If you've been reading this page for a while you'll know my opinion on violent video games off by heart. So long as the violence is artistically justified by the plot of the game and the game is rated appropriately then there shouldn't be a problem. After all, video games fall under much more scrutiny than films of a similar rating do, and have far less violence or offensive content than equally rated cinematic entertainment. It's a parent's job to ensure that their child isn't exposed to either films or video games that have an age rating higher than their own child's level of maturity, and they can't keep blaming video game developers if they let their own child get hold of something rated for someone twice that age. Simple isn't it? Be a good parent and video games wont matter, whether they're violent or not. Oh, if only that simple bit of common sense could pull in sales of a newspaper as much as baseless "They're trying to turn our children into murderers!" claims do. Still, newspapers are slowly on their way out as a reporting medium and it's probably a good job too as this is what passes for journalism these days. Go on, click the link and have a read. I'll meet you back here in say, five minutes, to tell you where they went wrong in that story.
You're back? Good. Did you notice that they tried to sell the entire story by talking about Grand Theft Auto almost exclusively? Good old GTA. It's always the punching bag that newspapers pull out when they want to boost sales and point fingers at a new evil. You could say it's the heavy metal/video nasty/teenaged black male (depending on how far back you look) of today because it's always being blamed by the media for things it's not responsible for, usually using "evidence" that is nothing more than rumour-mongering. I could point out that the children are shown still shots from the game as part of an exercise to get them talking about the consequences of violence. I could also point out that the children aren't playing the game and the shots are chosen by a panel who ensure that the children don't see anything that is too shocking for their age group. However, I think it's best to point out one little fact. See the shot on the right of this paragraph of a card from the Get Real education programme, the shot that the news article has captioned "An image from Grand Theft Auto used in the Get Real education project", the only image the news article has to link this project and the Grand Theft Auto games? That's from a game called Manhunt which has nothing to do with GTA. Yeah, gotta admire the research that these journalists do when putting a story together.