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PC Games (Games)

Parents 'ignore game age ratings' 571

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the letting-congress-raise-your-children-is-easier dept.
Jim Hall writes "With all the fervor recently over the 'Hot Coffee' mod and the upcoming 'Bully' game, I found it interesting that no press time seems to have been given to this little gem from the BBC: Parents 'ignore game age ratings'. I think most of us agree that the games are already rated appropriate to their audience - GTA:SA was previously rated "M" (17 and up) in the US, before public outcry forced the ESRB to move it to "AO" (18 and up). However, as this article points out, parents are more concerned about children spending too many hours playing games, rather than about what type of title they were playing."
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Parents 'ignore game age ratings'

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:37PM (#13306511) Homepage
    Mr Freund suggested that the problem was that parents felt disconnected from the world of video games and so showed little interest in this aspect of their children's lives.

    "Parents are too divorced from what teenagers play," he said.


    Most parents are too divorced from nearly all aspects of their children's lives because they are too wrapped up in their own and the lives of those they live vicariously through via the television.

    As long as the television isn't telling them that the video games are bad and the politicians aren't doing "their job" and telling parents that the video games are bad then they must be just fine.

    Remember, everyone wants the politicians living inside the little electrical box to tell them what to do. Anything else is too much added stress - unless they can place the blame on someone else.
    • by TheFlamingoKing (603674) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:50PM (#13306650)
      I watched a kid no older than 10 walk out of a GameStop just yesterday with a copy of GTA:Vice City. His mom had no say in anything, just paid for the game and left, happy to have her child shut the hell up for 5 minutes.

      Also, there are a select group of parents that spoil their child and just cannot say no.
      • by Pxtl (151020) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:54PM (#13307318) Homepage
        Hmmph. I've seen worse. I've seen the store owner stop the kid, talk to his mom, explain to his mom how the game includes picking up prostitutes and shooting cops and is really aimed at college students.... and she still bought it for him.

        I still thing that the rating system needs to be re-evaluated. First of all, they need a distinction between violence and illegal activity. Fighting to defend the Earth is different from murdering innocent bystanders. There are some games that are designed specifically for a perverse pleasure in being a monstrous villain. In AvsP, it's one thing to kill the marines who are shooting at you, it's another thing to kill the scientists who're begging for mercy - but to the ESRB it's the same.

        Secondly, they need to distingish game content from game data. There are various good technical reasons to include clandestine data within a game, such as for regionalization, physical needs (cloth modelling could one day have nude models under clothes), or laziness (Chex Quest was a kid's game based on the Doom engine that still had all the nasty doom graphics in unused parts of the Wad file). This needs to be clearly outlined, and possibly marked on the box, same as if a game can have adult content when played online as opposed to at home.
    • by Caiwyn (120510) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:53PM (#13306688)
      You are right, to a degree. Most parents simply do not care what their kids see and hear in a video game. But this is not only due to laziness -- it is due also to ignorance. Many adults over 30 still consider video games to be "kid's entertainment." The idea that adult-oriented or even pornographic material could exist in a video game format is simply unfathomable to them.

      And that is the reason why we still have politicians taking the stance that this stuff is bad for the children. In the collective mind of the older generation, video games are always for kids. Any rating system therefore exists inside that box -- In their minds, M isn't for adults, it's for mature children.

      Personally, I think that parents ought to be able to decide for themselves whether their children are able to handle higher-rated content. Being discerning is what parenting is all about. But I'm not naive enough to think that's what's happening here.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The idea that adult-oriented or even pornographic material could exist in a video game format is simply unfathomable to them.

        Um, no, the idea that such material could harm children is unfathomable to me.

        Why does the violence-in-media debate always start with a preordained conclusion and work backwards from it? Where is the supposed wave of game-fueled juvenile crime? If you look at the numbers, at least in the US, it ain't happening.

        Somebody's premises are wrong.
      • by maxpublic (450413) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:13PM (#13306889) Homepage
        And that is the reason why we still have politicians taking the stance that this stuff is bad for the children.

        Politicians take this line because it's a tried-and-true battle cry. Both "for the children" and "for the greater good" have worked for thousands of years; just ask Socrates.

        Max
      • by dlZ (798734) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:14PM (#13306898) Journal
        In the collective mind of the older generation, video games are always for kids. Any rating system therefore exists inside that box -- In their minds, M isn't for adults, it's for mature children.

        I agree completely with this. I worked at a video game retailer for some time while I decided what I wanted out of life after school, and actually had parents basically say "Oh, but Johnny is mature!" when he's really a 12 year old.

