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Old 9th June 2010, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Moral Dilemma!

As many of you here are parents as well as gamers, I thought I would open for discussion what is currently weighing on my mind regarding some of the games in my collection.

As some of you know I have an 11 year old son. As all sons do I guess, he wants to do / play what dad does.

Unfortunately he tends to gravitate to the FPS titles. Until now I have not had to worry. He and I have agreed on what games he can and can't play, and the world was a fun and happy place.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of buying his cousin a PS3 for Christmas. At the time it seemed like a good idea. They could communicate and play together even though they are two states apart.

Only thing is, my nephews father is far more relaxed than I am when it comes to what games his son can play. Even though my nephew is almost 2 years older than my boy, he is allowed to play games that I consider only for adults (GTA, MW2, BF:BCII, Red Dead, etc.)

This of course has brought about the following requests from my lad to join his cousin online for games of MW2, BF:BCII, etc., making me the worst father in the world because I have said ... "No!"

As I won't even let my child watch these games being played either, it has really limited my play time as he is staying up later now, (and because I go to work early) I am going to bed earlier.

I am at the stage where I am so tired of having the same conversation that I am this close to trading in all the games I consider "objectionable" for him.

This of course puts me at a disadvantage, but my responsibility to my child's welfare supersedes my desire to play adult games.

So am I over reacting here? What is the right age to expose a child teenager to violent video games?

Are their various degrees of FPS? For instance is a game like HALO (Combat against aliens) more appropriate than a game like Ghost Recon (Combat against humans)?

Where do you draw the line regarding combat? Is a game that has combat in it like an RPG (Mass Effect or Fable 2 for instance) more appropriate (because the sole focus of the game is not just combat, but making moral choices as well .) than a straight out FPS that only focuses on combat(Like MAG or MW2)?

So learned gamers, what are your thoughts?
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Old 9th June 2010, 06:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's a hard one PM. Unfortunately everything thats in mature games like violence, language and sex is pretty everywhere you look and easily accessible on the net or tv.

I know growing up I had the awesome sega master system and I played pretty much everything on it, and I grew up quite normal (I say quite). But given the realism in todays games its a lot different.

How do those sorts of games go with the adult filtering system? I've never tried it so I'm not sure.

The other issue you have is with him playing them online. I've had the unfortunate luck of meeting a lot of wankers that carry on in online FPS games.

I don't envy you PM and I know I'll have the same dilemma when my 4 year old gets older(He's already kicked me off the pc all day so he can play his Bob the builder game).
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Old 9th June 2010, 09:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow your a nice Uncle buying him a PS3. I will send you my list for my birthday Uncle PM
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Old 9th June 2010, 09:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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PM, I don't have any kids, and I was exposed to a lot of inappropiate crap on tv and video for my age ( my mum did'nt give a rats what I watched) and I turned out OK . But what I wish to say is that don't let someone else's standards dictate your own.
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Old 10th June 2010, 03:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The ratings are there for a reason, so in my eyes you are doing the right thing by not letting him play them.

Kids playing adult games is where the 'problems' us older gamers get comes from.
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Old 10th June 2010, 05:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My parents weren't fussed with what I watched back in the day, I remember watching platoon when I was about 8 and thoroughly enjoying.

hehehe, kill, hahahaha blood, death, I will destroy you all, kneel before the almighty Chief

I turned out alright.

Seriously though, I don't have kids yet so my input may not be so relevant, however I think that this issue is simply a matter of the parents own judgement and that there is no right or wrong answer..

Growing up I wasn't allowed to have "violent toys" or watch the related TV shows. My mother was strongly against G.I. Joes, Tranformers, Ninja Turtles, He-Man, etc. Anything that involved fighting was inappropriate for me, instead I was given Lego and encouraged to draw pictures etc. That was fine with me though as I loved my Lego (and still do )

My cousin, who is about the same age, didn't have these restrictions. He had all the violent toys he wanted, could watch all these shows etc. I was so jealous of him back then

This is where it gets interesting according to friends of ours (doesn't seem that enthralling to me)

I was not exposed to violence from a young age. I'm now a senior constable with victoria police, dealing with violence and death on a regular basis and despite being sheltered from these things it's never been an issue for me. Even my first DOA was a breeze, I could just naturally detach myself from the situation.

My cousin on the other hand, who grew up with violence, has trouble even watching Shaun of the Dead because zombies "make him feel sick"

Nature or nurture or both? We all handle things differently and mature differently. I feel that exposing a child to violence (nurture) will only have negative effects if that's a tendency they display (nature).

So to me it seems like it's simply a matter of how a kid handles issues like violence, death, sex, etc. rather than there being a set age at which kids can handle these things.

Since he's already 11, it's a mere 4 years before he'll have access to most of these games whether you like it or not, even I know 4 years will fly by with a kid that age. Heck, I can't remember anything from about 16 - 20 it went so fast (though that was probably all the weed)

I think I had a point....

You know your son better than anyone PM, so don't let anyone influence how you raise your own kid. He'll be ready for these games when you feel he is and even if he argues against it, it's just videogames. Though if he's anything like I was back in the day, he'll go to his cousin's or a mate's place to play them instead, but hey, at least that's more social.

And when he's ready, us toggers will be prepared to have our arses handed to us by the young whippersnapper.
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Old 10th June 2010, 08:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The question of knowing my son has come up a lot. (As I have posted this in the lounge as well). Unfortunately IMHO this is not the problem.

I know my son very well. He is articulate, a good reader, enjoys playing with his friends, not a sports fan (/cry), wants to be a pilot one day (well at least this month ), plays with Lego, is only just discovering girls, is head strong, does well at math but needs to work on his hand writing, wants to do the things Dad does, we go camping and 4 wheel driving together, etc., etc.

