I really don't think I am, but must be the only one

(37 Posts)
Tournament Fri 10-May-13 18:08:57

It's about computer games and the like.

I have a 9 yo and an 11yo. They both love their games and I admit I don't. I am stricter than most parents about restricting the time they're allowed on them. I also admit, I don't understand the games much, DH is far more interested and they play together a lot.

Anyway, after some debate, I have reluctantly agreed that they can play some 15 rated games, when with DH and provided he has already reviewed the content. I don't like it, but I trust my DH as a parent.

However, when they go to friends houses, they seem to play games with any certificate. AIBU to think 9 & 11 yos shouldn't be playing 18 certificate games and even if you allow it for your own DCs, you shouldn't be allowing other people's children to play them in your house?

It must just be me, because these are parents who are entirely sensible and responsible in every other way. e.g I let mine "play out" long before many of these parents did, somewhat fanatical about healthy eating, extra homework set in the run up to SATs etc

thebody Fri 10-May-13 18:16:58

Yes agree but it's a loosing battle. You either let them go to other people's houses and take a chance on their parenting or you don't let them socialise.

That's life.

thebody Fri 10-May-13 18:17:05

Yes agree but it's a loosing battle. You either let them go to other people's houses and take a chance on their parenting or you don't let them socialise.

That's life.

pinkpaws Fri 10-May-13 18:22:23

Hi i agree i have been the lone voice for years regarding my son and the xbox. Since primary school his friends have had a game called black ops which is an 18 game. I have said no year on year every birthday every xmas. Even now in year 9 of secondary school i still hold out he is the only boy without it . I find that i feel bad in some ways about this but really is it ok at 13 to let them have 18 games.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Fri 10-May-13 18:26:02

I don't think YABU at all.

My ds's friend's mum rang me to check if I minded. I was grateful that she did although I felt a bit of a party pooper for saying I wasn't ok with ds playing it. I don't want ds (11) to be on games that are much too old for him.

I wonder if some parents don't realise that these games can be pretty strong stuff. Ds's friend's mum seemed to assume it was a nothing to be concerned about shooting game. I can't remember what one it was, but dh said it was very violent.

Saski Fri 10-May-13 18:31:52

This is an area in which I've capitulated against my better judgement. My husband lets my kids watch/play some shocking content and I've noticed that most of the kids in my 10 year old's class who have older siblings have similarly shocking media habits.

I'm under the impression that there's a pretty big gulf between 15 and 18 games. I might be wrong.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Fri 10-May-13 18:37:33

I think there can be a big gulf between 15 and 18.

I know it's a lot to expect but maybe you can get dc to self regulate? Or mention it to the parent's of whoever they're visiting. I know it's really hard. I dont hold out much hope that we'll not be in the same situation soon. We've only just avoided it so farsad

StuntGirl Fri 10-May-13 20:07:47

Games use PEGI ratings now instead of BBFC ratings, so the jump will be 16 to 18 rather than 15 to 18 (although it's largely academic). Here are the descriptors for what each covers:

PEGI 12
Videogames that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, as well as videogames that show nudity of a slightly more graphic nature would fall in this age category. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.

PEGI 16
This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life. More extreme bad language, the concept of the use of tobacco and drugs and the depiction of criminal activities can be content of games that are rated 16.

PEGI 18
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence. Gross violence is the most difficult to define since it can be very subjective in many cases, but in general terms it can be classed as the depictions of violence that would make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.

I included 12 so you can see the jump from 12 to 16 too. Personally I wouldn't even allow 15/16 at the ages of 9 and 11, but I'm aware I'm in a minority. In my opinion realistic violence, sexual activity extreme bad language, drugs and criminal activity are not things I want to expose my children to in the name of entertainment.

However, the ratings are merely a guide for the mental and emotional development of a child, and so if yours is mature enough to understand the themes and elements in a game then fair enough. But it's surprising just how many special little snowflakes are apparently mature beyond their years when it comes to video games.

I find it irrational that parents see "games" in a different way than other media. I've had this discussion/argument several times;

Me: "would you let you DC watch a gory film"
Them: "not a chance"
Me: "But C.O.D./Black Ops insert name of game is just as, if not more, gory"
Them "but it's only a game"

AARGH

StuntGirl Fri 10-May-13 20:37:26

Yeah there's a huge divide between how games are perceived and their actual content. But then again, I've come to accept I am just a fragile little flower as I am genuinely disturbed by some things in video games (which is their purpose!)

Long trails of blood where a body was dragged across the floor and scratch marks left by fingernails desperately gripping the door as you were dragged out...mutilated bodies hanging upside down where they were left to die...the cut away shot where you don't see the bereaved and insane mother beheading her son's murderer, just the shadows on the wall of her doing it and the blood splatter splashing across the screen...the burned and charred head of someone murdered in a house fire rolling across the floor... these things are deliberately put in some games to gross you out/disturb you/scare you, it's their purpose! Same as I would be 'scared' by a horror film, or a book, or a tv programme. Different media, same effect.

charlieandlola Fri 10-May-13 20:43:00

Yanbu. They have age ratings for a reason . If my ds was playing COD at a play date, he wouldn't be going back there. My ds is nearly 11 and Halo/COD are entirely inappropriate .