        Hopefully enough adults in the under 30 catagory don't fall into the believe that video games are just for children. I'm sure I'll still be gaming when I have children, and I'll sure as hell know what games contain that I purchase for them and for myself. (I'm 26, btw, and am planning to start a family in the next few years.)
      • by agraupe (769778) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:16PM (#13306922) Journal
        Well, to a degree, that's true. Mature children should be allowed to play M-rated games. You can't convince me that there's a great difference between a mature 16 year old and an immature 17 or 18 year old. The problem is that parents usually make a bad judgement that way, because they aren't involved in their kids lives. It was a long struggle for me (14 or 15 at the time, I can't recall) to convince my parents that I could "handle" GTA III. In the end, I got it, and they were able to trust that I could handle such entertainment. But, that's not to say that I think everyone at that age could handle it, just like I think it's foolish that you can get a learner's permit at 14 (although it made me quite happy). The root problem is lack of parental involvment.
      • I agree. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nathan s (719490) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:18PM (#13306940) Homepage
        Even I fell for this, to an extent, but not with video games.

        I'm 24, with no kids, but I'd always considered "comic books" to be kids' stuff. This year I finally opened my mind and checked out some of the classic graphic novels like V for Vendetta. No way is that stuff at a kid's level; I think most kids would completely miss at least 50% of what Moore was saying there, and the violence level was disturbingly high in that, as well as, say, something like The Watchmen or Hellblazer. Again, not something I'd imagine most parents would want their kids to be steeped in. GTA sounds like it's at about that level.

        With that said, I also think most parents are complete morons when it comes to deciding what their kids should/shouldn't be allowed to do, and also morons for blaming anyone but themselves if they aren't keeping track of their kids and have no idea what they're up to.
    • by brokenarmsgordon (903407) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:54PM (#13306695)
      It's more than simply being divorced from your child's life, which is almost impossible to do completely. It's one thing to be disconnected, and another entirely to ignore.

      The ratings exist for precisely the reason that parents have little interest in the games their children play. The rating labels exist so that a parent doesn't have to play the game or completely supervise to make a reasonable judgement about its appropriateness.

      You have to know next to nothing to use a rating to your advantage. If little Johnny has trouble with graphic violence, the parent looks on the box and sees "graphic violence" in the little white rectangle and says "maybe next year, son".

      Anything less is negligence, and in that case, the games aren't the issue.

    • Most parents are too divorced from nearly all aspects of their children's lives because they are too wrapped up in their own and the lives of those they live vicariously through via the television.

      I don't feel that the parent post is a Troll. Quite the opposite, I feel that this statement is very insightful about poor parents (which most parents today are). People don't spend time with their kids anymore. They don't get involved in their lives and find out what makes them tick.

      I blame the way that everyt
      • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anne Thwacks (531696)
        This is the BBC, and the UK is not America. Speaking as a UK parent (My kids are over 18), I have to say that I totally ignored the ratings system because

        1) When I was a kid I could get to watch X rated movies if I wanted.

        2) I don't believe _most_ kids are affected by sex or violence in films and games any more than they are by violence in cartoons. I have watched loads of kids grow up, not just my own: some are fragile and need protecting, but not many. Anyway, TV news is pretty horrific - blown up peopl

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:59PM (#13306753)
      Apparently, even when parents are paying attention to their children's gaming habits, they're paying attention to the wrong things.

      The research showed that parents were more concerned about children spending too many hours playing games, rather than about what type of title they were playing.

      Never mind the fact that some video games can be educational and good for you. Gentle Brain Exercises [gamespy.com] for the Nintendo DS comes to mind. Additionally some studies have shown video gaming can improve hand-eye coordination.

      The older generation needs to realize that first of all, video games are no longer just for kids. The kids that were playing them back in the 80's have now grown up and have children of their own, but many of them are still playing video games. This means that there just might be games out there tailored for this more mature audiance.

      And to a certain degree, sticking an 18-rating on a game made that title more desirable. "We called it Magic 18," said Mr Freund. "The 18+ label was seen as promoting the content, promising adult content rather then saying 'my parents will stop me playing this.'"

      As has been shown with just about anything you put an age limit on (drinking, smoking, pornography), younger children will find this content more desirable simply for the fact that they're not allowed to have it. This might make them curious as to what about it makes the content not for them. In other cases the children will want to use the product to feel rebelious or more mature. Regardless of whether this idea of thinking is stupid or not doesn't stop it from happening.

      You'd think that being young themselves at some point, the older generation would understand this phenomena and figure out a way to stop it, but obviously not. You could say that regulartory boards are designed for this, but they've failed miserably as far as I'm concerned. So rather than take direct action, people for the most part seem more interested in abdicating their parental responsiblity to government legislation.

