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#1 Posted by Zenogiasu (192 posts) -

This is a debate I often have with my brother. We were raised primarily by our mother, who would refuse to let us play any M-rated games until we were 17. We both hated it, of course--I wanted to play Grand Theft Auto III, dammit.

Today, my brother thinks she was being unreasonable, and fully intends to allow his kids to play M-rated games from a fairly early age--maybe around 12 or 13. As for myself, I can understand where my mother was coming from by making us wait; I think she was being a responsible parent.

I was just wondering what current and prospective parents, who are gamers themselves, have to say on the topic.

#2 Posted by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

Depends on the game. Gta probably not, Halo yes.

#3 Edited by Fattony12000 (7029 posts) -

Well, that's why you gotta play that shit on the down low. I had sick times on the original GTA, back when I was about 9 or 10. SICK. SIIIIIICK. TIIIIIIIMES.

If my kid was cool enough to not let me catch him, then, well, fair enough to him/her.

I would probably keep GTA III out of my child's hands until around the age of 14 or 15, depending on their maturity level at the time.

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#4 Posted by TheHBK (5463 posts) -

Depends on the game for me as well. Call of duty, I would let them play, though i would monitor the online portion. Halo yes. GTA or japanese games, no way. I don't want my kids playing something like Metal Gear Solid. Aside from the fact that Kojima is a stephanie meyer esque writer and plot maker, all the sexual and Raiden stuff would not be something I want my kids exposed to.

#5 Posted by Zenogiasu (192 posts) -

@Fattony12000 said:

Well, that's why you gotta play that shit on the down low. I had sick time on the original GTA, back when I was about 9 or 10.

Oh, don't worry--I got my fix. Our dad would actually let us play whatever we wanted. I have very, very fond memories of playing Turok 2: Seeds of Evil as a seven-year-old.

#6 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

would you let your children watch a hardcore porn film

#7 Posted by BaneFireLord (2909 posts) -

Also depends. Elder Scrolls games? Hell yes. Fallout? Nope. Halo? Sure, if they're interested. GTA? Hell no.

#8 Posted by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

Well I'll ignore the game rating and decide for myself on a case-by-case basis, like any good parent.

#9 Posted by believer258 (11621 posts) -

When they're fifteen or sixteen years old? Watch and play whatever the hell they want. Before then, though, I'll monitor any media that I know they're consuming. And no, that won't be some magic maturity spot, I'll gradually let them watch and do more and more instead of restrict them to cartoonish E games before giving them the A-OK to go nuts.

Yeah, I'm fully aware that they'll have a friend that owns Grand Theft Auto XII or whatever and they'll get to play it, or they'll try to sneak in something under my nose, but it will still be clear that I'm not going to just let it slide if I catch them with it.

#10 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

Absolutely.

I think the ratings board is a mostly legitimate system and it offers good "at-a-glace" advice for parents. That being said, what I do and do not restrict my children from playing will likely be based more on my own personal research. For example, I don't think a child ought to be playing Call of Duty because the subject matter is a bit too mature for young kids who haven't yet developed a sense of the value of life and the differentiation between what real war and video game war. I can't necessarily think of any mature games I would allow a younger kid to play, though I'm sure there would be reasons for exceptions, so I would be open to my child's argument if they wanted to play something.

I probably wouldn't follow them strictly as the specific ages are a bit arbitrary (I was playing some mature games before my time, Diablo comes to mind), but I think it's good to hold your kids back from some of the more intense content until they can approach it from a better informed, more questioning maturity.

#11 Edited by JoeyRavn (4947 posts) -

@Bell_End said:

would you let your children watch a hardcore porn film

Not the same medium, not the same reasons it's given an M/AO rating, not the same expectations. The analogy is not valid, but I won't even bother telling you why. I'm pretty sure you already know.

Edit: That is, of course, if you're being serious. If you're joking, nevermind my post.

#12 Posted by believer258 (11621 posts) -

@TheHBK said:

Depends on the game for me as well. Call of duty, I would let them play, though i would monitor the online portion. Halo yes. GTA or japanese games, no way. I don't want my kids playing something like Metal Gear Solid. Aside from the fact that Kojima is a stephanie meyer esque writer and plot maker, all the sexual and Raiden stuff would not be something I want my kids exposed to.

You won't let your kids play Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy or Mario? Well, OK, Mario's constantly after, *ahem*, "cake", but the other two should be fine.

#13 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@TheHBK said:

Depends on the game for me as well. Call of duty, I would let them play, though i would monitor the online portion. Halo yes. GTA or japanese games, no way. I don't want my kids playing something like Metal Gear Solid. Aside from the fact that Kojima is a stephanie meyer esque writer and plot maker, all the sexual and Raiden stuff would not be something I want my kids exposed to.