LaGuardia Fri 10-May-13 21:07:54

My 12 yr old plays Black Ops and I have watched whole sessions and consider the content to be ok for him and his friends. It is basically cartoon characters getting shot. They learn strategy at the very least and all of the boys are playing it, whether you want them to or not.

TidyDancer Fri 10-May-13 21:25:46

You can't control what happens in other houses, but you can control what happens in your own, and use it to set an example.

I'm afraid I do judge parents who allow their DCs access to violent games and films.

Sianilaa Fri 10-May-13 22:49:09

YANBU. My two are only small but it's one area I will not budge on - I don't care if they end up being the only boys without 18 rated games. If they were allowed to play those kind of games at 11 at a friend's house, they'd never be allowed back there.

Quenelle Fri 10-May-13 23:17:29

I work for a games publisher and have recently taken over responsibility for age rating applications and don't know how I'm going to do the 18 titles tbh. I can't bear watching violence of any kind and certainly couldn't stand to describe it in graphic detail as required with some of the worldwide ratings agencies. Fortunately we don't do them often, and in fact only a very small percentage of games published in the UK are rated 18.

As parents we have to familiarize ourselves with the games our children play. Would you let your 11 year old watch 'video nasties' without a thought? Or do you think because they're called 'games' they won't contain sometimes very adult content?

When I read on here how casual parents are about the games they let their children play I realise that the pegi system has a hell of a lot of work to do in terms of educating parents about games.

Tournament Sat 11-May-13 06:36:23

Charlie & Sianilaa, I agree in principle and that is my gut reaction, but if I was to employ that policy, my boys would never go anywhere. I know all the children in their classes and they have both done a good job of picking "nice" friends from "good" families, but they have never been to any house and not played these games at least once or twice.

It's getting to the stage that because my boys don't have them, no-one wants to come here sad

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 11-May-13 06:52:01

Tournament - you are not the only person who doesn't let their children play these games. It may feel like that at times.

I put my kids development needs ahead of 'socialising' with families who cba to set appropriate boundaries tbh, so at 11 I would simply not let my child round to a house where 18 games were played.

We made the choices we thought right and stuck to them. If other parents think violent games are just great for young children, that is their lookout, but I don't have to pretend to agree. I don't understand why so many parents just cave on this issue in particular.

If these children don't want to come round because they can't play computer games, they sound pretty dull friends. Maybe time to widen the social options a bit?

joshandjamie Sat 11-May-13 06:55:33

You are definitely not being unreasonable. My son is 9 and his mates all play COD. They talk about it at school and my son feels really left out. He has sobbed about this begging me to let him have it. I have explained till I'm blue in the face about this and why I won't be changing my mind.

I have even had to write an email to my friends (the parents of his friends) requesting that they please ensure they don't play on these games while my son is there and to ask their kids to not go on about them in front of my son. Luckily they are good friends who I can ask this of, I couldn't with mums I don't know. But even doing that was awkward because it felt like I was judging them by asking them not to let him play on games which they are obviously fine with.

frankly I do judge them for it because I think it is insane that they let them play on 18 games.

HollyBerryBush Sat 11-May-13 06:57:47

It's difficult to police because, if you have an older child, who does play these games, to keep the younger one away, especially if they are in and out of each others bedrooms.

You may impose restrictions, but there is a certain amount of "can I have a go?", "Go on then, don't tell mum I let you". Then of course when they bring their friends round, they sneak a go too.

With DS3 he has a horrible little friend, who has older siblings. I stamped on that friendship when I found out the other child was showing him online porn, he'd been using an older brothers laptop. I put that down to natural curiosity hmm.

So, if your children are close in age, you can police it better, but if you have a wider spread of children, it is difficult.

Tournament Sat 11-May-13 06:58:20

I'm sure I'm not Swish, but among my DS1's friendship group of around 8-9 boys at school and another 6 or so from out of school activities I am. Surely socialising is a development need?

Tournament Sat 11-May-13 07:00:28

LOL Holly. I am shock at the idea of any kind of game, TV or internet, in their bedroom grin but you're right, if it's on in the living room, how can you keep younger ones away? Not really a factor in my case, as both of mine are too young IMO.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 11-May-13 07:05:38

Socialising is important, but if the people your children are currently doing something you consider damaging, then you have to find others to socialise with.

Values come first, teaching children to follow the pack is a really bad lesson, sometimes we have to think for ourselves.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 11-May-13 07:06:45

Currently socialising with, sorry!

Tournament Sat 11-May-13 07:15:26

Yes, I absolutely hear you, but where am I/they supposed to find those "others"? I know all the families at the school and many more locally (we are not in a "nice" area) and honestly, these are the nice families. There are many more I wouldn't let my DC anywhere near because of what they would see/hear in RL, let alone on a screen.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 11-May-13 07:27:32

What do you do as a family at weekends? Could you socialise more at family activities to meet other families rather than just play dates with school friends?

Or invite the families you know already to places other than your house? Places without electricity for example wink

Off the top of my head, we met people through wildlife events, music stuff, guiding/scouting, sports, local museum clubs, art activities. Could you find any of these?

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