My problem here (and this could be used as part of the pro - R18 rating argument) is that I can not trust the ratings on the games.

My son's maturity is what I would consider on par for his age. He is starting to "grasp" adult concepts, but because he still thinks like a kids, he misunderstands the meaning or implication that an adult would "get" right off the bat.

Like many of you I played, was was then touted, violent video games and I too believe they have done me no "harm"

I played contact sport, I come from a broken home and I grew up in a schooling system that could be considered "survival of the fittest" due to the fights we got into as Darwin was rebuilding from cyclone Tracy and with every new school built the "who was toughest" pecking order needed to be worked out ... the hard way

All these things added to who I am and in and many ways made me strong enough to deal with challenges later in life.

My son is growing up in a world where "standing up for yourself" is considered anti-social behaviour. If I was picked on in the school yard I had two choices, let it happen or stand up to the bully. If he is picked on he has to tell a teacher, fill out an incident report, attend a meeting session with the bully, seek counselling, etc., etc.

Now I am not advocating bashings in the school yard, but this political correctness crap does not prepare our children for the "real world".

In my son's world, there is no respect for authority any more. There is no "clear" meaning of justice or social order, there is no clear understanding of what it means to be a "Man"! (I am referring to societies views here, not what I try to instil in my boy ... which clash at times )

So I am a lone voice of guidance vs a world of political correctness gone mad IMHO.

I try to teach my boy to stand up for himself, defend those that are being harassed, use honour and common-sense as a guide, treat women with respect, judge a person by their deeds not their ethnicity or social standing, etc.

But I feel that I am fighting an up hill battle against social views out of wack with reality and pop culture that sends out very different messages then when I was his age.

Yes I played violent video games, but the graphics, sounds, language and concepts of those games are worlds away from what is available today.

The rating systems have no consistency. One game gets an M rating because a character uses foul language or a "boob" is shown, while another gets an M rating because a character decapitates another character in fully gory detail and mounts it to his car bonnet, or because a character can pay for sex with a hooker and then kill her!

While I have a fairly good idea what each game "contains", it is not uncommon for me to play a game that throws in a surprise that makes me go "Holy crap, I hope my son never sees that!"

I don't (and I am sure 99% of parents don't) have to time to play every game through to every possible ending to see if it is ok for my child. Couple that with my lack of faith in our rating systems and you start to see the moral dilemma I face every time my son wants to play a new game.

Now there are other factors my son will face playing games that I never did as a kid ... online play. The amount of "crap" or dangerous talk on these game servers is frightening. So even if the game is ok, I am still concerned about online play due to who he might have to listen to.

I am very concerned that my guidance can be lost in a world that no longer holds justice, truth and decency as values, has a pop culture that try's to "one up" the last product by making it more violent and more vulgar and teaches our kids that authority, loyalty and "being a man" are less important than being part of the social herd.
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Old 10th June 2010, 10:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When I was a kid my dad (an ex Army Drill Sergeant) never allowed my younger brother and I to have toy guns. He insisted that guns were dangerous and that he didn't want us treating them as toys. We were mad about it at the time (and we circumvented his rule by making guns out of Legos) but eventually we grew up and found it really didn't matter that we didn't get those kinds of toys.

To this day whenever I see a gun I treat it with respect - because I realize that it is a dangerous weapon that can kill people (the only guns I consider toys are the ones I get in video games).

I don't know if that analogy helps at all (I couldn't really say anything else since I'm not a parent myself) but I'll echo everyone else and say there is no easy answer to your question. Your job is to be a good parent, which tends to be an unpopular choice with kids.
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Old 10th June 2010, 10:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I, like Chief, don't have kids, so all I can offer is my life experience.

IMO, to a certain extent, it doesn't really matter what society throws at your boy. It's more about what time you're spending with him and what kind of moral code you're instilling in him.

Originally Posted by Pure Mongrel View Post
I try to teach my boy to stand up for himself, defend those that are being harassed, use honour and common-sense as a guide, treat women with respect, judge a person by their deeds not their ethnicity or social standing, etc.
That's what will stand the test of time and make him a "Man".

I grew up in a religious home that was fairly tightly controlled. So, of course, I partook of every forbidden fruit at my friend's homes. My father did impart a very strong moral system to me, which largely revolved around "the golden rule", or do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I was always very irritated by their guidance and after I left home, I went wild for a bit. I followed the Grateful Dead for a while and engaged in all the debautury that went along with that. Even with all that craziness and consciousness alterations that occurred, I never lost my moral grounding. Not because the society didn't have an impact on me, but because of my relationship with my father.

Years later, I feel that I'm a reasonably well adjusted individual, and a contributing member of society. Even though our political, societal, and religious views could not be farther apart, I have a great relationship with my parents. They taught me to think for myself and I do.... probably more than I should.

Anyway, sorry for putting you through my mostly irrelevant rant.... just my 2 cent's worth.
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Old 10th June 2010, 05:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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lol, sorry, looks like I started a whole rant trend

For the record, I was extremely drunk last night as my fiancee and I have a few days off at the same time (which is extremely rare) so we had too much wine and then she passed out, leaving me drunk and bored which tends to result in internet rambling.

Anyway, I don't think I had a point in my previous rant. Sounds like your kid is a smart lad and is being raised with good values so I wouldn't worry the content of videogames having any real contribution to his behavior or anything.

As you said, the ratings system is completely screwed, especially for videogames, but the biggest issue is that it offers no insight as to the context of any violence, language etc. which is in the game and that's where the problem lies. I don't think there's any way to judge whether something is appropriate for a kid other than experiencing it first yourself.

Rambling again, must be a bit drunk still so I'm going back to bed

I still don't know what my point is.
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