Wow. I know we all hold our own morals and beliefs, but I can honestly say I cannot comprehend how yours works.

#14 Posted by Kedi2 (242 posts) -

Depends on the game. Like others have said, something like GTA I would restrict until around 14. Shooters like Halo and CoD I wouldn't really have a problem with.

#15 Posted by BoG (5181 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

Well I'll ignore the game rating and decide for myself on a case-by-case basis, like any good parent.

I think that this is the only answer. I'm going to be responsible with all forms of media. Ratings try to draw lines, but those lines really don't exist. With movies and games, I'll make sure I know what they're playing, and I'll make sure that I'm ok with them being exposed to its content at their current age. When they're 18? I'll consider them adults who can judge for themselves.

#16 Posted by alternate (2681 posts) -

I remember watching some nasty films like Rococop and Childs Play when I was like 10. Never harmed me. I only killed a couple of people and they were bar fights so it don't count.

#17 Posted by MattyFTM (14340 posts) -

Of course. Some games just aren't appropriate for kids. I'd be more flexible than my mother was (i.e. I'd judge individual games based on their content and the maturity of my children) but allowing them to play whatever games they wanted would be stupid and irresponsible.

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#18 Posted by Tackchevy (261 posts) -

I have a six month old. I'm curious to see if I'll be able to mind control him into thinking that NES stuff is the greatest. Going to be tough to find a CRT tv.

#19 Edited by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@Tackchevy said:

I have a six month old. I'm curious to see if I'll be able to mind control him into thinking that NES stuff is the greatest. Going to be tough to find a CRT tv.

Even if they don't end up thinking it's "the best," their gaming life will be richer for the knowledge of where all those fancy, new-fangled graphics started from.

#20 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

I decide which games are suitable and those are the ones I let him have. I don't let him play any Call Of Duty games because of the fucking idiots with headsets who play it and the fact that they just aren't good games. GTA is a no no as well.

#21 Posted by YI_Orange (1128 posts) -

@BoG said:

@MikkaQ said:

Well I'll ignore the game rating and decide for myself on a case-by-case basis, like any good parent.

I think that this is the only answer. I'm going to be responsible with all forms of media. Ratings try to draw lines, but those lines really don't exist. With movies and games, I'll make sure I know what they're playing, and I'll make sure that I'm ok with them being exposed to its content at their current age. When they're 18? I'll consider them adults who can judge for themselves.

This. It also depends on the kid too. I was playing Vice City when that came out(I was 11 or 12) and I played GTA 3 before then as well as the original GTA. I played Onimusha, Devil May Cry, and probably other "Mature" rated games when I was young and it didn't negatively influence me at all. I also saw the Matrix when I was pretty young, I think it was my first mature movie. It kinda burned that scene where Mouse(?) dies into my head but other than that no big deal. Point is, they brought a lot of enjoyment to me that bled over into socializing and not just the games themselves. So if a kid can handle it, then whatever.

#22 Posted by Morrow (1828 posts) -

I don't think it depends on the game, I think it depends on the kid. There are kids who can take mature content, and some can't. Depends on the own maturity level and intelligence of your kid.

#23 Posted by UltorOscariot (171 posts) -

I think kids are likely in my future at some point, and I'm probably going to have to look at this on a case by case basis. Not all M rated content is equal. I was ten when my dad bought me my first M rated game, which was Mortal Kombat II on Super Nintendo, and that probably didn't change my life in any way. I had a pretty firm grasp of reality by that time and wasn't an idiot, but maybe my kid won't be the same. But a blanket no or yes policy just sounds idiotic.

#24 Posted by Brodehouse (9567 posts) -

I'll let him play M rated games at the time I feel he/she can handle The Godfather. When they can understand the level of violence in the Godfather, they can understand other stuff.

There's plenty of good T games out there until then (Bastion, Final Fantasy, Trenched). And when they're a 6 year old or so I'm going to focus them on games that involve colored blocks and triangles shooting squares.

I wish there was a mode in Super Meat Boy where I can take out all the weird allusions to infant murder and suffering, because I think that game is perfect for kids.

#25 Posted by Plasticstars (171 posts) -

No. I was allowed to play mature games at a young age, because my parents took the time and effort to educate me on the difference between fantasy and reality. I plan on doing the same thing if/when I have children.

#26 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4573 posts) -

I have a 9 year old sister that doesn't like girly games. She also thinks Skylanders are fucking stupid. She's already figured out Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren't real, and all of this is to say she likes playing the Arkham games. Technically those are rated T, but considering she's scary smart and has a firm grasp on the whole "fantasy is not reality" thing, I let her play them. Kind of proud of the young woman she's becoming, actually.