      Of course the people who need to understand this most are the people who don't read slashdot. The tech savvy crowd here is generally well aware of modern video games and the content they can contain, both good and bad.

      Ironically, most people knew that games had age ratings, the study by the Swiss research firm Modulum showed.

      Doh! So they actually do know that games can contain really bad content.

      However, parents were still letting their children play 18-rated games.

      Double Doh!

      To quote the parent, "Most parents are too divorced from nearly all aspects of their children's lives." According to the article it would seem that more people than expected know about what their kids are playing, but just don't give a shit about it. So when society goes to hell because the children of today, just remember it's your fault for doing a shitty job of raising them and have no one else to blame but yourselves.

      • So when society goes to hell because the children of today, just remember it's your fault for doing a shitty job of raising them and have no one else to blame but yourselves.

        Hmmm.... Perhaps now is the time for me to invest in a diverse portfolio of handbasket companies. I have a feeling lots of people will be needing them soon...

  • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:39PM (#13306529)
    We start focusing on the issue described in this article ; as a society it is entirely hypocritical for us to decry game ratings when we do not enforce them ourselves.

    The rating isn't some kind of magic shield that prevents your child from playing the game, parents - YOU have to use your discretionnary power(i.e. MONEY) to influence your child's gaming habits (i.e NOT BUY THE "M" GAMES).
    • by Iriel (810009) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:50PM (#13306647) Homepage
      Parents don't want to be required to exert that kind of effort in raising their ill-begotten loin spawn though. Imagine if the minimum ages for tobaco and alchohol were just suggestions with no penalties: truth.com wouldn't stop parents from being fast-talked by their own children into buying something that's harmful for them.

      I think it's pathetic and quite sad, but just like like parental locks on television and internet, they aren't trying to "do" something about their problem. They want something done for them. On a relatively general level (i.e. not always the case but usually), those that propose bans/restrictions on games are personally offended, and those that support the former don't want to change things, they just want it removed completely so they don't have to worry about it at all.
      • Part of what you say is true, part of is a matter of enabling parents through technology. One thing is parental locks on television, or the "V-chip". Telling producers to self-rate thier own programs, and forcing TVs to allow you to block based on ratings enables good parenting and involved parenting. Without it, the only way to make sure your kids are watching TV you have approved is to remove the TV when you aren't home, or can't supervise. Clearly the TV shouldn't be a babysitter, but also clearly, a
    • Um- What do game ratings really matter. We want our kids to be informed, but if they watch/read the news they will be able to see a lot of violence and sex. And it is real violence and sex.
      What a joke- does anyone think that kids who have absentee parents are going to be okay as long as they play age appropriate games, and a well nurtured kid is going to be a thug if he plays GTA?
      The first thing our eyes see when we are born is a vagina. A vagina is a natural, beautiful, wonderful thing. So are breasts as
    • by dr_dank (472072) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:03PM (#13306795) Homepage Journal
      We start focusing on the issue described in this article ; as a society it is entirely hypocritical for us to decry game ratings when we do not enforce them ourselves.

      Too true. Remember the V chip? That was a huge fricken deal that parents could block out certain kinds of programming that they didn't want their kids to see. Its a mandated part of every TV manufactured for the last several years. Just about every TV show has ratings and shows them as often as after each commerical break.

      With all of this in place, people STILL complain about whats being shown on tv and the same lame "think of the children" argument.

      As reasonable as these advocates try to appear, the fact that they're not appeased after all of these ratings systems are instituted is proof positive that nothing short of eradicating objectionable material will please them.
      • > As reasonable as these advocates try to appear, the fact that they're not appeased after all of
        > these ratings systems are instituted is proof positive that nothing short of eradicating
        > objectionable material will please them.

        Why do you think that that will please them? They will just find something else to hate/complain about. At one time Rock and Roll was the end of civilisation. Before that it was women voting.

        jfs
    • by welloy (603138) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:19PM (#13306948)
      That would require some parents to say "No" to their children. Completely unacceptable.
  • We knew this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HUADPE (903765) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:39PM (#13306531) Homepage
    Any of us young enough to have asked our parents to buy games which had ratings (myself included) knew this. Trying to tell teenagers what they can and cannot see is stupid, and will not work. Anyway, "Most parents think their child is mature enough so that these games will not influence them." (the article.)
    • I don't think you should be worried about teenagers getting their hands on 'hot coffee' material. Most kids older than 12 has already seen/read/discussed material that's MUCH dirtier than the pixelated bumping and grinding that's in the mod.

