Having, second thoughts about buying your child a copy of GTA as his Christmas present? Well, you’re not alone. GTA games from the very beginning, are the center of controversy, ever since the early days of GTA III. Especially when it comes to parents, they are very concerned to let their children get their hands-on on such violence inflicting open-world games. In this blog we’ll help you know the official age rating of GTA games, and whether they are suitable for your child to play?
I. GTA Franchise Official Age Ratings
A Game’s age rating, helps one deduce the age group of audience the game is targetting. The official age rating of most games in the GTA franchise mediates around M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).
ESRB or Entertainment Software Rating Board is a self-regulatory organization based in America. Established in 1994 it applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles for computer and video games.
The only exception that stands apart from the GTA franchise in terms of age rating is GTA San Andreas. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is rated Adults Only by the ESRB after the inclusion of the “Hot Cofee” mod into the game.
An Adults-Only rating by ESRB implies the game is suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. Moreover, the game may also include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, and/or gambling with real currency.
II. GTA 5 Official Age Rating by ESRB
The latest addition to the GTA franchise, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) is rated Mature 17+ (M) by the ESRB. The game is suitable for ages 17 and up. The rating basically implies that the game may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and or/ strong language. The age rating for GTA 5 is equivalent to an R-rated movie.
III. Is GTA 5 Age-Appropriate For Your Child to Play?
Since the game’s launch, many players questioned the ESRB rating of the game. They thought of the ESRB rating to be too mild in contrast to the graphics present in the game. There are certain torture scenes enacted by Trevor shown in the game that seemingly serves no purpose. Moreover, no warning of any kind is given to players before these encounters.
However, when it comes to whether GTA 5 is suitable for your child? The answer varies. It really depends on the emotional and mental matureness of an individual of how he/she will react to the graphic content of the game. The game is suitable for children of 13 & above age depending on how maturely they’ll handle the content of the game.
Well to answer if the game is suitable for children lying in the age group of 7 to 13? The answer would be no. The content of the game is simply too harsh for young minds. The game has a torture scene and implied sexual assault of a teddy bear. Even Trevor is introduced while having sex before he beats a man to death with his bare hands.
If you’re still wondering what factors contribute to the game content being graphic, Here is an overview of what you can expect in the game.
IV. What’s stopping GTA 5 to be Complete Child Friendly? | Bad Things in GTA 5
If you have already played the game, you might have an idea of the things that might be bad for your child to encounter in-game. If not, don’t worry, We’re here to list those things out for you. Afterwhich, you can decide for yourself.
1. GTA 5 Single Player – Not So Child Friendly
The single-player mode of GTA 5 revolves around the main plot of the story. You can expect here to indulge in all types of vices happening around in the city of Los Santos & Blaine County. For your reference some of these things are:
i. Violence in GTA 5
GTA 5 is more or less about Violence all over the city of Los Santos. You name the means of chaos, and it’s there in the game. Be it guns, grenades, or rocket launchers, the game has it all. The game has Ammunition stores spread all across the maps. Where you can find guns of all sorts. You name the death weapon and it’s there.
To progress further in the game, you have to kill. Maybe even have to kill a dozen at once. Considering GTA 5 is an open-world game, players can shoot anyone they feel like. Someone casually roaming in the park? One snap and he’s a dead man lying. The game provides you the liberty to perform such actions.
Although, you law enforcers will be after you once you’ve performed such a deed. Thus concluding, there’s a lot of violence in the game, you sure would not want your child to indulge into.
ii. Bad & Strong Language in GTA 5
The game uses a lot of cuss words and strong language that you might like your kid hearing. Often these languages are part of the cut scenes, however, the character can also be heard using strong language when under stress or anger.
Children at such an age tend to learn what they hear and see. Therefore, you would not like your child indulging in such games that use cuss words and strong language often and openly.
iii. Alcohol Consumption in GTA 5
You would not want your 10-year child to drink any alcoholic drinks. Well, he can do that in the game. Although, both the real-life situation and in-game situations are different, playing in such an environment will sure have an influence on him of some kind.
