Parenting Review: Grand Theft Auto V

GTA-V-bigIf you have a teenager in your house who enjoys video games, you know that this was a HUGE week in the gaming business. On Tuesday (September 17), Rockstar games released “Grand Theft Auto V.” This has been a desired game for some time, and the release date had many on the edge of their seat. The game made over $800 million in its first day on the market. This mark destroyed the recent top sales from “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” that made $500 million on its first day. This game is popular, and the top video game on the market for gamers. Gamestop rated this video game 4 and a half out of 5 stars. The video game received a 98 out of 100 on its reviews. The graphics in the game are unreal, and they actually look completely real. For me, I am not a gamer. I work with students, but the one area that I struggle connecting with is the gaming world. So, I have researched, watched trailers, and acquired tons of information regarding this game so that I could present a parenting review for you. Let me fill you in on the game, and you decide if it is okay for your kids to be a part of this:

About the Game…The game covers three main characters throughout. Each character is different in their unique way. You can customize their cars, their clothes, and their looks. You basically live out their life of crime, sex, and violence throughout the entire video game.

Violence…Grand Theft Auto has received much criticism in their recent games for violence and sex. Well, Grand Theft Auto V is no exception. The game is filled with violence. It might not be as much as you would assume, but it is on a consistent basis. The fights are carried out by guns, fists, baseball bats, and any other weapon that you could imagine. The game has received some negative criticism from some secular writers regarding a mandatory torture scene in which it gets insanely brutal and violent using jumper cables and sledgehammers. You get the picture, the game is violent.

Drugs & alcohol… Another major description of the game is its use of drugs. Drug use is extremely prevalent in Grand Theft Auto V. You can use drugs throughout, and you can use drugs to receive money in the game. Also, a new feature in this game is that you can go out and get drunk, and then drink and drive. Bar scenes are throughout the video game.

Sex… The sexuality in Grand Theft Auto V is at an extremely high level. In the game, when you are not out doing crime, you live life as a gang member. You do life, and live it up. You go to bars, and you meet girls. In Grand Theft Auto V, you can pick up prostitutes on the side of the road, then drive to a quiet location, and have sex on the video game. By the way, nudity is not shown, but the sex scene in the car is shown for several minutes. Prostitution is a big part of the game, and is a regular occurrence in the game. After the sex scene, you can violently attack the prostitute to get your money back. The characters regularly visit strip clubs and receive lap dances in the video game as well.

Language… The language is bad. You hear cussing throughout the entire video game. Also, the music in the video game is pretty trashy as well. It is a balance between hip hop and rock music, but the language is evident in the music as well.

The content is overall horrible in the video game for anyone at all. The game is rated “M” for mature audiences only, but still the content is so bad, I do not recommend it for adults either. Outside of the content, I hate the overall plot and environment of the show. The family values are horrible. The kids are cussing out their parents in the game. There is fighting and adultery. It is creating a habit and taking people’s minds into a worse and worse picture of what values are. In fact, it is encouraging “no values” whatsoever. The game has a “live it up” feel to it. You can do whatever you want, and hope to not have to suffer the consequences.

My final note for parents is to be careful. First off, the game is rated “M” for a reason. That reason is so that kids and teens under the age of 18 do not have access to it. If you have given your kid access or went out and bought the game, that was not a good idea. Secondly, consider the influence of your kids. I am a firm believer that in 10 years from now, “we will be the same people we are right now except for the people we meet and the books we read.” Why is that? Influence! We are all influenced by the people around us and the books that we read. In the same context, we are just as influenced by the movies, music, and the video games that we play. Be cautious. Know what is out there for your kids, and use discretion in handling issues like this with your kids. Be honest with them and walk them through these decisions so that they can learn to make wise decisions when they are out of your house.

Read this quick quote from the New York Times after the debut of the new Grand Theft Auto to show you how far we have come since the last Grand Theft Auto was released in 2008, “As video game players have gotten older, as antiheroes have become routine across the culture, as sex and violence have permeated prestige television, the controversies that once surrounded the Grand Theft Auto games have begun to seem like sepia-toned oddities from another age.”


Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at

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