      I think people should me more worried about those parents who buy games like GTA for their 8 to 10 year olds. Sure, they won't like the fact that they can't get the game, but what can they do? Most 8 year olds don't have $50-$60 lying around, and I think most cashiers wo
    • Re:We knew this (Score:3, Insightful)

      Trying to tell teenagers what they can and cannot see is stupid, and will not work.

      You know rather little about kids, do you?

      Trying to tell kids stuff won't work. Telling them does. If they do brake the rules, a suitable (non physical) punishment should be issued, like grounding them with no computer and/or TV access.

      Naturally, good behaviour should be rewarded as well.

      But assuming you can't control a teenager to a reasonable degree is simply weak. Of course teens will disobey you from time to time, but tha
      • Re:We knew this (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nasarius (593729)
        But assuming you can't control a teenager to a reasonable degree is simply weak.

        No. Assuming that you should "control" a teenager is disgusting. Unless you've fucked up badly as a parent, you should be able to talk to your kids about games, movies, drugs, sex, and whatever else so that they know what's garbage and what's not. Hiding things from teenagers is just stupid. Let them play GTA. If you've done your job, they should know that beating up hookers is a sick kind of fantasy.

    • Re:We knew this (Score:4, Insightful)

      by maxpublic (450413) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:23PM (#13306987) Homepage
      Anyway, "Most parents think their child is mature enough so that these games will not influence them."

      And they'd probably be right, since no one has ever managed to present a single solitary shred of empirical evidence pointing to a causal link between behavior in a computer game and behavior in real life. Can't blame the parents for ignoring the tiresome shrieking and wailing of the bullshit morality-mongers for once.

      Max
  • Flat Out (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021NO@SPAMbc90021.net> on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:40PM (#13306541) Homepage
    I'm only 30, so I don't consider myself old just yet, but I must say that I found the game "Flat Out" to be just totally unnecessary. While racing games are good fun, I just can't how an obstacle course where the object is to fling the driver through the windshield could be anything but disturbing. What is up with people these days? Are they so desensitized that the only way to entice them to play a video game is with things like this?

     
    • Re:Flat Out (Score:2, Funny)

      by xero9 (810991) *
      I had no idea what the object of this game was when I first played it. The guy kept flying out of the windows and I'm like "what the hell am I doing wrong?!"
    • Re:Flat Out (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Caiwyn (120510)
      You make a good point. I would wager it's related to that line from Mel Brooks's 1000-year-old man:

      "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die."
    • Re:Flat Out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shky (703024) <shkyolearyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:01PM (#13306770) Homepage Journal
      Desensitized would be if I enjoyed watching real people fly out of car windshields. It's funny when it's fake. That's not desensitized, that's seeing a line between fantasy and fiction.
      • Re:Flat Out (Score:3, Funny)

        by Kenshin (43036)
        Happened twice with one employee and two pickup trucks at the rail yard where my brother works.

        My brother still laughs about it.
    • Re:Flat Out (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nasarius (593729)
      What is up with people these days? Are they so desensitized that the only way to entice them to play a video game is with things like this?

      Of course not. But a "shock value" gimmick is so much easier to make than, you know, actual good gameplay.

    • Re:Flat Out (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:40PM (#13307166)
      Who can blame them? Look how successful Rockstar Games has been making the most objectionable games they can think of. Let's see, the infamous GTA series, of course, Manhunt, the game where you kill people in creative and disgusting ways, and now they're developing a game where you play a school bully and beat the crap out of kids.

      Part of me wants to go to Rockstar's developer staff and yell out, "GROW THE HELL UP! You're making the whole industry look bad, you idiots!" And part of me wants to applaud them for finding such a good solid revenue stream.
    • by Lifewish (724999) on Friday August 12, 2005 @05:06PM (#13307444) Homepage Journal
      I'd wager that every hormone-fuelled teenager ever to own a car has, at some point or another, felt a strong urge to break the speed limit, smash into that car that is refusing to let him/her overtake or otherwise drive in a horrendously dangerous fashion. When my friends and I get those urges, we fire up Flat Out and take our frustrations out on innocent computer-generated imitation cars. Works wonders - it defuses the tension completely. As an added bonus, the messy pileups help bring home the message that we shouldn't try this in a real car.

      In the same way, Quake II is still helping me resist the urge to strangle my kid sister, with the added bonus that I'm less likely to deliberately start an interstellar war.
    • Re:Flat Out (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dasunt (249686) on Friday August 12, 2005 @05:23PM (#13307611)

      In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I had fun by stealing a police bike (since they are easy to acquire and relatively fast), going to the top of the big skyscraper downtown, gunning the engine and flying into the air.

      Did I do this because I was desensitized to the idea of my own death? Of course not! Did I do this because I personally harbor suicidal thoughts? I doubt it.

