Welcome to a new column I’ll be doing irregularly here at Blog@ called My Opinion is Right. I have some strong opinions on things related to Geek Culture, and I’m lucky enough to have this sounding board, so here’s the right way to think about this particular subject.
A little over a week ago, the mothership ran an AP article about a watchdog group that made a list of ten games that kids shouldn’t play. All ten of these games were rated M for Mature, or 17+, a rating very very similar to the R rating used for movies. My immediate thought was echoed in the comments section there: Why the hell does a separate group have to tell me what I am already being told?
Thus, I’ve come to a conclusion. Parents as a general group are incredibly stupid. This is an unfortunate truth, proven by the very existence of such groups. Honestly, in this economic recession, we’re spending money on essentially having people read to us. Really, that’s all one of these groups are really doing. Here’s a nice, clear, easy to read ESRB rating system: This game is M for Mature, 17+, Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs. Yet, we can’t comprehend that, and instead need someone else to tell us, “GAME BAD FOR KID. NO LET PLAY!!!” My question is, if video games are what are destroying the souls and minds of today’s children, what exactly destroyed the minds of their parents?
I agree with the heart of the watchdog groups’ message. Parents need to take a bigger hand in making sure their kids aren’t receiving inapropriate multimedia content, across all realms. However, they shouldn’t have to be urged on, hands held, coddled, or any other pushing. The information is already out there, being presented, and they just plain ignore it. Having worked at both Best Buy and Gamestop in the past, I can’t count how many times I saw parents buying 7-10 year-olds games like Grand Theft Auto III or even Condemned (which has some graphic, near-torture scenes). It’s bad decision making, but there just shouldn’t be a bunch of money wasted on helping them.
Of course, this whole post winds up being somewhat hypocritical, but I’m ok with that. Here it is, the final time any parent should have to read this: If you think your child will be negatively influenced by a game, movie, comic, book, or other, don’t let them experience. If you need help or guidance, there’s this magical new thing called a ratings system on many of these things. Read it, use it, and be a smarter human being.
That’s my opinion, and it’s right.