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#1 Posted by HolyCrapItsAdam (448 posts) -

I'm an assistant manager  for GameStop and I see parents come in all the time and buy M rated games for their 7-8 year old kids all the time. It's part of my job to ask the parents if they are okay with the content as laid out by the ESRB. 90% of them just brush it off and say "yeah it's fine", however when I mention sexual content, they immediately give me the red flag. My question is where is the dividing line? It's okay  for your 8 year old to stab people in the face, blow off their limbs and curse up a storm but if he/she see's a boob, it's time to call in the FCC and the national guard. I just feel like it's either all okay or none of it is. I'm not trying to tell people how to parent their kids (though some could obviously use some direction) I'm just curious as to why this mindset exists. I'm curious to hear your thoughts as well. Where do you stand? Do you let your kids play M rated games before they are legally/emotionally old enough? If you don't have kids yet, will you let them?

#2 Posted by Deusx (1903 posts) -

As long as the kids parents are responsible for talking the kid into some sense of what he´s playing with, I´m fine with it. If I had a kid I would let him play almost any game (to a certain degree) but I would do my best to let him know what he is playing is just fiction and be clear about the subjects of said game.

#3 Posted by mlarrabee (2886 posts) -

I haven't met any kid fourteen years or under mature enough for an M rated game.

I'm one for complete honesty about the realities of life between parent and child, but I don't think "safe experimentation" into those realities is handled very well these days.

Content aside, most kids under sixteen are part of the problem of incorrigible jerk-offs online. Why allow your own kid to join that club?

#4 Posted by totheteeth (25 posts) -

It's a matter of the individual child. If you think your kid is observant/well-behaved enough to stab digital faces without having their perception of the world warped, go for it (though it probably is better to err on the side of caution if you're unsure). The different standards for violent and sexual content are another matter that I don't feel qualified to discuss other than saying that where we are now is not ideal.

#5 Edited by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -

I remember when i was little (N64 generation), any game with gun was out of the question, and any game with a T rating took a lot of convincing to let my parents get me the game. I was 14 when i got my first M rated shooter. I think that M rated games should not be given to 8 yr olds. period. Killing people for fun (even in a video game, because some kids have a hard time diffrenciating between fiction and reality, they could percieve shoooting people as something people do when they get older) should not be associated with ones childhood, give them a game like super smash bros. and have them have fun with their friends, that's what my friends and i did when we were little (still do that) and you can get some pretty good conversations and memories playing those games. Ultimately, it depends on the kid and whether or not the parents think he/she is responsible, or mature enough, to play M rated games.

Edit: I just read this....and it makes me sound old. im just 16.....

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36047 posts) -

Far away from them, as it does not affect me at all. I've no kids, and I can get all the M-rated games I want.

#7 Edited by mandude (2669 posts) -

There are no ratings on games in Ireland, so I haven't really seen this firsthand, but it seems quite stupid to me that they should matter. The world is only getting more and more peaceful as time goes on, and we were much worse as a people in a time when we didn't even have games, so it's quite silly to argue that they are devolving us into some sort of barbaric society. I grew up on games like Grand Theft Auto and Doom, and I'd have no problem letting my kids do the same.

I have no idea why sex is treated as worse than violence either. I suppose it comes from anything sexual having been seen as sinful by a Church that had its hands in a lot more places than it does currently, and now we can't help but retain some of that mindframe.

#8 Posted by Discoman (159 posts) -

I think it is odd that we demonize sex but meanwhile everyone's more likely to have sex than kill a person in there lifetime, so why get all annoyed about it? I played M rated games when I was young, but that never changed my disposition negatively.

I think every kid has their own maturity. If I have kids I wouldn't start them out on adult games, but as good as a parent you are you have to deal with dumbass kids that were brought up by shit parents influencing your kids.

#9 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

It really depends on the kid. The ratings are a suggestion for adults to decide for their kids. It isn't scripture. I would make the decision for my child based on what my child was like.

#10 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

If I had kids now, I would definitely not let them play something like God of War or Max Payne 3.

To compare two M-Rated games that came out at the same time: Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3 both have VERY different degrees of violence displayed by nature of their gameplay design. Diablo's isometric camera distances you from exploding monster corpses a lot so it's not as bad as a slow motion close up of someone's face getting riddled with bullets.

As far as sexual content: Mass Effect-leve is fine, (again) God of War's gratuitous tits and sex-minigames are a no-go until the kid is at least around 15/16-ish. I think something like The Witcher (2) would be fine as well to some degree. Kids see this stuff anyway but it's also important to expose them to media that handles it well (which God of War does not, for example--gosh, that game/franchise really gets it a lot from me lol)

But I definitely don't support the "oh my god it has blood and mentions sex! burn it!"-mindset.

