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You Played Violent Games - Why Can't Your Kids? 501

An anonymous reader writes: "On the Wired site, Clive Thompson has up an article that points out a sobering truth: gamers are getting older. Folks who grew up playing videogames like Doom and Quake are now facing parental decisions with their own kids regarding appropriate content. Thompson cites well known gamer dads like Kotaku's Brian Crecente, discussing some of the approaches folks educated in gaming take with their own offspring: '"Everybody knows, as an adult, that the world is not always a nice place," Crecente told me. "But I don't want him to know that yet. I want him to have a childhood." So he disallows games with "realistic" combat, like World War II titles, or Resistance: Fall of Man, but permits highly cartoony shooting, like Starfox on the Nintendo DS -- since he regards it as essentially as abstract as playing cops and robbers with your fingers as guns.' Where do you think gamer parents should draw the line? If you have kids, what approach are you taking to introducing them to gaming? How old is 'old enough' to start fragging?"
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You Played Violent Games - Why Can't Your Kids?

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  • My vision on things (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) * <slashdot@j a w t h e s h> on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:26AM (#18661231) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what I'd do, but I do know what my parents did... both non-gamers, but my dad was (and is) quite proficient with computers. Our advantage was that the computer came "late in the game", so I was about 12, my brother 14 and my little sister was 8.

    Computers were expensive and we had to share one computer. My dad or mother didn't say "one hour", no, they said it had to be fairly distributed. The system introduced was simple and self-regulating: write down what you were playing and at what hour you started and stopped. Your siblings could come in at any time and say "hey, you already played an hour... it's my turn". That meant, finish level and/or save and let your sibling have a go. Whining brought you nowhere, because mom or dad would invariably take the side of the person that had played least.

    No things regulated "playing time" quite fairly and the net result was that we played each about 1 hour to 1.5 hours a day. Pretty much what the article stated.

    Now as for violence and/or sex in videogames. My parents never forbade any games. We had the full programme Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, etc... Blood and gore were not a problem. (Heck, later we loved to play a game called "Blood"... Good times!) In the early days we mostly played Sierra games (a dying breed... alas...) and it helped us (okay, perhaps just me) learn English. I sat there for hours with my dutch-english dictionary. Fun times... We also had stuff like Strip poker and our good old Leisure Suit Larry.

    The only thing I remember is that my dad forbade Syndicate... Or better said, we had to play it with headphones. He abhorred the sound of the people burning when using the flamethrower.

    The main problem is not the nature of the game. Wolfenstein let us kill humans after all. Except, they didn't look much like humans then, did they? A current game with current graphics is way closer to reality than whatever we had.

    On the other hand, I think kids tend to be self-regulating in what they want to do. Younger kids simply won't be interested in shooting people/aliens. They will probably go for the more colourful games. I see this when my fathers in laws kids from his second wife are here. They never ask to put stuff like GTA3, even if I let them choose from my PlayStation2 library. It's always stuff like Kya [], eyeToy Groove or Sonic Heroes.

    Teenagers will probably love stuff like GTA3, Halo, whatever... but there all bets are off. You cannot control them. They already watch violent movies, they play the games you don't want them to play at friends. In the teenage years, parents have to let loose slowly but surely. Something I also learnt from my parents. (Note that when we got a computer, we were pretty much teenagers)

    I know you can tell by now that I think my parents did a great job.... I plan to inspire me as much as possible from what I learnt from then.

    • by jovetoo ( 629494 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:49AM (#18661369) Journal
      That system would work perfectly... if your parents succeeded in raising you well in general.

      If you raise your kids well, they will recognize what is a game and what isn't... and in the end, that is the issue here.

      • by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) * <slashdot@j a w t h e s h> on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:56AM (#18661391) Homepage Journal

        In that case, the message is simple: Raise your children well....

        Easy to say, of course... Difficult to put into practice.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by GMC-jimmy ( 243376 )

          If you have kids, what approach are you taking to introducing them to gaming? How old is 'old enough' to start fragging?

          For the first part of that; `Don't feed a coin slot.` is the morale of my story and the grease that helped bring the console into my home.

          For the second part of that; It ain't the frags that worry me, it's the gibs that raise red flags with me.
        • by BakaHoushi ( 786009 ) <Goss DOT Sean AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:59AM (#18661805) Homepage
          You're forgetting, though, the most important part of being a parent:

          Banning your kids from doing anything you thought was fun as a child.

