A research study published in the March issue of Pediatrics (my favorite publication!) proves what you probably already know: If you call a video game "Mature" and say it's got a lot of blood and guts, kids will want to play it.
In the study, researchers presented 310 Dutch children (ranging in age from 7 to 17) with fictitious game descriptions then rated how much the little Danish scamps wanted to play each game. In every group, the more objectionable the content, the more kids wanted to play. Here's how the study describes it: "Restrictive age labels and violent-content labels increased the attractiveness of video games for all of the age groups (even 7- to 8-year-olds and girls). "
The study suggests that youth should not be allowed to buy their own games. It also said that policy-makers should rethink the classifications (such as M, appropriate for those 17 and older) which serve to make games "unspeakably desirable."
Here's my solution to the problem: Mature games and content should be placed behind complicated algebra problems. The more hardcore the content, the more difficult the problem. Let's be honest. Kids are going to get their hands on "adult" material one way or another. So my plan won't prevent anyone from playing or seeing inappropriate material, but at least our nation's youth will get really good at math.
What do you think of the research? Does it ring true in your experience?