In an open letter to parents, a clerk at a video game store picks a bone with parents who let their kids buy or play the recently released and highly-inappropriate-for-kids video game, Grand Theft Auto V.
In his rant, the clerk, who signs the letter “Your Average Video Game Retail Veteran,” says that he loves his job, which he’s had for an impressive 10 years, and that one of his favorite parts is helping parents choose gaming platforms and games for their kids. According to him, “There is no better feeling than a happy parent returning to my store, pleased with my previous advice, and wanting more product.”
What’s the problem, then? It’s about the sale of violent and inappropriate video games like Grand Theft Auto V to kids too young to understand them, and he’s not happy. The clerk says he’s “disgusted” at having to sell these games to children who can “barely see over the counter.”
The clerk then goes on to talk about M-rated games. The ESRB, or Entertainment Software Ratings Board, rates games with a letter system, and M, in case you didn’t know, stands for Mature. The clerk says parents just don’t care about ratings. He points out that many games are much more “M” than others, and even admits that he’s been happy to let his kids play some of these M-rated games, like Skyrim and Fable. His letter is really addressing the worst offenders, such as Duke Nukem, and the real culprit, Grand Theft Auto V.
I have something to confess: I am a GTAV widow. My husband was among the first in line to buy the game at our local video store, and he has gleefully played it part of every evening since. But do we let our 10-year-old son play the game? No way, Jose! My husband plays in the basement, with the door shut and his headphones on, like the M-rated adult he is. We don’t let our son listen to gangster rap, or watch R-rated movies, either, although he would certainly love to. We know that some parents do those things, but we choose something different.
Meanwhile, the clerk says he’s tired of hearing parents make excuses for their negligence, like “It’s for an older sibling,” or “all their friends have it.” He ends with a plea for parents to simply read the game box, understand the ratings system, and be more involved in their kids lives.