Mechtchild Ross-Luttman, the Minister for Social Affairs in Lower Saxony, is calling for tougher age restrictions on videogames in Germany, including a reclassification of the hit MMOG World of Warcraft to "Adults Only."
Ross-Luttmann wants the age restriction imposed not only on "killer games" like Counter-Strike and other FPSes but also on games with particularly "addictive" qualities, like World of Warcraft. A recent survey of 44,610 ninth grade students by the KFN, the criminal research institute of Lower Saxony, classified 14,000 of them as addicted to games and another 23,000 more in "serious danger of becoming addicted" - an 83 percent rate of addiction or near-addiction that, at face value, makes videogames among the deadliest and most destructive creations in human history.
Ross-Luttman said she would present her figures and proposals to other youth and social ministers at their next national meeting. "Parents must know what danger potential exists in their children's bedrooms," she said.
But even that irony-laden statement isn't enough for some, including Sven Petke, acting chairman of the Christian Democratic Union party in Brandenberg. He wants all violent games banned outright in Germany along with inappropriate internet content, for which he believes ISPs should be held responsible. "The time for excuses is over," he said. "We need web filtering by the ISPs to operate."
This latest uproar against videogames comes in response to the murders of 15 people in the German town of Winnenden by a 17-year-old teenager who played videogames including Counter-Strike and Far Cry 2. Excited media reports following the killing spree made a point of mentioning his gaming habits and while German authorities appeared eager to place the blame on violent games, there appears to be little concern over the fact that he was a troubled youth who was receiving counseling for depression and apparently had ready access to his father's collection of 15 firearms.