#11 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

1) test kid to see if psychopath

2)

3) give/deny game

#12 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7240 posts) -

It depends on the game and if said child is mature enough to know reality from fiction.

#13 Posted by stinky (1544 posts) -

i'd leave it up to the parent and go about my own business.

#14 Posted by Dimsey (948 posts) -

Speaking as someone who was once an underage kid who had played many a mature rated game and turned out at least semi-decently, I don't really have a problem with it.  
But I suppose it depends on the child. 

#15 Edited by believer258 (11663 posts) -

The thing about kids seeing boobs seems misunderstood. It sounds weird that you don't mind your kid killing virtual people, but freak out when they see boobs, but then think about it this way: If a kid sees a whole bunch of boobs and sex all over the place, then that's going to encourage him even more to go out and do that as soon as possible. It also reinforces the notion that sex before you're ready carries no consequences whatsoever. Couple this with the fact that teenagers are already horny all of the time anyway, and you have yourself a nice little recipe for becoming a grandparent at an age you were never expecting to be. Compare this to killing virtual people - unlike sex, we don't generally have a natural drive to commit mass murder, and it's a lot easier for a kid to separate the consequences of virtual murder from real murder than it is to separate the consequences of fictional sex from actually doing it yourself.

EDIT: But yes, different kids have different levels of maturity at the same ages and all that jazz. I'm certain some ten year olds do exist whom I would let play M rated games. However, most kid's parents these days believe that their child is something akin to a pure mature genius in every respect, so I don't think they could really be a good judge of whether that kid is mature enough or not. They're too biased towards "yes".

#16 Posted by scalpel (314 posts) -

Parents' responsibility. A store shouldn't have laws imposed on them that decide to whom they may or may not sell a game.

#17 Edited by myketuna (1654 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

It really depends on the kid. The ratings are a suggestion for adults to decide for their kids. It isn't scripture. I would make the decision for my child based on what my child was like.

Same. I remember playing a bunch of stuff that wasn't "intended" for me as a kid. But some of my buddies at the time also got to play M-rated stuff and they... weren't really ready for it. "AW! FUCK YEAH, DUDE! LOOK AT DAT BLOOD!" They basically became the embodiment of all the people during that God of War E3 demo.

It really depends on the kid/teen.

#18 Posted by CaptainCharisma (339 posts) -

I don't think any child under 13 should even be near a rated M game. There's just no point in it, there's plenty of other fun things and games they can play at that point. I believe I played Grand Theft Auto 3 for the first time when I was 11 at a cousin's house and when my grandmother asked if I wanted it I for some reason told her it was too violent. What kid says that? The M isn't a complete standard since there's still a big difference between Mass Effect , Diablo, and God of War. It all depends on the kid but underage kids shouldn't touch a rated M game until the parents think they are ok with their kids virtually murdering people, and preferably they are around 15. All depends on the kid though, like I said I was able to handle GTA3 and 11 and even thought to myself, "wow this is something I shouldn't be playing".

#19 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6386 posts) -

I would wait until the kid is fifteen or older to start playing any M rated video games. I want to let the child have some happy views of the world before he starts shooting people en masse.

#20 Posted by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

They can buy whatever game they want as long as they aren't being stupid retards on XBL.

#21 Posted by UncleClassy (405 posts) -

Honestly I played my fair share of M rated games when I was pretty young, the first being Mortal Kombat 3 for the Genesis, and I turned out fine/ I don't have any murderous tendencies or anything like that.
Personally though, I don't think kids under 14-15 years old should be playing them. When you're that young should just enjoy being a kid and keep a little bit of your innocence.

#22 Posted by ajamafalous (11856 posts) -

I was playing Doom/Duke 3D/Unreal Tournament when I was in 2nd Grade. I haven't gone on a murdering spree. I have no issues with it and I will allow my children to play whatever they want.

#23 Posted by dcgc (878 posts) -

Same old, same old... Parents are responsible for their children, if little children are playing mature games, then something is wrong with the parents education on their kids. Or maybe not (who knows if violence is really a disturbed content for a kid who probably see's sexualized content in ads, every single day). I know for a fact that my parents didn't really liked the idea of me playing mature games, but now that I'm older they can see that I'm not some lunatic running around with a chainsaw on my hands ripping people into half.

