourites included Grand Theft Auto (R18) and the combat war game Halo (R16).
The event will be held at Wintec’s Bill Gallagher Centre, City Campus, Thursday 5 March from 5.30pm. Access is through Wintec gate 5, Tristram Street Hamilton or off Ward Street from the CBD for pedestrians. Onsite parking is available.

ends

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