          Listen, I was living on high with a pad of my own, 100k surplus to spend on whatever I wanted, and then I got tied down with those little shits... why should *I* be the only one to suffer for it?!

          (ED: BakaHoushi is a 20 year old jobless college student. Any resemblance to actual fact in the above post is unintentional and completely coincidental.)
          • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @10:43AM (#18662909) Journal
            BTW, this rule applies to medical and grad school.

            "I had to work 14 hours straight during residency so you should too!"

            "I had to spend every night, and holidays, in the lab working on my research and getting no credit for it and so should you!"
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Bullshit. Being a parent is not difficult if you're not a lazy shit. I have an 8 year old boy who is routinely receiving praise for his politeness, manners, etc. It wasn't difficult to get him to learn those skills, but his mother and I also treat him as a person and a member of the family -- so those skills basically come naturally. It is completely natural for him to act "right" because that's pretty much all he knows. The problem, as I see it anyway, with today's "parents" is they are nothing beyond
    • by Ngarrang ( 1023425 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:38AM (#18661643) Journal
      When I was a kid, the "violent" games where 8-bit pixelated. The games now are much different. With graphics approaching nearly the realism it is, the games take on a new light.

      I probably won't let my kids play the violent games of their day. Racing games and sports games, yes. FPS with gruesome graphics showing blood spurting from a beheaded body? No. Not until they are older and have the intelligence to understand the different between games and reality.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ggKimmieGal ( 982958 )
        I agree. I remember playing Duke Nukem when I was about 10 years old. The violence in that game was terrible enough, but back then the graphics were still really cartoony. When I watch my boyfriend play Rainbow Six: Las Vegas, it's like a totally different game even though it has the same basic idea (walk around and kill the bad guys). I think I'll stick to more family friendly games. Nintendo seems to be a big fan of the family style game, so we'll probably buy their systems for the kids (and we'll hi
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rainman_bc ( 735332 )
          Nintendo seems to be a big fan of the family style game, so we'll probably buy their systems for the kids

          Sure you won't find Postal on their systems but Call of Duty 3 is still a pretty violent game...

          For older kids though I prefer the Rainbow Six covert style of games where kids don't think they're omnipotent... Those covert games teach them that a bullet will kill, not just decrease your health a bit which you'll recover later on...
      • by zrobotics ( 760688 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @10:01AM (#18662401)

        Well, while I understand your reluctance to let your kids play more realistic modern games depicting violence, I don't know if better graphics make the games more detrimental to your children's mental health. When you were killing aliens and monsters in Doom and Wolfenstein, you knew exactly what you were doing. It didn't look anything like real life, but you were still running around shooting things with a gun. I don't think more realistic graphics can change the argument-If it was a safe activity for you when you were a kid, it should be as safe for your kids now. When I first got Doom, my mother was fairly upset. Even though the graphics left much up to the imagination, the sight of pixellated blood flying about disturbed her. It wasn't the realism of the graphics that disturbed her; rather, it was the intent behind her child's actions that disturbed her.

        I'm not advocating that you change the way you raise your kids, I'm just making a point

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 )
        I'm an old fart (compared to teen gamers) and I could do without the gruesome death gurgles and blood sprays in BF1942's Desert Combat. I'm more interested in clever gameplay than realistic gore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by couchslug ( 175151 )
        When I was a kid, there were no violent computer games or computers to play them on.

        The workaround was to play Cowboys and "Native Americans", play soldiers, and read those evil comic books ("subversive" if you count Mad magazine, but that flew below adult radar). Lots of play that mimicked fantasy and real violent behavior.

        Most folks turned out okay, except that when some of us had kids we forgot what it was like to BE one!
        • by binary paladin ( 684759 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nidalapyranib>> on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:29PM (#18668763)
          Yep, that's how it goes. When I was young one of the popular shows was GI Joe and my brother and I watched it whenever it was on. We had a lot of the related action figures and vehicles too. One of the things that always annoyed us, even at 4 and 6-years-old, was the fact that no one ever died. It's not like we were cheering for death, but it seemed a little ridiculous that every time an airplane exploded that some random Cobra jackass was parachuting out. You have entire battlefields of guns blazing and NO ONE gets killed.

          So, when we had the action figures in our grasp, people got wasted all the time. That's just one of many things. We did Cowboys and Indians, soldiers, knights in shining armor, Star Wars, whatever. The object for my brother and me, as well as any of our typical male friends, was the KILL THE BAD GUY. Given our evolutionary background, this isn't all that peculiar. Boys have been doing this for... well... I would guess throughout our whole existence. Even my sister, having two older brothers, did the same stuff. She turned out all right too.

