A headteachers group has threatened to report parents to the police and social services for neglect, if they allow their children to play 18-rated video games.
Nantwich Education Partnership in Cheshire, wrote to parents last month after finding some children had been playing games like Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War and Call of Duty.
The Mail Online reports: A letter sent by a group of schools in Cheshire raised concerns about the ‘levels of violence and sexual content’ young people are being exposed to by playing games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, which are renowned for their violent characters and have an 18 classification.
It warns that if teachers are made aware their pupils have been playing these video games they will contact police and social services.
The letter, sent by Nantwich Education Partnership, said allowing children to play these type of games on Xboxes and Playstations is deemed ‘neglectful’.
It comes amid fears children could be left more vulnerable to grooming and abuse by being exposed to early sexualised behaviour as well as extreme brutality, often seen in video games in the upper age classifications.
The letter says: ‘Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Dogs of War and other similar games, are all inappropriate for children and they should not have access to them.
‘Nor should they have Facebook accounts or interact on sites or media or messaging sites like WhatsApp that are not designed for their age.’
Nantwich Education Partnership covers 16 primary and secondary schools in Cheshire.
The letter also warns: ‘If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+ we are advised to contact the Police and Children’s Social Care as it is neglectful.’
There is now more pressure on teachers and social workers to report concerns about children after David Cameron announced they could face up to five years in prison if they do not speak out about suspicions children are being neglected or abused.
Department for Education guidance on safeguarding also urges school staff that they have a responsibility to identify children who are likely to suffer significant harm.
Headteacher Mary Hennessy Jones, who helped draft the letter, told the Sunday Times: ‘We are trying to help parents to keep their children as safe as possible in this digital era.’