What do Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V, Mobile Legends, and Roblox have in common? These are video games that your sweet and innocent six-year-old is probably playing right now.
These are also games geared toward adults and/or teenagers, in case you didn’t know.
National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) Executive Director Daisy Atienza shared this rather worrisome information to the House Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts in a virtual hearing Thursday.
Aside from three aforementioned games, the following comprise the top 14 “most common video games played” among grades 1 to 3 students: Paw Patrol, Gatcha, Candy Crush, Angry Birds, My Talking Angela, Fishdom, Plants vs. Zombies, Stick Man Legacy, Wordscapes, My Talking Ben, and Super Mario Bros. 3.
“While the most commonly played video games of grades 1 to 3 are casual games, it is an interesting finding that children as young as six years old are already knowledgeable of teen or adult-oriented games such as Roblox, Grand Theft Auto, and Mobile Legends,” Atienza told the panel.
The NCCT official described the phenomenon as “scary” (nakakatakot).
“Role-playing games (RPGs) are the most popular type of game for grades 4 to 6, often battle games, which can be played online and interactively with chatrooms that allow for conversations with actual players,” she added.
Atienza talked about the negative impact of video games among grade schoolers. “As grades 1 to 3 learners are engaged more in video gaming, their performance in accomplishing their tasks and their contextual behaviors decline.”
But she said that other media like television can also produce a similar effect. “As grades 1 to 3 are exposed to more television content, the more their ability to maintain prosocial behavior in class decreases,” Atienza said.
Moreover, the 2015 and 2018 research papers that Atienza based her presentation from says that the types of TV programs being watched by Filipino children “contain heavy themes on violence, death, sex, extramarital affairs, drugs and revenge.”
Majority of these TV shows–which the kids usually watch together with their parents, strangely enough–glamorize death and sex, Atienza said.
“Interestingly, children watch cartoons almost always by themselves, as parents see cartoons as less harmful than teleseryes or adult movies,” she added.