      I did it because it was interesting. It was a game, and I knew I wasn't driving off a skyscraper. I was seeing what was possible in the game engine. (Turns out that if you land the bike just right, you take minimal damage).

      In the same light, I drove up and down the big hill in the SanFran clone town. Its possible to get quite some air on the bumps in that hill. Of course, a few unlucky pedestrians did die when I came over a hill too fast. So am I a reckless driver? Or did I realise that the pedestrians were simulated computer people and I have no intentions of doing such an act in real life?

      I think the main point is that this was only a game, and I understood it was only a game.

  • by John Seminal (698722) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:41PM (#13306548) Journal
    Perhaps that would get the parents attention if there was a law saying 18+ games must be purchased by 18+ year olds. Most movie theaters enforce R ratings by not selling tickets to 14 year olds. Why not have the same rules apply to video game sales?

    Plus, maybe the 18+ games should not be mixed in with the other games. Maybe they should be kept in an area where kids can't shop them with all the other titles. Like they keep 18+ magazines behind the counter. If a parent wants to buy it, they can ask for it.

    • It just doesn't apply to "M" games, only "AO".
      • It just doesn't apply to "M" games, only "AO".

        and if you put Mature and Adult only games together, you see what you get?

        MAO!

        I for one, welcome our Chineese Videogame Oppressors.

        Yes, Virginia, There IS such a thing as "too much coffee."

    • Like they keep 18+ magazines behind the counter. If a parent wants to buy it, they can ask for it.

      A) porno is not the same as a video game.
      B) that's up to the store to decide
      • B) that's up to the store to decide

        Not really.

        There are some communities which passed laws saying grocery stores could not sell alcohol in the main store area. Rather, they had to be off to the side, with only one entrance and exit, and someone to check ID's. Alcohol was only sold at that one register, with a specially trained worker (someone who will check ID's). The result in the community was less DUI's and less underage drinking. The downside was there were longer lines to get beer, and then the sho

    • Perhaps that would get the parents attention if there was a law saying 18+ games must be purchased by 18+ year olds. Most movie theaters enforce R ratings by not selling tickets to 14 year olds. Why not have the same rules apply to video game sales?

      It doesn't really work with alcohol and cigarettes. And these two are, for the moment, considered more dangerous than 18+ games.

    • For those that aren't aware, here in the UK any rating issued by the BBFC is legally binding. Any store that sells a game to a customer below the rated age can be fined, and i believe the clerk can end up serving a prison sentence. Yeowch.

      Titles rated by Pegi (the european equilavent of ELSPA) don't fall under such a law, but the kind of titles that most people might find offensive are covered by the BBFC anyway.
    • get attention, i doubt it. laws just let society punish people who do things society doesnt like and just create more criminals. if laws worked no one would murder, steal, have really big guns, etc...
    • by keyne9 (567528) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:03PM (#13306794)
      Most stores don't even carry 18+ (AO) games. Additionally, most stores generally follow the ESRB guidelines when selling video games. I can recall quite a few times when a (youngish) kid was turned away from buying a game 'cause they were not old enough.

      The primary problem is that the parents purchase the games for their kids without any concern about what might be within.

      After all, video games are for kids, right?
    • I can't name one AO 18+ game that is widely available except GTA:SA.

      In America, while there may be local or state laws, in general, movie ratings are enforced by the MPAA and are not legal restrictions. Does anyone know if Best BUy or any other store restricts the sale of R movies? More and more stores have ths cash register request a birthday if you buy an M rated game. Do they do the same for R rated movies?
  • by Corvaith (538529) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:42PM (#13306563) Homepage
    I suspect most of the fervor about this didn't come from the parents in the first place. The thing is, yes, most parents want to protect their children... but most of them also know that the world does contain scary/violent/sexual things, and they're less concerned with sex on television than whether their kid is doing drugs. This is as it should be.

    If you're trying to get a child to turn out well-adjusted, which is more important... making sure the kid is never exposed to sex, or making sure he actually goes outside sometimes and makes friends and has a life?

    All this says, I think, is that most people really do believe the latter. Media hype generally ignores this... but since when has the media cared about reality? Remember the West Nile Virus, which is really not much more dangerous than influenza? The 'sex bracelets' which most kids had never heard of before the TV was claiming they were all having middle school orgies? This isn't any different.
  • my take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Will2k_is_here (675262) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:43PM (#13306575)
    Parents simply assume all games are designed for children. The folks in the government seem to assume the same thing.
    • > Parents simply assume all games are designed for children. The folks in the government seem to assume the same thing.

      The government sees the governed as children, regardless of their age. Regardless of the party in power, "it takes a village".

