that games are an 18 certificate for a reason?

(207 Posts)
theluckiest Fri 28-Dec-12 01:01:02

Friend on FB has posted a pic of his nephews glued to their xbox. Headsets on, big gamer chairs, not moving for hours. This is actually not the issue but I admit to cracking out the large (super stretchy thanks to Xmas) judgy pants when I saw the conversation under the pic. Kids are 6 and 8. They were playing Call of Duty, Black Ops which is an 18 certificate game. Quite a few replies from other people with witty comments about 'starting them early' and that they will be beating their dad soon enough.

I admit I huffed and tutted. Asked dh what he thinks as he is an occasional gamer and he was horrified as he plays this and it is very graphic. Do people not realise that games have certificates? Or not give a shit as it keeps the kids quiet?

And yes I am prob BU and my judgy pants are straining with the effort but I am a teacher so get judgy about stuff! Last year one of the kids in my class used to include some horrific stuff in his writing about heads exploding, people on fire, shootings. He spent hours playing COD, Grand Theft Auto, etc. with older brothers (he was 7).

Maybe I have finally become an old fuddy duddy stuffed shirt.....I remember watching 18 cert horror movies but am sure I was a young teen then (not 6!!) and games seem far more insidious as you become involved iyswim?

Cortana Fri 28-Dec-12 14:00:13

YANBU at all.

We're a gaming family and COD is not allowed in this house, same as GTA and Hitman Etc.

DS is 8 ( I'm 28 and DP is 29 grin )

On the other hand I do allow Halo as when playing multiplayer (DP, DS and I with a few friends) it's more like laser tag. You shoot, you hit, the person you hit respawns. No blood or screaming.

DS is currently playing Skyrim. It's a 15 too. DP had a good play through before we let DS play and will keep a few hours ahead of him on the storyline. I'm surprised it was rated 15, the only was "graphic violence" but other than slaying a few dragons with magic shouts I've seen nothing to concern me yet when DP played. This type of game I do make DS play next to me and he's not allowed it alone.

Unless there's something in the story that DP hasn't come across yet, we'll continue to allow DS to play.

Not enough people understand how PEGI works but I something think they can be hit and miss with ratings. I would say this was more of a PG, but then I am not all parents.

I only started gaming to test games before letting my son play, some PG's feel over-certified, I mean the Sega Mega Drive classics game was a PG! I felt I had to play through to check and there was nothing I wouldn't be happy to let a very young child play. It's sonic! But it would have been easy to think it was down to difficultly not content and run with it.

If any parents want to have a go on Xbox and play a few games, set up a live account and PM me, I am happy to add on Xbox Live and we can play some games to see what they're like or chat through security settings for children (which can be much tighter than some children let on!)

theluckiest Fri 28-Dec-12 14:00:26

Oh yay! I have returned to find my thread is one of today's discussions! And I honestly didn't realise I was cracking open a MN hot topic like Parking/MILs/etc...

Some very good points. I agree with many of the replies here...I honestly think having spoken to some parents of kids I teach that they genuinely do not know what the content of these games is. And therein lies a huge problem as an informed decision can't be made. There seems to be an attitude from some that xboxes & consoles are for the kids. (Disclaimer....this is not my thinking! As I said DH is a gamer and has been playing since he had a Sega Megadrive many moons ago...)

We have COD (feel a right hypocrite now blush) and 2 small DSs. However DH knows which games are suitable and which are categorically not. He guffawed with the idea that the rating relates to difficulty...he struggled with Lego Batman as I recall! We would not allow DSs anywhere near an 18 cert for a very, very long time but I suppose that's because we know what it is and that the content is unsuitable.

Easilybored, that's shocking. Is your DHs relative my SIL?!! I was very judgy when she bought her DS a playstation for his room when he was 2. He's now 17 and rarely leaves his bedroom except to forage in the fridge or to disappear to his mate's bedrooms to play the same games he was playing at home. Judge, judge...mutter....mutter. Still. No doubt my boys will do exactly the same in a few years...

ComposHat Fri 28-Dec-12 14:01:54

I wonder if all the idiots people who think that games are rated on their difficulty to complete rather than content also think that films are rated on the complexity of the plot?

