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article imageHeadteachers threaten to call police as children play '18' games

By James Walker     Mar 29, 2015 in Entertainment
A group of UK headteachers have threatened to report parents to police for neglect if they allow their children to play violent computer games that have an 18-rating, claiming that the children have access to unsuitable levels of violence.
The strong warning was issued by a group of 15 primary schools and one secondary academy in Cheshire, UK, called the Nantwich Education Partnership. The headteachers discovered that some of their pupils had been playing games designed for adult audiences that contained inappropriate levels of violence, strong language and sexual content.
The games included popular franchises Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Gears of War. The headteachers told parents that allowing their children to play such titles amounts to neglect and that as such they had a duty to report them to police and social services if it continued.
The heads wrote: “If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+, we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as this is deemed neglectful.”
Opposition groups were dismayed by the news and said that it was a step too far. Margaret Morrisey of the pressure group Parents OutLoud said: “Accepting the huge concerns about these violent games and their effect on children, I think the schools are stepping outside the realm of what is probably acceptable. It will be construed by many parents as a threat and it is not helpful. If schools want to get the support of parents and gain their confidence, threatening them with social services will not help.”
The games themselves have received attention in the past from those who claim that they provoke violence. Grand Theft Auto has been banned in some regions in the past while Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik claimed to have trained himself by playing Call of Duty for years.
Official guidelines from the Department for Education state that school staff have a responsibility to identify children who are victims of abuse and to take appropriate action. It is unclear whether this should include singling out children who have been allowed to play video games designed for older audiences and punish their parents for this.
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