#24 Posted by DreDavis (36 posts) -

I have to agree with what believer258 said up to some point, but I don't think that nudity will enhance sexuality in kids. Children in their pre-teens have very limited or no interest in sex and nudity and similar content has no real effect on them because, to put it in simple terms, they don't really care for that stuff. This subject is unappealing to kids at that age, so the only expression from them might be a giggle or two, or limited disgust. You just have to go back and look at yourself at that age and what you thought of nudity and sex. Later, when children get in their teens, of course, they develop an actual interest in sex as their sexuality also develops, so their view to this starts to differ. But I highly doubt that teens looking for sex scenes go to videogames. Thinking about this subject I can't but to think about myself in that age. For example, I could gain access to porn, but I didn't, because I didn't care. If kids don't want to see it, they won't watch. At least that's how it was with me.

Speaking of violence versus sex... well this comes down to our culture. For reasons I can't explain tearing dudes heads off is acceptable to most, but nudity is not. Why it is like this is a whole another discussion. But to answer the question, if I had kids I would let them play M rated games. You just have to pay attention to your kids and what they are playing, and what content is appropriate for their individual situation. Some mature games are appropriate for them, some not. It depends on each kid. At the same time, I sort of believe that kids won't play stuff that they view as disturbing. If a 10 year old doesn't like gore he won't touch Gears of War. But then again, I have no idea what's it like for an adult to deal with kids, so I like to hear opinions of actual parrents.

#25 Posted by Darkstorn (463 posts) -

I don't think it really matters what games children play as long as the parents make sure that they get enough exercise and don't spend all of their time gaming.

Kids that aren't well-rounded are the ones that act up, in my opinion. If they're healthy there shouldn't be many problems.

#26 Posted by Patman99 (1558 posts) -

As others have said, it is really dependent on the individual. One clear requirement is that the kid does not bounce up and down laughing like a maniac when he is playing a mature game. The child should be able to clearly tell the difference between reality and a video game or movie. Also, I think most children should be able (psychologically) to self-govern for certain things.

For example, when I was 10 years old, I played Halo: Combat Evolved and felt totally fine with it. However, one day when I rented GTA III (which came out the same year), I played about 30 minutes of it before I popped the disk out of my PS2 and asked my mom to return it. I recognized that I just did not have the interest or the capacity to be able to carry the sort of violence that occurs in GTA III. Specifically, the part where you first kill a guy with a baseball bat and if you want you can continue to beat his dead body with the bat as the blood continues to pool at your feet was clearly too much for my 10 year old brain to handle.

#27 Posted by Zidd (1838 posts) -

The current system works. If the parent's don't give a shit then its their problem. I never got carded for M rated games until I turned 17 but then again it wasn't as big of a deal then as it is now. The parental controls exist on all major consoles so even if one of their child's friends brings over an M rated game or they get one at a store that didn't card them it won't play without a passcode. Parents who are concerned will read the manual to set up all of that stuff. XBL child accounts can't buy M rated content from the marketplace anyway so it will be enforced there regardless of what parental controls exist on the console level.

#28 Posted by Cubical (637 posts) -

I dont give a fuck about kids. They are not my kids I am not responsible I never want to have fucking kids worst thing that could ever happen to me.

#29 Edited by pyromagnestir (4249 posts) -

Well, my younger brother and I played a decent amount of M games when we were young, and we're not murderous, rapist, thieving, evil bastards. Didn't even get in all that much trouble as youngins. I can say the same for a bunch of my friends at the time. Well, I guess I can only really be sure about myself in this regard, and I know I'm not any of those things.

I don't have kids, but I do have a niece and nephew who I play games with on occasion. My nephew is 7 now, and also of the two is more interested in games, and I have on occasion let him play Mass Effect with me and shoot some aliens or dudes, or watch as I do so, or let him drive around in GTA 4 but I wouldn't let him watch me use guns in that game, he just knows it as that motorcycle game, because that's what he likes to ride around on, (I also turn the volume down. I'm more worried about him learning swears and that coming back to me, if he were my kid I'd teach him the swears (and he already knows most of 'em anyway) but his parents don't want calls from the teacher or principal). But generally I steer them to something a bit more appropriate. (Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts, Little Big Planet, Rabbids Go Home, stuff like that) I'm not really afraid of screwing them up, or anything. I just don't want their parents yelling at me.

Online
#30 Posted by Vestigial_Man (311 posts) -

Speaking as a "child/young person" (16 next week) my parents have never allowed me to buy games with an 18 rating (fine with anything below that) more for their general dislike of violence and swearing than any real attempt to keep me "protected" or "innocent" because honestly they know that that's impossible. Not allowing a child to buy an M-rated game or film doesn't stop them from seeing those things through friends with less protective parents.