      And did you ever notice that it's always someone else that might be tempted to do something horrible by these awful, awful video games, and it's this someone else who has to be protected by having the games banned?

      Just once, I'd like some blue-haired fundie

  • by slappyjack (196918) <slappyjack@gmail.com> on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:47PM (#13306608) Homepage Journal
    I mean, come on, people.

    Of course parents don't pay attention to the game ratings. They're printed right on the box! in Letters, often Boldfaced, right there!

    You'd have to actually read to learn what the rating is!

    When's the last time you saw the masses pay attention to anything that has to be read?

    As a correlary: How many of you went to see South Park, The movie in the theater? Now how many of you remember sitting within 20 feet of a bunch of little kids?

    Exactly.
    A) People piss and moan that there aren't enough warnings.
    B) Then they ignore them so they can piss and moan about what they were warned about in the first place and demand bans.
    C) Then when the thing gets banned, they complain about how the government is too intrusive.

    [Almost forgot: D) Profit!]

    one word: fucking people.

  • As a parent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:48PM (#13306621) Homepage Journal
    Raise your kids, not mine, has always been my motto.

    I am involved in what my kid plays, what he watches, who he hangs with.

    I let him be exposed to more and more as his maturity level grew with him.

    I showed him consequences for bad behavior.

    I explained why bad was bad.

    He's seventeen, and a great kid.

    Not that I'm taking my hand off the switch just yet.
    • Re:As a parent (Score:4, Insightful)

      by moviepig.com (745183) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:19PM (#13306949) Homepage
      Raise your kids, not mine, has always been my motto ... [and other good stuff]

      Moreover, a responsible parent might also consider the cost to the child of being the only kid not allowed to play Beastkill VII. ('Consider' here means 'recognize and assess'...)

    • Re:As a parent (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LiNKz (257629) *
      I wish all parents were like that. My sisters father works full time, out of the house, never home. My mom pushes her off onto my other sister to watch, or to just sit around the house and watch TV..

      That is all she does, watch TV. She talks to herself, has imaginary friends, and is *SO* happy if mom is willing to give her a few minutes of her time.

      She is spoiled. If she screams about it she gets it. She drinks her own special drinks, she has cookies and ice cream anytime she wants it. She has any toys she w
      • Re:As a parent (Score:3, Interesting)



        Your story gives me the shivers. It is earily close to my own, except that I was the father out of the house working all the time and it was my ex spoiling her daughter and ignoring our son.

        Luckily I wised up to what was going on and had guts enough, after trying and failing to make changes at home, to leave her and fight for the kids. Unfortunately, I couldn't get custody of her daughter, but I did get my son. Now he's 12, an honor student at the magnet school, active in scouts, and overall someone I am
    • Raise your kids, not mine, has always been my motto.

      But I like your kids better. Mine are bastards.
  • someone I know split the cost of a new car 50/50 with their daughter. Then she decides to move out and *demands* the car. The car is in her parents name and she barely paid $1000 on it.

    The same parents also got conned into buying: a 60" TV, Skis, ski pass, clothes and god knows what. When she moved out: an Xbox, a Bed, another TV, a Sterio...

    Parent are so afraid that their kids will come back later and say: you were a BAD parent.
  • by penix1 (722987) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:49PM (#13306639) Homepage
    The ratings aren't there for parents or children. They are there to prevent law suits a-la Columbine. It is like the McDonalds coffee suit. Now every cup you get has warnings in some cases (Burger King) it is in several languages!

    B.
  • by EFGearman (245715) <EFGearman.sc@rr@com> on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:52PM (#13306673)
    They don't normally catch it on their own.

    Case in point: A few years ago I worked at a game store. Woman comes in to get a game for her son and after several questions to narrow down which game it was (she forgot, but knew it had cars in it), I got a copy of the latest GTA game for her to purchase.

    After asking if she wanted the hint guide to go along with it, and her refusing, she asked if this game was appropriate for her 12-year old.

    "No Ma'am. This game is NOT appropriate for a 12-year old. Each game has a rating on the cover (quick explanation of the rating system) and this one is rated M for Mature. It means you should probably be 17 to play it. We don't enforce it, but we do encourage it." I flipped the copy of GTA over and showed her why it had been rated mature.

    Needless to say, a parent left a little more educated and her son did not get the game that day. He probably also got a talking to over trying to get one over on mom, but I don't know that for certain.
  • by kfg (145172) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:56PM (#13306725)
    about ratings in the first place. There were a few thousand more who heard them bitching and moaning incessantly for years who eventually said, "Yeah, Ok, I guess."

    The rest of us simply did what we still do; decide what we are and are not willing to supply our children with on our own. Ratings are meaningless for this and I rather resent the implication that making up my own mind is somehow "wrong."

