WASHINGTON - Graphic scenes of gunshot victims spurting blood and a man urinating into a prisoner's cell are included among the 10 video games that a media watchdog group warns should be avoided by kids and teens under 17.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the National Institute on Media and the Family presented its 12th annual video-game report card yesterday to help parents decide what games are appropriate for their children.
"There's an endless stream of new games that will never be suitable for children," said Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., who joined institute officials and other lawmakers at a news conference.
Efforts to protect children from the dangers posed by excessively violent video games have not kept pace with growth of the video-game industry, the institute said.
Institute officials cited "growing complacency" among game retailers, parents and the gaming industry on video-game ratings.
But the industry's Entertainment Software Rating Board, which assigns game ratings, defended the effectiveness of its program.
"At a time of year when parents are looking for helpful guidance about video games, this year's report card does little more than sow unwarranted doubt about effective tools like ESRB ratings," said ESRB president Patricia Vance.
The group's list of 10 "games to avoid, " all M-rated, are in the video-game report card on its Web site, www.mediafamily.org, along with a list of recommended games for kids and teens. *