"Stings" Find Underage Gamers Can Buy 18-Rated Games In U.K.

"Stings" Find Underage Gamers Can Buy 18-Rated Games In U.K.

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Two "stings" recently conducted in the U.K. found that underage kids are still able to buy violent videogames from some retailers.

Three High Street retailers, including videogame specialty shop Game, sold either Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Hitman or Condemned 2 to a 15-year-old girl who was taking part in an "undercover operation" put on by Which? magazine. All three games are rated M18+, and their sale to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal in the U.K., carrying a maximum penalty of roughly $10,000 and/or six months in jail.

After being informed of the operation, the stores involved said sales to underage gamers were rare and pledged to investigate the findings. Six other retailers targeted by the sting refused to sell games to the teenager.

"It's shocking and surprising that 18-rated games have been sold to a child as young as 15 by household names," said Which? Editor Sarah Kidner. "The jury's still out on whether violent videogames have a negative influence on behavior but, whatever your view, it's still illegal to sell 18-rated games to minors."

"Staff should realize that they have a moral and legal duty to stop these sales from taking place," added Ash Shah of the Brent and Harrow Council trading standards. "There is a mixed but growing body of evidence that very violent games like this can sometimes influence underage players with reports of antisocial behavior linked to them, in extreme cases even fatalities."

Another report, meanwhile, said that even higher numbers of minors are able to buy mature videogames online via auction websites. The majority of the children recruited by a Welsh Trading Standards initiative - 38 of 44 - were able to make online purchases of 18-rated games using postal money orders.

"This survey shows how easily children can gain access to age-restricted, violent videogames," Bridgend County Borough Council Trading Standards boss Lee Jones told the BBC. "If traders cannot be sure the person they are selling to is over 18, then they should not be selling."

Source: MCV

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The first report is unfortunate but has nothing to do with the games industry.

The latter report is an absurd and frankly embarrassing attempt to add fuel to the "video games are destroying our children" fire. You could easily do the same with DVDs, porn, knives etc on eBay.

Methinks the "videogaemz=badzzz" gremlins were running low on food...however the ratings ARE there for a reason.

All I see here are big government sympathizers trying to expand their power over our lives.

*snicker* just got the strangest image of e-bay porn. "Oh baby...raise my bid! Oh yeah...oh yeah...oh oh oh..."

I know 11 year olds at my school who play gta and are not "affected" by it. Age =/= maturity and the people in the article might rank high on the first but absolutly fail on the second.

3/9 stores doesn't seem like a huge problem when most of these sales are down to the discretion of the person you are dealing with, not store policy. And what do they mean by 15 year old girl? There are lot of 15 year old girls who try very hard to look older

Skrapt:
3/9 stores doesn't seem like a huge problem when most of these sales are down to the discretion of the person you are dealing with, not store policy. And what do they mean by 15 year old girl? There are lot of 15 year old girls who try very hard to look older

Generally in these types of "stings" they make sure that the person in question wears no make up and tries in no way to look older than they actually are.

LewsTherin:
Methinks the "videogaemz=badzzz" gremlins were running low on food...however the ratings ARE there for a reason.

I honestly think the only reason we had the whole Game uprising is because it was slow in the news. Remember back in 2002 when they told us about the Obesity Epidemic?Now that we've got an election and gas prices to whine about, we can move on.

My 12 year old brother played GTA. Now he's the toughest crime boss in the city. He has a kill count of 563. GAMES R SRS BUISNESS PPL MURDER SIMULATORS

Asehujiko:
I know 11 year olds at my school who play gta and are not "affected" by it. Age =/= maturity and the people in the article might rank high on the first but absolutly fail on the second.

I have to agree with you there. I know a few people in real life who never touch video games, & are significantly less mature than others a mere fifth their age. Being older is not an automatic guarantee of being wiser.

When liberty is finally dead and buried, the perfect epitaph will read, "We did it for the children."

"Staff should realize that they have a moral and legal duty to stop these sales from taking place," added Ash Shah of the Brent and Harrow Council trading standards.