    The ratings are just there to placate those few vocal twits who think they need a panel to make their decisions for them and believe they have the right to enforce that panel on others with more brains.

    I am the only rating system that counts for my children. I'll screw 'em up as I see fit. Go screw up your own.

    KFG
  • As usual, I see the standard-issue "parents are to blame" response. Let's not be so judgmental. Scapegoating parents isn't going to do any good.

    If our leaders (both Republicans and Democrats) did what they were elected to do, maybe most families wouldn't be burdened with multiple jobs and working parents and they could actually have time to monitor what their kids are playing. You know, when having a stay-at-home parent is a luxury in our society, that's a sign that we're heading down the wrong path. Point

    • It sounds more like you're letting the parents out of their responsibility. The parents are, in pretty much every sense, the party who is (or should be) in ultimate control of their kids. How are game age ratings, clearly denoted on game packages and explained clearly on the ESRB's web site (and explained as part of their advertising campaign), "hostile" to parents? If you can _read_, you should be able to understand them.

      Lousy parenting is what shouldn't be accepted or explained away - parents need to step
    • It isn't blame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nuggz (69912) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:22PM (#13306979) Homepage
      I do blame the parents, and I'll tell you why.

      They chose to work two jobs, they chose to have kids, and they choose not to supervise them properly. With freedom comes responsibility.

      They could work less (and yes do with less money) and supervise their kids.

      They could have not had kids.

      My wife and I have decided that when we have kids we will have to make certain sacrifices to our personal lives and careers and standard of living to raise them properly. This is one of the tradeoffs of having kids.
      I know some other people who think a child is slightly more responsiblity than a puppy and that it shouldn't really impact your life too much.
      • Re:It isn't blame (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Digital Vomit (891734)
        I see where you're coming from, but I kind of agree with the original poster. You're right in that it takes sacrifice to raise a child, but the poster is right in that the size of that sacrifice has grown incredibly fast over the past few decades.

        I often wonder how my father, a factory worker, could solely support a family of four when I was growing up -- and we were reasonably well off. (cue jokes about secret drug trafficking job)

      • (Have cake) /\ (Eat cake) == false
  • by Luscious868 (679143) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:57PM (#13306741)
    Think about it. You've got a game where the whole point is to steel, kill and blow things up and people are fine with that. But oh, no, show nudity and even a sex scene ... we can't have that now can we? The citizens of this country have one seriously fucked up mentality! It's a never ending source of amazement for me. Oh and remember kids, you can't have manslaughter without laughter!
  • i don't plan to let my kids touch computers too early (up to 14ish)

    i am 20 atm so the earliest i would have game-hungering kids would be in 20 years... thats alot of time, alot is gonna change. for the worse? i don't know. i hope not (i still remember the GREAT non-violent games i got ahold of like 7 years ago...they should make more of those! ie Anno 1602)

    but as people have already stated- getting hold of "adult" material is just too easy nowadays, whether in games, TV or newspapers/commercial ads. blockin
  • by danielDamage (838401) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:58PM (#13306749) Homepage
    You know, the problem is that ratings like AO and M just aren't strong enough. Parents see it and it just doesn't look that threatening. They need to have large icons that show the detrimental effect that the game is likely to have on children. Like: TRENCH! (displays picture of a kid in a black trenchcoat with a shotgun in each hand) This game will cause your child to blow holes you could drive a truck through in their classmates! ANAL! (displays picture of child dragging another child by cute pigtails) This game will cause your child to anally rape their younger sister on a daily basis! SENATOR! (displays picture of legislation) This game will cause your child to run for office in the legislative branch! See, warnings like that will really speak to the actual fears parents have about video games, and then they'll pay more attention.
  • Well of course. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShyGuy91284 (701108)
    "My kid is better then other kids, he can tell right from wrong, legal from illegal, fantasy from reality, and will never do anything to harm someone" is what probably 90% of parents think. and the other 10% (at least from what I've seen) mostly probably follow them more closely because of much younger siblings. I had a friend in HS that couldn't play violent games because his younger brother would get into them. I'm guessing that as games get more realistic with PS3 and beyond, parents may get the idea,
  • by FLAGGR (800770)
    Maybe it's because the games they played, all the coin-ops etc, were innocent. They may hear a games rated M for Mature, but it might not register that yes, their son (because of course girls dont play video games) is going to be killing hookers, stealing cars, killing police and having pixellated sex.

    I'm not saying that kids shouldn't be allowed to play those games or anything (personally I think its harmless, if a kid is going to grow up to kill hookers, then if its not video games influencing him, its
  • I am a parent and a gamer. Even I can't keep up with the blizzard of titles and venues and I am not without clue. I can't keep tabs on every entertainment industry outlet, vet their rating boards, watch their films, read their books and play their games and decide what's appropriate and what's not. I am working for a living as well as raising a family.

