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Saturday 24 March 2018

School warns parents of 'unsuitable' video game Grand Theft Auto

Trevor, one of the characters in Grand Theft Auto V
Trevor, one of the characters in Grand Theft Auto V
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

The principal and staff at a primary school has written to parents urging them not buy their children a controversial game featuring lapdances.

Carolin Mhic Roibin, the principal of Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, wrote to parents warning them of video games, TV programmes and DVDs which have a negative impact on children.

The concerned principal said children in her school have the video game Grand Theft Auto, which involves drive-by shootings, a task to lure a young girl up an alleyway and beat her up, and a challenge within a lapdancing club where a character’s genitalia are visible.

She said she doesn’t believe the children received the game due to bad parenting, but simply because parents are not aware of the horrifying nature of the game.

She told she was “horrified” when she realised what the game involved, and that if she saves 100 children from getting the game for Christmas, she’ll be happy.

“We, the teachers in the school are deeply concerned.  We know that many of the children in our school are watching TV programmes such as CSI, Criminal Minds, South Park, Family Guy, Reality TV shows and the like.”

“These are not suitable viewing for any primary school child,” Ms Mhic Roibin said in the letter which was signed by all of the school’s teachers.

“We have grave concerns about certain video games that children have access to, for example, Grand Theft Auto (which, we hear, is on several Santa wish lists this year.),” she wrote.

“This series of games (there are 5) has been at the forefront of the video game controversy.  The general public have been shocked at the level of violence and explicit graphic content in them.”

“There has been much written about the effect of these games on our youth from mental health issues to incidents of extreme acts of violence.”

Ms Mhic Roibin enclosed a copy of an IMDb review of Grand-Theft Auto 5 which she said was sure to shock parents.

She said: “Parents need to be mindful also of games/DVDs that their child may play with while visiting other people’s houses.”

She said parents have told school staff some horror stories of how their children have innocently stumbled upon explicit sites on the internet.

She urged parents to be vigilant with regard to their children using the internet and social media sites like Facebook

“With older children who have mobile phones, we would advise you to keep a close eye on content of text messages, as we have had several incidents of bullying by text between children in senior classes.”

The principal added: “We understand that it is a rare occurrence for a school staff to send a letter of this nature out to its parents but we feel it is necessary.”

“We can never be too vigilant when it comes to the safety of our children.”

Irish Independent

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