If so then surely all pornos should be a U certificate as the plots are normally paper thin. (or so I've heard)

"I honestly think having spoken to some parents of kids I teach that they genuinely do not know what the content of these games is. And therein lies a huge problem as an informed decision can't be made" .... well surely if you can't know what the content is or can't make an informed decision, then you defer to the age on the box? Just can't see how anyone can say "haven't seen it, don't know what content is, can't make informed decision so will let my 6 / 8 year old play an 18+ game? " Maybe I'm boring and old fashioned, but kids have parents for a reason.....

niceguy2 Fri 28-Dec-12 14:29:38

Ultimately I think it's up to each parent. I have banned my 5yr old from playing these sorts of games but not Team Fortress 2 because the latter is more cartoony than out & out violent. However I do let my 11yr old play COD/black ops etc.

In my opinion playing these games in moderation will not hurt my son as he has a good sense of right/wrong. Good parenting is fundamental to any child's upbringing and I think it's a long stretch to pin the blame on computer games for violence. What I mean is if I leave him to play the game on his own for 10 hours a day, never bother with him and teach him right from wrong then that's far more damaging than shooting a few people in a virtual world.

So far my 11 year old hasn't tried to garrote me with the controller cable when I tell him to switch it off, nor does he try to stab me with the bread knife when I tell him it's time for bed.

sweetpea31 Fri 28-Dec-12 14:33:16

I was horrified to learn that children at my school know what 'tea bagging' is as a result of them playing COD. If you feel it is acceptable for 9/10 year olds to know such sexual references then you allow them to play +18 games. If you would be horrified that your children could be exposed to this then you will understand the reasoning for age related guidelines and are sensible to ensure your child does not play these kind of games.

valiumredhead Fri 28-Dec-12 14:35:37

YANBU. My ds 11 has never been allowed to play 18 games but knows what tea bagging is thanks to all the little darlings at school who are allowed to!

niceguy.... agree wtih you, up to a point. If parents know the content of games, and then feel ok for their kids to play, that's one thing... parents not knowing games, and content being beyond the understanding of a younger child, or highly inappropriate for a young child, is a different matter and irresponsible in my mind. Had a conversation with a friend who thought a game was ok for her 12 year old "because he was mature beyond his years".. but she had no idea it contained violence bordering on rape ... I'm no prude, but would draw a line at that

ComposHat Fri 28-Dec-12 14:36:32

I thought Call of Duty was a shooting/war type game. Is there scrotal sucking as well? This seems like one crazy universe they've created!

sweetpea31 Fri 28-Dec-12 14:39:03

when you kill someone you can apparently 'teabag' your victim in a victory kind of dance! It is the craze in this area!

valiumredhead Fri 28-Dec-12 14:42:32

Shooting is the least of my dislike for COD!

Cortana Fri 28-Dec-12 14:43:09

Haha Compos no, you can make the character crouch. When you kill someone you walk over to them a bob up and down into a crouch which looks like teabagging.

Once when playing (without my son!) on Halo some bawbag with an attitude towards female gamers taunted me on chat saying he was going to gank me then teabag me. I got him first and yelled "CLAM-PRINTING". The miserable sod rage-quit.

Pantomimedam Fri 28-Dec-12 14:45:44

The certificates are there for a reason. It's extremely sad if some parents are not paying attention and don't realise an 18-rated game is not suitable for an 11yoo. It's up to parents to consider that rating and decide whether they want their 11yo playing an 18 rated game, of course. But their decision affects other children as well as their own, as their 11yo will talk about the 18-rated game at school and may well play pretend games inspired by it in the playground.

Startail Fri 28-Dec-12 14:52:09

YANBU

I don't give a monkeys about normal sex, nudity or the odd fuck.
Any DC over 9 or 10, who knows the facts of life, can cooe with that.

But, The level of violence and gore in 15 and 18 games and films is not appropriate.

Startail Fri 28-Dec-12 14:53:02

cope,

valiumredhead Fri 28-Dec-12 14:53:16

I agree star

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 15:08:14

There are some games rated with in my dc's ages that I won't let them have and there are some rated above there ages that they are allowed.

