A pro-family youth culture expert is warning parents about video games that sound deceptively innocent.

Bob Waliszewski, senior director of teen ministries at Focus on the Family, has been trying to raise parents' awareness about the dangerous "mature" content in many of the electronic games that are being marketed to young people today. He says at one time the problem with video and computer games used to be violence, but now blatant sexuality is an increasing trend.

"I noticed that in Gaming Entertainment Monthly, as they announced their fall lineup, there were four video games that they were hyping -- and I mean not just mentioning, but that they were really, really strong on," Waliszewski recalls. One was a Playboy game, he says, and another was purportedly a golf game, but with "real strong sensuality that they just thought was the neatest thing happening in video gaming."

The teen ministries director believes most parents would be appalled at some of the game descriptions, as he was himself. "One game you win because you play the role of someone who's bedding different women," he notes, "and the more women you can bed in time, the more points you can score. That kind of stuff is so trashy, it should have never been developed."

Waliszewski says parents need to be aware that a growing number of the games being put out are now earning an "M" rating for "mature," or an "AO" rating for "adults only." He points out that, while many adults might tend to pick up on the lurid nature of games like "Playboy: The Mansion," others with more subtle titles like "The Guy Game" or "Singles: Flirt Up Your Life" -- both of which are rated "AO" -- may have equally unsavory content.

Unfortunately, Waliszewski notes, video games' ratings are often overlooked by parents, while the innocuous-sounding names of some games, such as "Outlaw Golf 2," can disguise their pornographic content. The teen culture expert says this is all the more reason why parents need to play an active role in selecting what video games their kids play.

The Focus on the Family expert says violence has always been a staple of video games, but now that increasing nudity, sensuality, and sexual content have been added, these games are more dangerous to young people than ever. He describes the combination of sexuality and violence found in many games as "a volatile mix" that is being marketed to young boys and called entertainment.

Just as most mothers and fathers would not be happy with their teenagers sitting in the family living room looking at a porn magazine, Waliszewski asserts parents need to be equally concerned about lewd, "adult" video game content, which he says is simply "the same pornography" in a different medium.


Focus on the Family (http://www.family.org)

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