Not much left to the Imagine'ation - Magazine publisher serves up porno to minors Page: 1
Don't let your child be a victim
Pornography in gaming magazinesThe gaming industry is massive pulling in billions of pounds each year. So much so that the budgets of some games can be compared to a major Hollywood movie. The fight to stay on top isn't easy as there are new players in the industry popping up all the time fighting and nibbling away at each other's profit margins. Trying to get your attention to a certain game takes a lot of effort with press releases and poster campaigns and even television campaigns that rack up the cost even more.
Our children are the ones who shape the future of gaming by paying with their pocket money. There however is one media publisher that is showing the strains of the modern age and are reverting to some very under handed means of making more money without any thought for who their real reader's are. Imagine Publishing.
My concerns were risen when my son went out and bought himself a gaming magazine to read the reviews of the latest Xbox 360 games. When he got home he quickly opened the magazine up and went straight for the demo disk and left his magazine on the table. I love to play games myself so being quite inquisitive I picked up his magazine called X360 and started to flick through the pages with the hope of finding something that might catch my eye. To my surprise the only thing that did was the last 4 pages of the magazine that contained major full page spreads of mobile sex games, videos and pictures. Convinced that my son had accidentally managed to purchase a mag from one of the 'upper-shelves'  I turned to the front cover to see if there was a 18 rated sticker anywhere on the front of the magazine. Nothing. Absolutely no indication that the magazine contained content unfit for young eyes.
This warping of children's mind's at such a early age is not something I wish to happen, so I have set myself the task of finding out why this is happening and what we as parents can do about it.
First me and my 8 year old daughter headed off to several outlets including WH Smith, ASDA, Morrison and Tesco's to see if she could get any Console or PC gaming magazine's that contained offencive material. We only targeted magazines that did not contain a 15 or 18 rating. Let's see how we got on...

WH Smith
My 8 year old daughter walked in on her own and when straight for the gaming section. On the lower shelf she picked out several magazines including Play (a Sony PlayStation 3 Magazine) and 360 (a Microsoft Xbox 360 magazine) both of which are published by Imagine Publishing. Neither of these titles had an 18 or 15 certificate on them. She also picked up several Future Publishing magazines and Dennis Publishing magazines.
WHSmith Outside WHSmith Inside Shelves
She then proceeded to the check out were a young girl of about 19 years old had a quick look at the magazines and then scanned them in. My daughter then handed over the money and then walked out after saying thank you, and handed the magazines to me.
After a quick look through all the magazine I found that only Imagine Publishing had any sort of pornography contained within them.
I then went with my daughter back into WH Smith and approached the check-out staff that served my daughter and asked to speak to her manager. After about 5 minutes the manger approached me and I asked her why she and her company was allowing a 8 year old to buy magazines that contained pornographic material. The manger looked quite shocked and said if there is any in the magazines it would have been picked up by their till system and alerted the cashier of a registered age limit.
The manager then scanned in the magazines again and no saw no age restrictions were in place and there was no physical markings on the magazines to tell any buyer what age the magazine is suitable for. I then asked again why my 8 year old daughter was able to buy these magazines without question and her only answer was that she would bring this up with her head office.
Me and my daughter then went around to several smaller magazine shops to see if she could do the same. We found that at every shop we had gone to that she could easily walk in and buy literally any gaming magazine she liked. On one occasion even some with 18 certifications from a local news agent. I was amazed my 8 year old daughter can by pornography in this form.
Now this is a major retailer that should know better than to sell anything that is offencive to children! Time to give them a test..
Once again my daughter went in alone and looked for magazines easily within her reach. PowerStation and SciFiNow (both by Imagine Publishing) were the selections with the former even advertising the new Harry Potter game on the front cover. Again she headed to the check-out and handed over her cash as the magazines were scanned through the till before being bagged. Not even a raised eyebrow.
Tesco Paying Tesco Magazines
She then handed the magazines over to me to have a quick flick though. Yet again the console magazine PowerStation had pornography spread across its back pages. However, to my surprise the more adult orientated magazine - SciFiNow had none. Could this be an indication that this publisher is purposely aiming their advertisements at impressionable minds? To confirm my theory I walked into Tesco's myself and hunted down more publications by the same group (such as Photography and PC magazines) and found no pornographic advertisement's at all. This is almost undeniable proof that they are aiming their pornographic material directly at the younger generations. A very disturbing thought.
I then approached the main counter for customer services and politely asked if it was possible to speak to the manger of the store. After a few moments the manger appeared and enquired about my problem.
I showed him the magazine PowerStation and pointed out the pornographic content of the magazine and told him that my child of 8 years had just bought this with no questions asked.
mobile Mayhem
Looking pretty amazed that this had even happened he then scanned in the magazine and found that it had not raised any warnings at all. After a small chat about it asked him what he was going to do about it and he said he would have to contact their head office. I suggest that they remove the magazines immediately as they are selling pornographic material to under 18's at which he said he will re-brand all of the publication's right away to a 18 only brand. This was excellent news to my ears and proves a single person can do this themselves.
So over all its been a interesting day finding out that such a major publisher (Imagine Publishing) has no morals when it comes to making money, even if it means serving up pornographic content to children that may read their magazines.
There is one big way to stop this though and that is do not you children buy them. Let you money do the talking and boycott the magazines that run this kind of content. If other publicists can add a rating sticker onto their magazines then why not Imagine Publishing?
Additionally, it should be the moral responsibility's of shops to check the items they sell. These sort of perversions should never be allowed to be seen by children and if they are selling it then they are as much to blame as the publicists. If you unhappy with any shop that lets children purchase such magazines, complain to the store manager or ask for the contact details of their head quarters.

I will be following this article up with more information on what the shops have to say and if possible what the publicists have to say on this matter. In the meantime, be sure to let me know your thoughts in the Overclock3D Forums.