Nick Clegg warns of the danger of Grand Theft Auto

Video games like Grand Theft Auto can have a "corrosive" effect on people's behaviour, the deputy prime minister has warned.

Nick Clegg warned of the danger of the violent games after the fifth game in the Grand Theft Auto series came on the market, just days after a mass shooting in Washington DC.

"These games can have an incredibly powerful effect – and I expect in some cases a corrosive effect – on someone's behaviour," he told listeners during his LBC phone-in show.

"They occupy a hermetically sealed world of their own and that can have a very detrimental effect.

"It's incredibly difficult to know in a free country what you can do. We can't limit use by law or by edict."

Addressing his own children's use of video games, Clegg said he only allowed them to play for an hour or so in the evenings.

"All parents have a heavy duty on our shoulders – particularly those who didn't grow up with these games," he said.

"It's an unknown world. I try to get involved a bit. I sit next to them so I can see what they're doing. And then really ration it as well."

The Grand Theft Auto games, which allow players free movement in a city or across a region, have long been the target of those who want stronger controls on video game content.

The games let players behave however they wish, meaning some can perpetrate acts of violence against passers by just as easily as complete missions.

The comments from the deputy prime minister will be music to the ears of Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs committee, who has long campaigned for a stronger political response to video game violence.