Listen to that collectivist drivel. A moral duty?! Just because Ash Shah says I should do something doesn't automatically confer a moral duty upon me.

Atleast here in Vaasa they actually believe that games make you violent even if they saw a documentary say stuff like "Games DON'T make you violent" and stick to the ratings system now and guess why. ONE school shooting and you instantly hear every news channel saying games make you violent and my dad almost taking away my games in fear of another school shooting happening. before Jokkela the stores sold me Vice City when I was 10 and now they won't let me buy 15+ games ( And I'm 13 for F***s sake. that's only a two year differance) without my parent having to buy the game for me. My dad actually told me I could not have any 18+ games before I was 18 thanks to Jokkela ( I don't even know if I'm spelling that right) and what does he buy me for Capitalistmas? Mass Effect which is what? Ohh F***ing 18+. Great job dad! And before you tell me stuff like "you shouldn't have such a foul mouth for a boy your age" then you should know I've been swearing since i was 8. and who tought me to swear? My dad. Another great job Dad! And have my parents realized their mistakes and tought my brothers any better? No. which means that it is the parents mistakes 100% of time when children become too violent or such.

Edit: Sorry for any evetual typos. My hands get jittery when I get angry

Lucky Noob:
Atleast here in Vaasa they actually believe that games make you violent even if they saw a documentary say stuff like "Games DON'T make you violent" and stick to the ratings system now and guess why. ONE school shooting and you instantly hear every news channel saying games make you violent and my dad almost taking away my games in fear of another school shooting happening. before Jokkela the stores sold me Vice City when I was 10 and now they won't let me buy 15+ games ( And I'm 13 for F***s sake. that's only a two year differance) without my parent having to buy the game for me. My dad actually told me I could not have any 18+ games before I was 18 thanks to Jokkela ( I don't even know if I'm spelling that right) and what does he buy me for Capitalistmas? Mass Effect which is what? Ohh F***ing 18+. Great job dad! And before you tell me stuff like "you shouldn't have such a foul mouth for a boy your age" then you should know I've been swearing since i was 8. and who tought me to swear? My dad. Another great job Dad! And have my parents realized their mistakes and tought my brothers any better? No. which means that it is the parents mistakes 100% of time when children become too violent or such.

Edit: Sorry for any evetual typos. My hands get jittery when I get angry

How dare they treat you like that! You should go Columbine on their asses.

have been considering that for sooo many years and I just remembered that the first game I ever played was a slughterfest and that MAY have something to do with my love of violence

Edit: I have a new Idea for a documentary name. "Games don't make people violent but people who say games do are actually the cause of all violence" and Now I realize that that sounded smart in my head

As a store manager that sells games, Ive found that the best way to make sure my staff dont sell to minors is to point out to them that the fine and prison time will be thiers not mine. It is the individual staff that are charged when they fail an inspection.
Legally they cannot send a kid that is "dressing" older than they are, so make up, push up bra's ect wouldnt have been an issue so the staff in the report have no excuse outside of laziness.

Children: providing a flimsy pretext for selective moral outrage in your artifically dualistic faux-meritocracies since 1920

It is sad that they are picking on the little guy by imposing fines and jail sentences on the shop clerks. I know from experience that it is very hard to tell how old people are, and very hard to care about every sale you make when you get paid peanuts. Articles written by self righteous and misinformed people like this really annoy me, and it is exactly that "It is something that I don't understand and I am not a part of, so it must be wrong" attitude they are conveying that has been the cause of conflict all over world, throughout history. Call it what it is, cultural bias...xenophobia.

@ Unkillable
So it's pricks like you that stop me from buying Manhunt? nah just kidding. I'm like those gene engineered goats that fall down when they get scared. When someone comes from behind and yells booh! I'm will 65% of the time fall on my ass but Laziness is a good excuse

I live in South Africa. No one cares about age restrictions here. I've been able to buy games since I was 9.

There has never been any inquiry into this kind of thing. No one cares.

It's great. :-)

 

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