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Grand Theft Auto 5 is causing fury on both sides. Here’s a question from someone on Social Media posing these complexities:
“I’ve seen a number of people saying two things in ‘defence’ of this game: 1. It shouldn’t be taken off the shelves because it’s not targeted at kids and it’s up to parents to have the responsibility not to buy it for them or let them play it. 2. Why shouldn’t adults have the right to be able to play a game that does not look realistic and that we know is a game?”

My question to adults playing this is ‘at what point do we (society) need to get to before we recognise the impact our actions as adults are having on kids? Research is showing a spike in problem sexual behaviours amongst children & teens, perpetrating other children. Can that be blamed solely on GTA5? Of course not, but it can’t be denied that it’s part of the complex causal factors.

Everybody is quick to defend their right to watch a fantasy of paying for services then bludgeoning her to death. The part of the brain that triggers arousal doesn’t know it’s not real. Despite rational brain awareness, neurologically the arousal response for viewers is firing and pairing to violent acts.

When we consider all we know about positive psychology and the way anger & aggression impacts emotions & eventually, physical wellness, one has to question the rationale behind demanding this right. And this is completely aside from the message we give when we tolerate GTA5: what we are really saying is that violence against women is okay.

Yes, parents need to say no to purchasing this and thankfully, a public outrage will create a lot more awareness for parents otherwise in the dark. Sadly I am sure many parents have been caught unaware or harassed to purchase it because ‘everybody else’ has it. The harder the game is to access, the less kids will end up absorbing it’s toxic messages.

I’ve got so much more to say on this topic but Paula from Questions for Us offers a review that will help you decide for yourself. *Trigger Warning

Regardless of the rating for Grand Theft Auto 5, kids in Primary School often engage in talk about the prices for sex and blow jobs within the game because they play it; I hear this from first-hand accounts from various schools. I also know of a family whose 8 year old son had a lap dance performed on him, playing this ‘game’, witnessed by his 12 year old brother.

On offer with this version of the ‘game’, one can have ‘first person’ sex with prostitutes – and then kill them horrifically afterwards, if it pleases one.

(*TRIGGER WARNING* with this video. It is quite disturbing.)

If you don’t want to watch, I will tell you that there is a commentator going through this particular part of the game he’s playing and tells us that we’re going to see ‘Michael’ have sex. Some quotes from the commentary include:

“Michael is a married man but hey, a man has his needs”
“We are getting all three services from the prostitute. I don’t know her name, who cares what her name is, she has a job to do.”
The commentator then goes quiet as we watch – from a first person perspective – the sexual services performed. She – of course – acts like it’s the best sex she’s ever had in a car, in an alley, and even says to him in the end – “I feel like I can really talk to you, come back and see me?”

Finally the commentator says, as the prostitute walks off:
“Now in classic GTA 5 style – you can’t let her get away with your money, so we’re going to go ahead and back this bad-boy up” referring to his car as he runs her over twice – then sets her on fire, listening to her screams and finally shoots her with an automatic weapon. You may also choose a number of weapons to kill her with, including an axe.


This example along with the issue of porn sites being advertised in music videos that I wrote about last week, are proven to be embedded in too many young children’s social and pop-world lives.

If the images and issues I’ve included here are shocking to you – then don’t you think something has to be done? This is becoming the foundation of who we are as the human race because they’re the lessons that are truly getting through to our developing minds.

It’s all slipping through the cracks and many kids in Primary and High School are being well and truly desensitised to the depravity they’re watching. These children will one day want to shape relationships and simply won’t know how because it’s been modelled for them in this toxic manner that surrounds them; it’s the common narrative.


This extract was taken from the blog: “I’m shouting out a: Coo0-eeeee !!“, 30th November; and has been reproduced with the authors permission. You can check out more of Paula’s work at Questions for You.


The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
– Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, to the Australian Army

Liz Walker

International authority on porn harms, education and advocacy.

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