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School principals threaten parents with police if kids play 'Grand Theft Auto'

Technically Incorrect: A group of British school principals send a letter to parents saying that violent adult-rated video games risk getting them into serious trouble.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Kids, this could get you into trouble. Rockstar Games/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Schools aren't there just to teach kids a lesson. They exist to teach parents a thing or two as well.

This seems, at least, to be the attitude of a group of schools in Cheshire, England, which is fed up with underage kids playing overblown games such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "Call Of Duty."

So fed up is the Nantwich Education Partnership that it has written to parents of kids in 16 schools. The letter said that if they don't start policing their childrens' games, they might be getting a visit from the men and women in blue.

As Britain's Sunday Times reports (paywall), the letter explains that playing such games could lead to "oversexualized behavior" on the part of kids.

It states: "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 this is deemed neglectful."

Mary Hennessy Jones, principal of Pear Tree Primary School, told the Sunday Times: "Parents find it helpful to have some very clear guidelines."

Clear guidelines are, of course, marvelous. This does, though, seem like a clear threat.

Moreover, I cannot remember a time when kids were caught with Playboy at school and the police were called in to explain to them the difference between right and wrong (or false and real).

Of course, some of these video games depict action that is truly distasteful and not for kids' eyes. But the whole Web is full of the potentially menacing. It's very difficult for any parents to control what their kids see or don't see.

Is it right to single out video games, when so many aspect of kids' lives might also be vulnerable? Is it based on any real information?

I have contacted Hennessy Jones to ask whether she's had any reaction to her letter and whether she believes that it will encourage parents to be more vigilant. I will update, should I hear.

The link between video games and violence has long been debated. Sides have been taken and rhetorical weapons have been drawn. Proof, though, has been scarce.

How should one react if a police officer knocks on one's door and says: "You're Johnny's been up to no good again. He's shot a couple of innocent people on 'Grand Theft Auto'"?