The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) has issued its 11th Annual Mediawise Video Game Report Card
, which shows dramatic improvement of the video game industry's restriction of the sale of mature-rated games to kids over the past several years (except for specialty retailers, which maintains an F grade). This year both "Ratings Education" and "Retail Policies" received Bs", while console manufacturers and "Retail Enforcement" at "big stores" (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc) received As.
Despite these improvements, the nonprofit organization still found a way to take a shot at the video game industry in the category of "Parental Involvement", which received an "Incomplete" grade.
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Although the response of most parents to the challenge of raising kids in a world filled with video games is inadequate, it doesn’t seem fair to give parents a failing grade because parents are constantly subject to mixed messages from the video game industry. While representatives of the industry encourage parents to follow the ratings which warn certain age groups away from mature content, they simultaneously deny that video games have any impact on kids. Making matters worse, the rating system itself has flaws. Parents could be, and should be, doing a lot better, but at least part of their failure can be attributed to the confusion created by the game makers.
In other words, the NIMF believes parents are idiots who are being duped by the big evil video game industry, and, therefore, shouldn't be held responsible for their "bad decisions". Of course, "bad decisions" are defined by the group, not the parents. Isn't it possible that some parents think their kids can handle M-rated games, despite the fact that the kids aren't 18...kind of like the way most of us saw R-rated movies before we were 17? And, yes, some parents are idiots, but those parents are going to let their kids do whatever they want to do, no matter what the video game industry (or any industry) says or does about it.
Read the full NIMF report
Read about the report card the ESRB gave to NIMF in 2005