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#27 Posted by Dimsey (948 posts) -

Feel like it'd be hypocritical of me to do so. 
Near as I can recall my parents never really restricted me from watching or playing anything. 
I basically watched what they did whether was kid friendly, M-rated or over. 
And as far as games go they were buying me Carmageddon during a time when there was massive controversy over it and other violent games in general. 
 
I mean I guess it'd depend on the kid, but if he seemed capable of handling it then I don't really have a problem with them playing whatever.

#28 Posted by bjacks27 (9 posts) -

I let my kid (4) watch a little bit of God of War with me (the Kronos boss fight which is super bloody and gory) and afterwards I felt like a piece of shit Dad. Now I won't let him watch that or any other M Rated game. Its difficult to make that decision until you are physically confronted with it. For me though, just can't let my kids see them

#29 Posted by Nightriff (4908 posts) -

Yes, there are plenty of E and T rated games that I will have my kids play first before I throw them into M games. I didn't really play M games till I was 14ish and that was appropriate. I think its crazy that some let there kids play anything, bad parenting in my opinion.

#30 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2903 posts) -

If you're a good parent, you know it depends on the games. Ratings are guidelines. Read about, watch and maybe play the game yourself to find out. Hopefully you play games with your kids at least now and then (or watch them play) instead of using it as an isolation device, and that's the best way to know if what you're kids are playing is "good for them".

#31 Edited by GERALTITUDE (2903 posts) -

@BrockNRolla: I have a brother who's ten and he plays games from many generations. Most young kids don't care too much for graphics if the game is fun, but early exposure is still key I think. There's also a weird age where user friendliness doesn't seem to matter. Ex: At 8, Ramsey, my bro, could play MS Flight Simulator (don't think he could land though) nearly as well as Super Mario. Kids!

#32 Posted by Cthulad (49 posts) -

I will be playing, and watching what my son will be doing as he grows up. I watched "R" rated movies starting at around 8-10 (Robocop was so damn disturbing) but I knew what the difference was. I was educated, and my son will also be educated in this structure.

I read an article last year about a father allowing his son (4) to play GTA IV. The son started driving the car, stopping at lights, and obeying the rules of the road. He never knew he could pull out a gun, and shoot others, or do bad things in the game without consequences. He was upset when he got into an accident with another car even. The father said it's okay it's just a game, keep trying what you are doing. No missions of killing, or dating or anything just running around, and having fun in the game. If the kid knows what GTA IV is like at an older age with the violence then it will be harder to keep it from him, Teach the difference between real, and fictional, I think they will turn out just fine in life.

One more thing is my kid won't play COD, or Battlefield, or a sports game at our home. These games dad won't own so he will have a hard time getting his hands on them. Even with his own money I will be steering clear of these games.

#33 Posted by Hizang (8534 posts) -

It depends ovoiusly, GTA although 18 is generally harmless, things like Heavy Rain no way.

#34 Posted by guiseppe (2837 posts) -

Hell no. Well, ok, yes. To a certain age. My hope is that my kid/kids will be smart enough to tell fiction from reality at an early age.

#35 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (1938 posts) -

Well, knowing enough about games I would probably do a case-by-case basis. I mean, I won't have my 6 year old jamming to Manhunt, but a little SMT wouldn't hurt.

As long as they never ever encounter Mara.

#36 Posted by RandyF (137 posts) -

The ratings system doesn't really matter for people like us who are exposed to pretty much every game and know enough about them to form an opinion on them. I don't have kids, but it would depend on how mature my child was. I was playing the GTA games when they came out (I was 11 I believe when 3 came out) and it never bothered me. GTA IV is a lot worse than any of the previous ones, though. Plus, there are worse games out there than GTA. I don't think I would let my kids play Spec Ops: The Line until they were close to the age. Probably not horror games like Amnesia or the early Silent Hill games, either. Those are few and far between, though. Things like Assassin's Creed, Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty, Resident Evil, God of War, and others I wouldn't mind playing when they hit around age 10 or so. If they're old enough to be able to handle the mechanics of those kinds of games, they can handle the level of cartoony violence that is in them.

I actually struggle to think of games other than those examples that I wouldn't allow them to play. Games can be violent and sexual, but with few exceptions, games haven't reached the level of maturity that other mediums have that I think is too much for children. Most games, kids will look at and find the level of violence funny or gross, not disturbing. It's probably just because I had just finished it recently, but Spec Ops is one of the only cases where I could see children having a hard time dealing with it.