I judge the games based on my impression of them and on my brothers thoughts on them in combination with the ratings ( he's a gamer I'm not.) some I may feel are rated under or over how I would rate them.

BunFagFreddie Fri 28-Dec-12 15:34:03

I I always loe the argument that people see teenagers play it and 'they haven't turned into axe wielding maniacs'... You really are completely missing the point.

I was actually talking about teenagers who play these games. I pointed out that I then went on to say that teenagers playing such games is very different to children of 6 and 8 playing them. However, if people can actually be bothered to read other people's posts they would know this.

Actually, a lot of yound children do see people playing these games, and it's often their parents.

PlaySchool Fri 28-Dec-12 15:44:17

I was slightly mortified that my Yr2 DS read out in assembly that Black Ops was his favourite Xbox game. [Fblush] His teacher knew what he was going to say. His teacher is young and must have known what the game was. I think teacher must have been having a little laugh. DS has 5 older brothers and started watching them play it and then moved on to playing it himself. He knows the difference between the game and reality. Funnily enough, his teacher says he has great imaginative writing.

BunFagFreddie Fri 28-Dec-12 16:02:28

PlaySchool, older brothers have a lot to answer for when it comes to kids coming into contact with nasty video games!

BalthierBunansa Fri 28-Dec-12 16:08:05

I don't know PlaySchool I don't any 6/7 year old COMPLETELY understands the difference between reality and a game. As in, perceptions about a game might seep into perceptions about reality.

BertieBotts Fri 28-Dec-12 16:15:36

I think PEGI ratings are very good and comprehensive. We had some training to read at work about it because the law changed in July - it's now illegal to sell a game to someone if it has a 12 or higher rating, and you don't think they are that age.

The system seems great to me. You have the overall age rating as a quick guide and then there are symbols on the back which tell you why the game got the rating. Off the top of my head there is language, violence, sexual content, drug use, scary themes/scenes and a symbol to denote that the game can be played online which means that users might come across uncensored content.

The symbols are of course related to the age, too, a game rated 7 might have a "language" marker if aggressive language is used whereas this wouldn't merit a "language" marker in a 15 or 18 game.

The info we read for training in work was about 2 pages long and didn't take long to read and I could now make a rough guess about the suitability of a game for a child.

JenaiMathis Fri 28-Dec-12 16:21:06

My own ds has always made a VERY clear distinction between fantasy and reality, to the point that I actually worried that he lacked imagination and empathy (a few years on, I realise that I had nothing really to worry about).

But Black Ops? Good grief!

Now he's 12, his mates with younger siblings like coming round here because they're allowed to play 12s and the odd 16. Something they are quite rightly not allowed to do at home in front of their younger siblings - it's one of the perks of being an only I suppose.

Festivedidi Fri 28-Dec-12 16:31:54

My friends let their dss play cod and gta, etc. Both boys are 8yo. The majority of the boys in their class are playing on there together. Then my friends get very judgy about the time the other boys are allowed to be playing. I don't understand why they think it's acceptable to play a very violent game at 6pm but not at 9pm.

They really don't understand why I am horrified by the thought of them playing that type of game. The worst is when friend 1 says she has to leave the room because she doesn't like it but her 8yo son is the one playing it. If it's too violent for a grown woman then it's too violent for an 8yo.

Most of the boys in my y7 class at school were talking about various 18 rated games they were going to get for Christmas and thought I was really odd when I told them I didn't think those games were suitable for them, even though their parents would have a fit if they had seen an 18rated film.

soverylucky Fri 28-Dec-12 16:48:30

I get so depressed reading threads like this one. It never ceases to amaze me the vast differences in what people think is acceptable and what isn't. FWIW I think the thought of a primary school child playing some of the games mentioned in this thread is so sad. People complain about kids growing up too quick - well us parents could put a stop to that if we could be arsed and if we could grow up and make the right decisions for our children instead of blaming other people. Too many will let their kids play these games "because all their friends do" or "their older brother/father plays them".
In some ways we need a campaign like the "let girls be girls" - a sort of let kids be kids - but really what is needed is for parents to act like parents and not their dc's best mate.

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