Amber Alert

What They Like

This website is a gift to every parent who has a kid who plays video games, watches movies, listens to music, or consumes any other kind of entertainment media.

There is a new company called What They Like, Inc. The company "provides detailed information to parents about the content of their kids' favorite entertainment." Not whether the entertainment is good as most typical reviews go, but actually a detailed description of the content, including profanity and types of violence.

While all video games come with ratings, those ratings come from the industry itself. Many of the games that most concern parents come with an "M" rating, which stands for "mature" and carries the warning that it has content unsuitable for children under the age of 17 and might include, "intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language."

But sometimes the ratings don't tell the story. For example, in 2005 it was revealed that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was rated M, contained "hidden" content in the game which allowed players to let the main character engage in sexual intercourse. The controversy that arose forced the game's creator Rockstar Games to re-rate the game "AO" (Adults Only) which is the equivalent of an NC-17 rating at the movies and generally translates to lost sales.

The creation of the company, What They Like, late last year is the result of a real market need. The company's founders have decided to tackle video games first because that is an entertainment medium about which many parents are clueless.

Many parents have absolutely no idea about the content of the video games their children are playing.

"Since launching four months ago, the company is surprised by just how concerned parents are about profanity."

Which means that yes, Virginia, videogames DO affect behavior. There is a ream of social science that supports this observation though it is mostly targeted at the consumption of violent media and aggressive behavior. A study released in the summer of 2006 linked early sexual activity in teens to listening to degrading song lyrics. But producers of movies, television shows, music videos, and video games continually refuse to look at the evidence and take responsibility for their part in the corrosion of values, character, and morals their products promote.

Parents are -- and should be -- concerned about the content of the entertainment media their children are consuming! There is a media assault on American values which the Culture and Media Institute documented last year. It is a statement in and of itself that companies like What They Like are being formed by parents who have grown up in the era of media bombardment and are themselves surprised by the genuine concern of other parents about the content of entertainment media.

Kudos to Newsweek for alerting parents to this new and valuable resource.

2 cherished words:

Rebekah said...

Thank you for sharing this site - I bookmarked it!

Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Storm said...

You are welcome.

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