But like it was said earlier, if kids want to play something, they'll find a way to do it behind our backs. I never had to, but I know friends who did and they were able to do it. It's not hard.

#37 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

@SexyToad said:

Depends on the game. Gta probably not, Halo yes.

This.

Halo is virtual paintball. GTA goes beyond that.

At the same time, my parents raised me with barely any boundaries. I saw Nightmare on Elm Street when I was 7. It helped fuel my love for horror. Therefore, it would feel a bit hypocritical for me to restrict my kids, but it's only logical I think.

#38 Posted by Rohok (553 posts) -

No, but if he's not a teenager yet I will restrict him from playing T rated games.

#39 Posted by Bane122 (783 posts) -

Depends on the game and how mature they are for their age. My mom didn't let me buy stuff like MK2 (I'd be around 13 or 14 at the time) until I told her one day I knew it was all fake and just for fun. Got MK2 snes that day. If any of my kids can do the same then I'll let them check out some stuff.

#40 Posted by Flaime (525 posts) -

Nope.

#41 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Yes, but I'm not gonna bring home M rated games as a first choice for them, I'm just not going to stop them if they want to play it. This is assuming I'm even into games still when I have kids, it's quite possible I'll be doing more meaningful things.

If your kid is gonna be a fucking sociopath, he/she is going to be a fucking sociopath. The medium they enjoy is irrelevant.

@Plasticstars said:

No. I was allowed to play mature games at a young age, because my parents took the time and effort to educate me on the difference between fantasy and reality. I plan on doing the same thing if/when I have children.

The only good post.

#42 Posted by Brodehouse (9567 posts) -
@Cthulad I did the same thing (driving around, obeying road signs and lights) when I was a kid playing Driver. It's because kids are aspirational, and they see their parents and older people driving cars and want to simulate doing it too.

Of course difference then in Driver was accidentally nudging another car would send the Suicide Police out to ram you into oblivion.
#43 Posted by Maginnovision (484 posts) -

Before he's 5 it'll be books and educational television/games because I won't have a stupid child. Kindergarten probably be much the same... Once it gets the rhythm down at school, can play whatever it likes.

#44 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5137 posts) -

Depends on the game, I let my 13 year old brother play CoD and Gears of War but not Saints Row.

#45 Edited by mandude (2669 posts) -

I'm going to experiment with mine. One kid will be given all the games they want, and the other will have to strictly follow the ratings, and at the end of it all, I will have two perfectly well adjusted kids (and if I don't, it certainly wouldn't be due to fucking video games).

#46 Posted by psylah (2162 posts) -

My nephews play M-rated games, and I don't go out of my way to get them, but if they want them I will pick them up for their birthday or whatever if their mother allows.

The one time I denied them was for MW2, because that airport stuff seemed a bit much. I think I got them Red Faction Guerilla and Batman Arkham Asylum instead that year.

#47 Posted by Pr1mus (3801 posts) -

Of course, because i'm a quality individual that knows that gaming companies number 1 responsibility is NOT to raise my kids for me.

#48 Posted by TheHBK (5463 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@TheHBK said:

Depends on the game for me as well. Call of duty, I would let them play, though i would monitor the online portion. Halo yes. GTA or japanese games, no way. I don't want my kids playing something like Metal Gear Solid. Aside from the fact that Kojima is a stephanie meyer esque writer and plot maker, all the sexual and Raiden stuff would not be something I want my kids exposed to.

You won't let your kids play Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy or Mario? Well, OK, Mario's constantly after, *ahem*, "cake", but the other two should be fine.

Well the question was about M rated games. So I don't think those count. Think about M rated japanese games, yeah, you get a lot of stuff like what I mention.

@BrockNRolla: What does it have to do with morals? Just stuff found in games like Metal Gear Solid are not something I want my young kids exposed to before they are ready to understand how fucking stupid it all is.

#49 Posted by ajamafalous (11845 posts) -

There was literally a thread on this about a week ago. 
 
 
To answer, no, I will not restrict them. I was playing Doom and Duke 3D when I was in like 1st/2nd Grade; my parents never restricted me. By the time your kid's in 6th Grade there won't be anything in an M rated game that he hasn't already seen, heard, or said himself.

#50 Posted by Jrad (621 posts) -

@Bell_End said:

would you let your children watch a hardcore porn film

I wouldn't show my kids hardcore porn, but I wouldn't have a problem with them watching it. They'd find that stuff eventually anyway, no need to go out of the way to restrict them from it. Similarly, with video games: I'd let them play anything they showed an interest in, while hopefully steering them away from the CoDs of the world and toward games like Europa Universalis 3 and Crusader Kings 2.