I've been watching my dad play Resident Evil for as long as I can remember. My parents are split, and my mom never allowed M games in the house. In all honesty, she didn't like video games in the house in general...No fighting games, ever. Definitely not anything like Mortal Kombat, but Tekken was banned too...Even Super Smash Brothers was banned from our house. But my dad let me play whatever I want, and watch him play all the M games all the time.
Now my little brother on my dad's side is 6, and he plays M games all the time. He's played so much Resident Evil, House of the Dead, God of War, it's insane. But he's fine. Anything sexual in any of the games, he doesn't understand anyway, and my dad did the same with him as he did with me. Told us it's just a game, there's nothing to be afraid of. It's not like my little brother is acting violent because of it. It's not giving him negative thoughts, not making him anymore bloodthirsty that we are as humans, anyway. He's the sweetest little boy, and the oddest thing he's done since is act out a few of the games. He jumped into a pool like Kretos tries to jump off the cliff and the end of GoW, he's pretended to shoot zombies a couple times with nerf guns, but how is that different from any other stereotypical little boy?
He of course, still plays Mario and Zelda and his Mickey Mouse games, but what is he hurting by playing the games?
My dad and step-mom aren't stupid or irresponsible for letting him play, they're a gaming family. They could be doing a lot worse by him than they are by letting him play a few M rated games...
The kids probably pull something off like "If you love me, you'd get me M rated games" or something of that sort, and the idiot parents think "well, I do love my child", and they purchase it for them. I don't know if this is ever the case, but I have known people that has had that happen to them.
Heck, when I was a kid (under 12) my dad and I would have all day gaming sessions together with Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct. Never once did those games cause me any kind of aggression or ill behavior.
Parents believe that kids will be subjected to M material from their peers and the world despite the parents wishes, so why not let the kid enjoy w/e games he/she wants? It's nothing they haven't or won't see in the near future anyway. It's lazy parenting.
Why do parents let 7 year olds buy cell phones? Why do parents allow their teenage daughters or sons to dress VERY inappropriately at school? Some parents in this world just don't care about things like this.
I don't see it warping a kids mind at all. I'm speaking from experience. I have never heard of a case where a 7 or 8 year old kid playing GTA ever get the idea of stealing cars or killing random people. It's just unheard of. Standards have changed since we were young.
Sometimes the parents don't care and want their kids to just be entertained for a while. But there are also the parents who know that its just a game and they think their kid is responsible enough to understand that.
I think its either parents who know and don't care, parents who don't even understand m is for mature, and parents who don't fully realize what these kinds of scenes can do to a young child. each parent is different.