EXPOSED: Children as young as three can download gun-toting video games on Google’s Play Store – despite parents’ safety controls
- Children can download violent video games on Google Play Store at age three
- Grampa Vs The Zombies is rated suitable for all age groups but features guns
- It comes after teen was jailed last week for blasting someone in the face
Children as young as three can download violent games on Google’s Play Store – even if parents have turned on safety controls.
Due to a loophole that allows creators to provide their own suitability ratings, scores of games featuring gun-toting characters are available even to pre-school youngsters.
Among them is Grampa Vs The Zombies, which has been rated by its designer under the Pan European Games Information system as Pegi 3, which means it should be suitable for all age groups, with no sounds or pictures likely to frighten young children and only mild violence. Yet it features a grandfather targeting monsters with a variety of guns until they explode in a gruesome mess.
On the Apple Store, which runs its own strictly enforced age rating system, the same game is rated only suitable for children aged 12 and above.
After The Mail On Sunday sent Google and Pegi a sample of 25 games with questionable content for their ratings, ten games have so far been updated with revised ratings.
Due to a loophole that allows creators to provide their own suitability ratings, scores of games featuring gun-toting characters are available even to pre-school youngsters (stock image)
Since we flagged Grampa Vs The Zombies, the game has been re-rated as Pegi 7. And The Last Stand Of Survival, which has ‘strong violence’ and blood splatter and was originally rated appropriate for seven-year-olds, has been upgraded to Pegi 16.
The Mail on Sunday can also reveal several gun simulator apps that can be downloaded by toddlers, where the description states ‘you move your phone as if it were a real gun’.
Similar games on Apple’s iOS system are rated 12+ or higher.
Video games bought in physical stores are given ratings by Pegi, whereas ratings for digital-only games are based on a questionnaire filled in by the developer.
Creators are meant to fill out the questionnaire, which is administered by the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), in good faith. They tick a few boxes and the game is assigned an age rating. Play Store then displays a Pegi age rating, despite there being no checks by Google.
The court heard that video games were ‘a factor’ in the ‘violent fantasies’ of teenager Jacob Talbot-Lummis (pictured)
Our findings come after a 16-year-old boy was jailed last week for 24 years after blasting another teenager in the face the day after playing the violent video game Blood Trail. The court heard that video games were ‘a factor’ in the ‘violent fantasies’ of teenager Jacob Talbot-Lummis.
Last night, Tanya Carter, of Safe Schools Alliance, said: ‘It is worrying how little control there is over ratings given to games.’
According to Google, official ratings are the responsibility of the app developers and third-party rating agencies. But Pegi says it is not able to monitor every release. A spokesman said: ‘We aim to thoroughly examine the ratings of as many games as possible on Google Play, yet the store is so vast we rely on consumer reports to fix inaccuracies in games that are more obscure.’
Since we flagged Grampa Vs The Zombies (pictured), the game has been re-rated as Pegi 7. And The Last Stand Of Survival, which has ‘strong violence’ and blood splatter and was originally rated appropriate for seven-year-olds, has been upgraded to Pegi 16