    I don't have time to vet the standards of the standards boards and I don't trust them; I disagree with them most of the time. For these reasons, the def
  • by Otter (3800) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:09PM (#13306842) Journal
    Despite what CmdrTaco and the submitter seem to think, the United Kingdom (and its BBC news outlet) are not part of the United States. If I recall correctly, they seceded from the US in 1776 after dumping all their tea into the Thames.

    HTH

  • by ReadParse (38517) <john@@@funnycow...com> on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:13PM (#13306887) Homepage
    I'm a father and, like many of you, a child of the original video game revolution. I played the arcade version of Galaga just yesterday, in fact (a coin operated one, not the MAME version I have on my computer).

    Anyway, I have a boy (9) and a girl (5). The boy is the main video game player and game selector, and he knows that games have to be rated E (everyone) in order for him to play it. There are exceptions to this, but they are on a case-by-case basis and they are extremely rare. He might have been allowed to play a T (teen) game once or twice.

    Of course, I'm the exception. I'm one of those fathers who pays attention to what his children are doing and I don't use video games as a babysitter. OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, maybe I do just a little bit, as I know that the kids will be entertained while playing games and watching TV. But I'm never far away and I always know what they're watching and playing. Heck, I've turned into such a prude that I'm considering banning Nickelodeon and the Disney channel (the latter having turned into nothing but an advertising vehicle for Disney properties).

    My point is that it's no surprise that parents don't pay attention to ratings, since so many of them don't even pay attention to their children. The decline of the quality of the family is THE biggest issue that we face as a nation and it's very often the answer to other national issues that we face.

    RP
  • 'Bad Parents' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Smity9384 (714994) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:24PM (#13307002) Journal
    It's a little bit sad how it seems the job of determining if a parent is a 'Bad Parent' is left to their children. Any kid who hasn't got every thing they have ever wanted is going to claim their parents are the worst parents ever. I think parents need to grow up as a whole and realize that they are spoiling their children rotten and ruining the future by doing so. What is going to happen when these kids become old enough to vote? Or they get jobs? Will their boss give them less work because they dont feel like working that hard? Or a different job because they want it? The way things are going maybe that will be the case for them...'No Child Left Behind', right?
  • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday August 12, 2005 @06:31PM (#13308088)
    Hate to be blunt, but every one of you that says that "Video games arn't just for kids anymore" is an idiot. Video games have NEVER been just for kids. Do you think that Custer's Revenge [wikipedia.org] was designed for kids? It was way worse than anything in GTA:SA.

    And for those of you that whine about parents not looking at the Rating...Have you thought that maybe a huge number of them understand that ratings bodies are designed for the lowest common denominator. Being 36, and having the 20/20 hindsight of over 20 years, I can say with confidence that by somewhere between 10 and 13 there was absolutly no content that I was not able to deal with.

    It is popular today to retard our children. Historically 13 was a full adult. These "Children" built nations, ruled nations, fought wars, married, had children, ran farms and businesses. Maybe your genetic line has degraded into mush in the last 100 years, but mine has not.

    And before anyone spouts off about how 'we live in more complicated times', I will call BS on that. We live in the safest, easiest, most gentle time in history. Not once have I ever had to fear that the hords were coming to rape our women and steal our crops because the weather was good. I've never had worry that me and my family were going to die because we had a bad season for our crops. (except during a brief period during a bathroom remodel) I have always had indoor plumbing, and all I had to do to get rid of my shit was to pull a little handle. The fact is, even if you have no job, and are homeless, SOMEONE will feed you. I know this is the case here in the US, and I have good reason to believe that it applies to any country that has wide distribution of video game systems.

    Calling parents that don't follow the ratings 'bad' is just plain hypocritical. If anything that is in any game currently availible is going to damage your child, it is already too late, and you have already failed as a parent.
    • I am 43. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pandrijeczko (588093)
      Kids are not stupid. They are "sponges for knowledge" who will "soak up" all they see and hear around them no matter what it is & they are fully able to completely distinguish fiction from fact, as long as they get enough of both.

      Violent games are not the problem, it's the parents who view Playstations and PCs as "babysitters" that are the issue. Balanced kids need balanced input which means they get the time to have fun killing and maiming on a computer screen *and* care and attention from parents wh

  • Sock! Horror! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Heretik (93983) on Friday August 12, 2005 @10:37PM (#13309305)
    Oh my God! Parents are actually doing the parenting instead of the government and corporations?!

    What is the world coming to?

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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