Moral Dilemma!

Discussion in 'Console Talk (Public)' started by Pure Mongrel, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Pure Mongrel

    Pure Mongrel Retired Captain

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    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 [STRIKE]child[/STRIKE] 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?
     
  2. morbius

    morbius Active Member

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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).
     
  3. exploit

    exploit Getting Started

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    Wow your a nice Uncle buying him a PS3. I will send you my list for my birthday Uncle PM :)
     
  4. Psycho Bunyip

    Psycho Bunyip Just Joined

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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.
     
  5. Bawheidbob

    Bawheidbob Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  6. Chief

    Chief Retired Captain

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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 :D)

    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 :p

    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.
     
  7. Pure Mongrel

    Pure Mongrel Retired Captain

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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.
     
  8. Zhul

    Zhul Retired Captain

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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. :)
     
  9. Spunkmeyer

    Spunkmeyer Getting Started

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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.

    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.
     
  10. Chief

    Chief Retired Captain

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    lol, sorry, looks like I started a whole rant trend :p

    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 :p

    I still don't know what my point is.
     
  11. Pure Mongrel

    Pure Mongrel Retired Captain

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    LOL. Thanks for all your input guys :D
     
  12. FunkyJ

    FunkyJ Well-Known Member

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  13. Ebonytears

    Ebonytears Queen of the Abyss

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    PM you are a good dad who wants the best for his son. I have a 12 year old son (he has aspergers) and I got told -very bluntly- last night that I needed to back off. The simple statement that was given to me basically went:

    You can be in the background in case you're really needed but I strongly suggest you back the hell off before your kid starts to hate you. Do you trust your son? Have you taught him right from wrong? Good...now go away, it's time for him to show that he has listened.

    That came from an 18 year old Venturer Scout. Hearing it made me want to treat him like a kid and point out that I was the adult here and how dare he talk to me like that. The sensible side took the advice the way it was ment.

    There is only so much we can do for our kids before we reach a point where we must either step back or start living their lives for them. Your son sounds like a well-balanced level headed kid. You have taught him right from wrong and he knows he can come to you if he needs to. I'm not saying let him play any old game. But maybe letting him play some of the milder ones? As for the internet...I found out my daughter has been chatting online at school. Boy did they hear from me! Thing is, he is going to encounter it. Maybe it would be better if he did while you are around to supervise or...I don't know...are just there if you know what i mean.

    Hard place PM. You're damned if you do and your damned if you don't type situation. Maybe talk to Wayfarer...I hear he has a story or two about the teenage years :)
     
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  14. Gash

    Gash Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  15. Mecha-Wombat

    Mecha-Wombat Well-Known Member

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  16. flexx

    flexx Active Member

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    Well said Ebonytears.
     
  17. Obsi

    Obsi Well-Known Member

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    It is a hard one, and I think it depends on the child and how/why the violence is portrayed in the game....

    Games involving killing people are frequent even in kids games (even in non video games - think of Cowboys and Indians)... The Lego games have oodles of "bad guys" to shoot/hack and they fall to pieces, but it's rated G because you're killing Lego, not people, and there is no blood when the people are killed (but technically they are dismembered! which is quite violent when you think about it)

    I've got a 6 year old... and I am careful about what I play and *how* I play when she is around... but I do on occasion play bits of adult games when she is around.

    She has actually played some GTA - but like that 4 year old.... she's walked around looking at the scenery, driven a car and flown with the jetpack.....and that's it. When she has been watching me play, I've just driven around to show her the world (she tells me off for not stopping at all the red lights and if I dare to accidentally hit other cars).... I've done some ambulance missions... The rest is totally not suitable (especially since on my own, I do take delight in running over people for that satisfying squelch lol), but I think walking around the open world (particularly out of the city areas where there are less people) is fine.

    She's asked why I was killing people in Tomb Raider (so we had a discussion, as you do - "I don't want to kill the people, but unfortunately it's a game and they are the "bad guy" and if I don't kill them, they will kill me and then I can't finish the game".. etc.).... whereas she's not asked why I was killing Aliens in Halo/HalfLife..... Both are "killing the bad guy" - but it's different somehow when it's an alien instead of an actual person.

    But then, I don't know how keen I'd be letting a young teenager have the opportunity to play adult games on their own. It's one thing to selectively game around a child (where you can more or less choose what they see)... but another to have them playing with free access to do what they want.

    I would be more likely to let a teenager play something where they are killing aliens/non-humans..... partly because it's obviously not realistic, and also it tends to be a more survival/saving the world type reason for the killing... (so long as its not chainsaw massacres and so on) Whereas a more military-like game, where you are killing actual people-looking people, and the reason for killing is not so clear-cut.... that's something I would have more issue with (but then I don't tend to play those games myself).... and then something like GTA where there is dubious morality, that I think is an even more adult only gaming...
     
  18. magx01

    magx01 Just Joined

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    I would suggest picking a game that he really wants to play and playing it with him, explainging things as you go, setting the context, etc. Take your overall societal views and apply it to the games' ratings systems: that's how I see it. Overprotective coddling that is protecting people from things they need to be protected from.

    Play with him, setting the context, explaining things, and gauge his reactions. You'll then know whether or not he can cleary separate fiction from reality and handle the more 'adult' content.

    Whatever you do, good luck!
     
  19. urgal1

    urgal1 Well-Known Member

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    I let my kids play and watch what they want. However I explain that they are only games and movies and not real life. The way you behave in the real world is a total different story. I raise my kids with good morals and so far they have not let me or themselves down. I trust my kids.

    I was brought up under really strict rules and I took every opportunity to rebel. I suppose that's why I choose to raise my children differently. And so far it's all looking good.

    I'm not saying there is a right way or wrong way to raise your kids, there your kids, you know how to look after them and whats best for them. Dont let others tell you what right or wrong.
     
  20. Arep

    Arep Correspondent<br>Retired Advisor

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    My two cents...

    The most important lesson for a child playing video games (or watching movies, etc) is that its all fantasy. Nothing they see, do or hear while playing should be confused in any way with reality. Once your kid has learned that lesson that is half the battle. You can almost let the rating system and parental supervision while playing take care of the rest.

    The real danger is online interaction with real humans. Get a few idiots online with voice chat and all of a sudden Princess Pony Party turns into a rated M game.

    I see nothing wrong with letting a child play a game beyond his age under the right supervision and I also see nothing wrong with restricting games you think he should not be playing. You know your child better than anyone else. If he doesn't hate you for that, he'll hate you for something else eventually! ;-)

    I think you are on the right track. Just imagine how hard it would be if you didn't know anything about games like many parents out there...
     

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