Nowadays (less technologically knowledgeable) parents also have the risk of children getting 18 rated games through downloadable market places. For example, a child can go and buy Microsoft points or a PSN gift card and buy something like Saints Row, GTA etc. without having to go through a store or a parent. I'm really interested to see if Sony and Microsoft will have to change their policies around this when the all digital future eventually rolls around.

As a sort of P.S. I'd also like people to stop tarring every child online with the same brush, a lot of kids play games online without being racist/homophobic/immature/whiny in the way YouTube clips and popular culture seem to present. It really annoys me that people represent children and teenagers that play games this way because it is purely a stereotype and one that's aimed at people who really have no way of telling people different.

#31 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

I played Conkers bad fur day as a kid... I beat it too... So yeah a kid can handle quite a bit of M-rated goodness, just don't let them online!

#32 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3795 posts) -

I wouldn't let kids that age play them. If I had kids that age. Not because I think they're gonna turn into violent turd muncher but I don't see the need to expose younger kids to that sorta thing.

#33 Posted by Sargus (723 posts) -

For the most part, I'm against underage kids playing M-rated games. I think there can be case-by-case exceptions made (for example, I think a mature 13-year-old might be OK to play Halo, with its sci-fi nature and fairly restrained use of gore and language, but not GTAIV), and those exceptions should be made by parents ... but unfortunately, most parents these days seem like idiots.

#34 Posted by mosespippy (4043 posts) -

The only time M ratings came up for me as a kid was when I tried to buy GTA3. When the clerk asked dad if it was OK dad asked me if it was worse than Vice City, a game he was already OK with me playing. I was probably 14 at the time.

From my point of view, as long as the person consuming the content is able to comprehend why the protagonist is shooting 100 people in the face or whatever the M content is then they are mature enough for the game. I don't think most 8 year olds understand the plot to Killzone but if an they are then they can understand the meaning behind the violence.

#35 Posted by SmilingPig (1337 posts) -

My stepson is 11 years old, I let him play teen games but not mature games.

#36 Posted by JackSukeru (5904 posts) -

I like both of those things!

Wait..what?

#37 Posted by verticalstripes (33 posts) -

My parents used to get me mature games when I was little and I've turned out fine.  It's not a big deal at all.

#38 Posted by Chop (1994 posts) -

I played plenty of mature rated games at a young age and I didn't turn into a raging psychopath with a warped view on violence or sex. I suppose it depends on the child, really.

The only real thing I'm against is the little bastards playing online without supervision. Their parents need to be there to make sure they aren't raising some raging racist, shit head.

#39 Edited by XenoNick (1390 posts) -

If the parents know what is contained in the game and they are fine with it then you can't do much about it.

I work in Tesco (UK Supermarket) and have caused two kids under the age of 18 to run out of the store crying because their parents wouldn't purchase an 18 rated game.

The first time was the weekend Gears of War 2 came out. The minute I mentioned chainsawing people in half the kids mum went "Nope. You're not having that". Followed by small tantrum.

The second time was about two / three months ago. the kid (who looked about 10-11) was pestering his mum to let him have a PS3 game (couldn't see what it was at the time). Scanned their shopping through as normal until I picked the game up, which turned out to be GTA IV. Looked at the dad and asked if he was OK with his son playing the game to which he responded "I guess...How bad is it?" Started listing off some of the things you could do and he did not look pleased. He looked to the mum and asked what she thought to which she replied no. Kid started crying and ran away. (It was about 9PM so the store was pretty quiet......could here him crying from the other end of the store.)

#40 Posted by awesomeusername (4154 posts) -

I wouldn't allow my child to play any game that has you killing people until at least 15-16 and I know they can understand what's going on and they cannot try such things in real life. I wouldn't even want to expose them to games honestly, it's a fun hobby but it costs money and I don't want my child to grow up a couch potato playing games all his life. I'm not saying all gamers are like that but I wouldn't want my child to be in that small percentage that is like that. When I was younger, I enjoyed games but I wasn't as into them as I am now. My mom really didn't care if the game we played was super violent and I barely played games like that. My brother was the one who was super into GTA and Hitman. I really didn't like the violence so I watched my brother(Who is a year younger then me) play some games like Vice City and Hitman. I was more into kid games like Banjo & Kazooie and Pokemon but I've grown out of those kind of games and I don't feel bothered by violent games now.

Though not a lot of kids grow up psychopaths, I think my brother kind of did. He has no problems saying he'll kill a child because they're annoying.

#41 Posted by M_Shini (550 posts) -

Said this before in a previous thread somewhere, but a kid or teen is much more likely to be influenced to go and have sex than they are to actually go out and commit violence or even murder from a form of media, granted it goes a bit deeper than that explanation but that's the gist of it, the same is mostly(not all the time) the same for films ect for parents as well in my experience.

