SCHOOLBOYS are calling girls "whores" and boys "n***ers" in the playground after learning the offensive words from violent video games.
One primary school principal said the simulated scenes of explicit sex and graphic violence in one of the best- selling video games of all time – Grand Theft Auto V – were traumatising children.
Caroline Mhic Roibin, head of Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn, in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, told how the 18-rated game had a "detrimental impact" on the behaviour of her pupils, some as young as seven.
"There was one boy who had the handbook that goes with the game," she said. "He went down to the back of the class where a group were sniggering. A teacher went to investigate and found it had stills from the actual game in the book.
"A character called Trevor was in a brothel. There were pictures of a naked women. The game explains how you can manipulate the girl so that she turns around. She also performs a sex act on a character.
"This is what they were reading. It is not suitable for any primary school child.
"Children would go around saying the word 'n***er' in the playground. We have only one or two ethnic children in the school, but it was indiscriminate – it wasn't reserved for them.
Another serious consequence of the game for young boys is that it objectifies women, the principal added.
Last November, she wrote a letter to parents, urging them not to buy their children "unsuitable" videogames such as GTA V for Christmas.
Aine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents' Council Primary, described the behaviour as "concerning".
In the game, players take on the role of gangsters who use racial insults and engage in graphic sexual acts. It also includes an extended interactive torture scene.
Players can visit a strip club, where they can pay for a lapdance, and are encouraged to grope strippers.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice said that retailers were expected to act in a responsible manner when selling video games. But he added there was "no legislation pending" to criminalise the selling of such games to people younger than 18.