The game has alcohol present in every safe house one purchases in-game. Even to imitate every real-life detail of after-effects of alcohol, the game itself dizzy out the screen of the player when he’s drunk.
iv. Hard Drugs in GTA 5
If you think alcohol is the only way to get high in GTA 5, You’re wrong! The game has a wide range of hard drugs too. Some of which you wouldn’t want your kid to be aware of. While playing GTA 5 players can run into drugs like cocaine, heroin, downers, acid, marijuana, and ecstasy.
Even during the story play, one of the main protagonists Michael is seen to feel delusional and seeing himself being ganged by monkeys, abducted by aliens, and flying through the Los Santos by the drugs given to him by his son. Though the name of the drug was not provided, the mere effects of such kind might ignite curiosity in young minds.
v. Heists, and a lot of them!
Have only seen Heists in Movies and heard about them in the Newspapers? Well GTA 5 is more or less all about in-game heists and to loot tons loads of money. Proper planning and setups go into executing a well-planned heist. In the process, lots of killing, hacking, bombs, going above the law, you can expect it all.
You fly an airplane or a tank to escape, even dive underwater in a submarine to collect intel for a heist or recruit bad guys, a large-scale Heist will demand all of that.
vi. Nudity & NSFW Content in GTA 5
Carrying a rating of Mature (M), in GTA 5 we also get to see nudity and sexual content now and then. Not to mention, the arrival of one of the three main characters of the game ‘Trevor’ was a sex scene. We also get to see people indulging in self-pleasure activities within the game. However, no activity is shown, but the idea of what’s happening when is quite clear.
The game also has a club name “Vanilla Unicorn” that provides private topless dance to players. The game also has prostitutes that indulge in sexual activities. Although, going into the club and indulging in such activities is no mandate for players. However, the option to do so is still available.
vii. Rash Driving
You get to drive multiple cars and all sorts of vehicles commuting in the land, air, and water. In land from cars, bikes, jeeps, trucks, cycles, buses, or In the air from jets, airplanes, helicopters, to in water from boats, cruises, and even submarines, you can drive them all.
However, the missions demand you to reach a destination as fast as possible. Thus, breaking traffic signals, bumping into other cars, or even killing innocent pedestrians is almost inevitable. These all aspects might affect the perspective of a child when he actually learns how to drive in real life.
2. GTA Online – Same Malice Done Collectively
GTA Online is another mode of the game that your kid will run into thus affecting the overall age rating of GTA 5. The game is of the same essence as that of the single-player mode, but in GTA Online you play GTA 5 in multiplayer mode. You indulge in group activities and events.
Having said that, you never know who your kid might run into, you can’t expect people to behave and talk nice. The servers are almost toxic, which will have an adverse effect on your child’s mind. Moreover, there are several missions in GTA 5 where you act as a drug lord and are responsible for transporting drugs.
V. Conclusion- Should You Let Your Young Child Play GTA 5?
The answer to the above question is not fixed, it varies. In the end, it all comes down to what age group your child belongs to and to how much emotionally and mentally he has matured, and also on what environment is he living in.
GTA 5 is not recommended for children of the 7,8,9,10,11,12&13 as they are quite young, and considering the violence that the game has, it is not at all recommended for them to play this game.
Talking of kids playing GTA 5 of the age 13 years and above, letting them play the game depends on the child itself and how he makes it up out of the game. Is he mature enough to suppress the activities of the game within the game or would he let game activities affect his real-life activities? Well, if he/she is the former one, they can definitely play GTA 5 under parent supervision.
You as a parent have an abiding role to guide your child and to make him differentiate between the good and the bad. There are certain activities in the game that can be skipped. Like one can avoid indulging in private dance in the club or skip parts of cut scenes that contain objectionable content.
Since the missions which are there in the cut scenes are repeated in the menu, skipping these cut scenes shouldn’t interfere with their play-through of the game. Language is something that isn’t any different (and probably less frequent) than what they would hear at school.
In the end, if you have faith in your child, that he’ll skip the cut scenes and know that the game isn’t real life then you can go ahead and buy your child of age over 13, a copy of GTA 5.