Pope Benedict XVI has added his voice to the discussion in Europe in favour of stricter controls on violent video games and their sale to children.

The trend to develop products including animated films and video games that appear to encourage violence and anti-social behaviour is “repulsive”, especially when such products are aimed at children, he said yesterday.

The pope's message follows recent moves in Germany, which this month took over the rotating head of the European Union, to ban violent video games. The German government is studying ways to harmonize the various regulations in different European countries, raising the possibility that European-wide bans could come into effect.

The German government has already proposed a law banning certain video games.

The pope's message focused on children and the media, the topic for the Catholic Church's 41st World Communications Day, which will take place on May 20.