#42 Edited by mandude (2669 posts) -

@M_Shini: Everyone has sex though. I think the problem is in regarding teenage sex as something that is inherently wrong. Even so, I don't think anyone engages in promiscuous sexual activity until they reach the age where their body tells them to do it anyway, (unless the situation is dire,) and at that age, they're usually old enough to take media for what it actually is.

Either way, most of the kids I knew who became sex fiends were far too busy having sex to be playing video games.

#43 Posted by StarvingGamer (8025 posts) -

It depends on the kid and it's up to the parents to gauge that. I'm in a unique position of being both an avid gamer and parent so I can properly vet everything my kid might be interested in and decide if I think it's too M or just M enough. Unfortunately many parents are clueless and don't care to educate themselves, using their child's Xbox or PS3 as a babysitting crutch more than anything.

#44 Posted by Landon (4130 posts) -

I think it really depends on the game. I wouldn't have a problem with a 14-year-old playing something like Halo. There isn't a high volume of curse words and the violence isn't really that much worse from a PG-13 rated movie.

#45 Posted by newhaap (417 posts) -

I agree with most people saying it depends on the person/child, and the parents too of course to know enough whether or not their child can handle mature content.

I don't think sex & violence is the extent of it though, I think many things in game can affect how a child develops. I am a big RPG and adventure game fan, and I do notice that in those types of games for example a character might express something to you and you are given a limited set of responses. I think if a child is exposed to a liberal amount of this sort of experience, again depending on the child themselves, it could affect how they develop socially since when you go out in real life there are no options for you to choose from, you have to be proactive instead of reactive like you would in most games.

#46 Posted by 71Ranchero (2679 posts) -

I remember when my parents raised me to be a good well rounded person so it didn't matter if my video games were violent. Of course things have changed and parents aren't doing a good job of discipline and teaching what is right or wrong. Just looking at all the sexism and racism debates on these forums is proof of that.

I think age rating games is a bit silly at this point and I am going to propose "Parenting Ratings" as a much better replacement.

#47 Posted by supermonkey122 (813 posts) -

I've been playing M rated games since I was around 8 and everything else below that since I was about 3 (when I started gaming) and I have turned out fine. What I think is that there should be a card or something signed by the parent that says which game the child is or is not allowed to get/play, and it would be the same thing for movies except with G, PG, PG-13 and R, instead of E, E10, T, and M.

#48 Edited by Rohok (553 posts) -

My first M rated game was Operation Flashpoint for the PC. I was in 5th grade and my mom had given away our dog and wanted to buy me something to make me feel better (I actually think I used it as leverage to get something I'd been wanting). I know I had been seeing R rated films long before that, too. I remember seeing U-571 in the theater when I was really young. I don't really care as long as the kid is genuinely ready to see that stuff. You usually know when. Because I was already playing Army and playing with those 12 inch GI-Joes I was already well acquainted with military type stuff, and those kinds of movies and games were okay for me and my parents, because they weren't just non-sensical violence and Duke Nukem shenanigans. Would I buy Duke Nukem Forever for a kid in 5th grade? Probably not.

#49 Edited by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1803 posts) -

I am of the opinion that there are plenty of all-ages experiences that parents can share with their kids. M-rated games aren't really necessary. That being said, I grew up playing UMK3 with my dad. Turning violence options off goes a long way to making it seem safer.

#50 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

@believer258 said:

The thing about kids seeing boobs seems misunderstood. It sounds weird that you don't mind your kid killing virtual people, but freak out when they see boobs, but then think about it this way: If a kid sees a whole bunch of boobs and sex all over the place, then that's going to encourage him even more to go out and do that as soon as possible. It also reinforces the notion that sex before you're ready carries no consequences whatsoever. Couple this with the fact that teenagers are already horny all of the time anyway, and you have yourself a nice little recipe for becoming a grandparent at an age you were never expecting to be. Compare this to killing virtual people - unlike sex, we don't generally have a natural drive to commit mass murder, and it's a lot easier for a kid to separate the consequences of virtual murder from real murder than it is to separate the consequences of fictional sex from actually doing it yourself.

EDIT: But yes, different kids have different levels of maturity at the same ages and all that jazz. I'm certain some ten year olds do exist whom I would let play M rated games. However, most kid's parents these days believe that their child is something akin to a pure mature genius in every respect, so I don't think they could really be a good judge of whether that kid is mature enough or not. They're too biased towards "yes".

this ^^^

its way easier to fuck up your life most people generally do not kill someone even if they have problems with anger management

sex on the other hand well lol theirs a reason there is a stereotype for teenagers being horny