The teaching staff and principal at a public school in Ireland recently sent a letter to parents of the school’s students, urging them to boycott Rockstar Games’ 2013 action-adventure title “Grand Theft Auto V.”
In addition to protesting the popular video game, the letter contained urgent warnings to parents regarding certain television shows, movies and overall media content that the teaching staff felt could be harmful to children.
Carolin Mhic Roibin, the principal of Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn in Mullingar, County, Westmeath, penned a concerned letter to the parents of her students, alerting them about the violent and sexual content in “Grand Theft Auto V,” which involves gunplay, drive-by shootings, scenes inside a strip club and picking up prostitutes on the street – content typical for this game franchise but not suitable for kids.
Roibin stated that she was “horrified” when she discovered the game’s violent and sexual nature. She also felt that many parents weren’t aware of the game’s “horrifying” content. “We, the teachers in the school are deeply concerned. We know that many of the children in the school are watching… 'South Park,' 'Family Guy,' reality-TV shows and the like,” Roibin said in her open letter to the school’s parents. She then went on to cite “GTA V” as especially damaging to young minds. “We have grave concerns about certain video games that children have access to, for example, 'Grand Theft Auto.' This series of games has been at the forefront of video game controversy. The general public has been shocked at the level of violence and explicit graphic content in them.”
This isn’t the first time that the popular franchise has received criticism regarding its violence and negative depiction of women. Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times felt that the game’s satirical nature of women is a “lack of creativity on the part of the developers.”
English video game producer and co-founder of Rockstar Games Dan Houser responded to the criticism: “I don’t think we revel in the mistreatment of women at all. I just think in the world we’re representing in ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ that it’s appropriate.”
Roibin would most likely disagree, saying that “we understand that it is a rare occurrence for a school staff to send a letter of this nature…but we feel it is necessary.”
"Grand Theft Auto V" is rated "M" by the ESRB and is only recommended for players over 17.
Have you played "GTA V?" Are you offended by its content? Should parents be more careful about what games their children are playing?