Parental Advisory: Gaming’s New “Age”

Introduction: How We Differ From Other Sites

This is a gaming blog. As you probably know there are seemingly a million of these in existence, so why read ours? We’re here to bring you the world of gaming in ways the competition either won’t or can’t. Everyone covers the gaming conferences. Everyone does reviews and previews. What everyone doesn’t do is talk about all the different ways that gaming can fit neatly into your life and possibly enhance it. You have no reason to come here and watch us do what everyone else does. So we plan to do the opposite. Discussing gaming from a multitude of different angles sounds more interesting to me than regurgitating the same info you likely received from a more well known website or publication. The last post was about ways to share your gaming love with your boo. Hopefully we can revisit other topics dealing with gaming and relationships down the road. But today, I’ll tackle a subject my partner can’t. Gaming as a parent.

Things Were Different Then

As I was thinking of exactly how to approach this post, I realized I’m at a crossroads of sorts. I have an 8 year old princess and a 5 year old prince. They are young gamers, and they play often enough to where I really have to think about what I allow them to play. Now here’s the problem. When I decide to play video games around them, they always watch. So am I really doing anything if I decide to deem a game such as The Last Of Us unplayable? I mean, they watch me play it all the time. So what’s the difference?

When I was their age, I was playing Nintendo. Mario was the champ, and M rated games barely existed. My mother rarely had to monitor what I played. Everything was pretty much for kids. By the time Mortal Kombat and games of that ilk hit consoles, she was of the opinion that my younger brothers and I could handle violent video games. And she was right. We played whatever we wanted, and thankfully we were smart enough to refrain from imitating any of it. Well, besides the occasional wrestling move lol.

grand_theft_auto_5_gta_v_05

Is this the best thing to show a young child?

Fast forward to the present and everything has changed. Most of the “must-have” games are rated teen at worse. The vast majority are rated mature. Parents must be diligent to keep up. It’s far too easy to buy your children games that aren’t age appropriate. Another factor is the world we live in. Violence in the world isn’t new by any means. But I feel today’s world bears a much closer resemblance to Grand Theft Auto than it did in the 80’s. It’s way easier for the lines to become blurry for a young impressionable kid. Add in the incessant need for internet popularity these days and I feel the likelihood for nonsense is far higher.

Things Are Different Now…Right?

My kids have a Wii, and they also each have a 3DS. So for the most part it’s pretty easy to keep them away from more mature titles. The problem arises when I bring my PS3 over. They absolutely love to watch me play, and they sometimes play as well. I have family friendly games such as Little Big Planet and Ratchet and Clank for us to play together. But they also like to watch me play my other more mature games. Now my daughter isn’t really the issue. She is easily scared. So the minute a game gets gory, or the characters start yelling, she wants out. But junior? He’ll sit there glued to the screen watching every second.

Until I thought of ideas for this post, I never really pondered how that may or may not affect him. He has watched me play through a few titles above his age range, such as Uncharted and Assassins Creed. Even though these games can be violent and profane, neither one of the kids have picked up any bad habits from watching them. Still, even as someone who escaped limitations on what I was allowed to play, I worry I might be setting a bad example. It makes no sense to tell them they can’t play something I allow them to watch me play. So here I stand.

It’s interesting that I’m thinking about this now. You know, on the eve of Grand Theft Auto 5 and all. I’m not sure if they are aware that game even exists, but what if they are? What if they ask me do I have it? Do I lie and say no to keep them from it? Do I say yes and refuse to play it for them? Do I say yes and let them watch knowing they will see things they probably shouldn’t? Do I let them walk the path I did and hope everything ends up ok as it did for me? Do I shield them from everything an arbitrary group deemed inappropriate even though I may disagree at times?

I wish I could answer any of these questions. What I do have is a place to voice my opinions and concerns. Lucky me. So readers, as a parent who is just trying to do better, I want to know what you think. Whether you have kids or not, whether you even play games yourself or not, your opinion matters to me. So hit the comments and sound off. I look forward to hearing how you feel.

Also remember to like the Facebook on the right of the page, subscribe to the blog, and follow us on twitter @Ourcadegames. You can talk to us there too, we don’t have some random person running the twitter lol. Ok, I’ll see you guys around. Happy gaming!

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