          Hell, my dad, once we got to be around 7 or 8ish used to read us fantasy novels in chunks rather than children's books. He read the Hobbit to my brother and me as well as the Iron Tower Trilogy. The latter had quite a bit of violence in it.

          And I have to say this, children have vivid imaginations. My brother did, my sister did and I did. Scary graphics on the computer, no matter how realistic, have got nothing on what I could and did form in my own head. Although, with that said, I don't think putting a 5-year-old in front of GTA3 is a good idea either. Is there an age? No. You need to know your own kid and his/her level of maturity. The biggest problem we seem to have today is that parents want other organizations and technology to raise their kids.

          I think this society has become way too paranoid. WAY too paranoid. As a joke, my sister got me a DVD with some old He-Man episodes on it the other day and my friends and I sat down and watched it for a good laugh. Given the freakish religious state of the nation right now, I can just see massive protests about Skeletor's staff with the Ram's Head on it and all the "evil magic."

          Really, what it's come down to, is that no one wants to take responsibility for a damn thing any more. If a kid goes bonkers... it's not his fault, it can't be that his parents were crap parents, it can't be that being abused by school mates breaks people, it can't be teachers or administrators that did nothing about it... let's blame the faceless video game makers and gun makers and people who make violent movies. It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. When I was a kid, when I did something dumb or hurt someone else, my dad belted me and that was that. I didn't go into therapy to discuss my feelings. THe belting was quick, simple and did the trick.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Instine ( 963303 )
      "A current game with current graphics is way closer to reality than whatever we had. "

      I think this is the most interesting issue here. While its still VERY clear to my kid (6 year old Girl) the anything on the screen is not 'real', even the people are usually talkling rubbish, games are going through a continued, fast pasted, evolution. IF games ever became more intertwined with are lives, or SO imersive that you forget your in them, then the psychology will get tricky and relevant. But right now, my 6yr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KaoticEvil ( 91813 )
      As an only child and a proud father of 5 (ranging from 8 years to 6 months) I know what I went thru as a kid gaming. I had a computer, NES, SuperNES, and, later, a N64. My parents would get me any game that I asked for, as long as we could afford it. I'm doing the same thing with my kids. The oldest has her own computer, with lots of games and PaintShop. Most of the games that she wants are Barbie, Bratz, Trollz, and things like that. My boys also have their own computer, with the same amount of games insta
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vimh42 ( 981236 )
      I'm in the same boat. I let my daugter play WOW but I don't play DOOM3/Quake4 and the like when she is around (she doesn't much like machine gun type noises anyway). When playing GTA3, I stuck to just driving around the city going off jumps. When she's closer to the age I was when I started playing lots of games. we'll see. I'll play it by ear. At this point her favorite games are WOW and Nintendo Dogs on her DS.

      I started gaming off with arcade classics on a 8088. Galaxian, Dig Dug and the like. My parents
  • by VirusEqualsVeryYes ( 981719 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:26AM (#18661233)

    Where do you think gamer parents should draw the line? If you have kids, what approach are you taking to introducing them to gaming? How old is 'old enough' to start fragging?"
    As with everything related to parenting, there are no hard and fast rules. Good parents will get a feel for how mature their kids are, and afford them the appropriate privileges. Mediocre parents will rely on the ratings on the boxes, and bad parents (or the politically-correct "distracted" parents) will let their kids play whatever.

    FWIW, Crecente seems to have some pretty reasonable rules here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      As with everything related to parenting, there are no hard and fast rules. Good parents will get a feel for how mature their kids are, and afford them the appropriate privileges.

      Exactly. I've got a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 2-year-old. (And one due in June). They have plenty of fun with the Humongous games (hint: they run really well, and without the CD, under SCUMMVM), but the oldest sometimes likes to run the mouse when we play Descent3 or the older Half-Life games or a couple of other first-perso

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Lego Star Wars is also a spouse-friendly game. My wife loves it because, after I beat the levels, she can go around and collect every goddamn stud in the level. I wouldn't mind except she insists we play together, and waiting for someone to check every single place for studs is crazy-making.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Datamonstar ( 845886 )
        Scared by Peter and The Wolf, hu? Must have been that damned Wolf leitmotif. French Horns are evil. ;P
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This article is interesting because it highlights a new scenario: Now there are parents almost solely bred up on video games. Now is their turn to reverse the roles.

      Problem is, if you think your parents stink as a kid, how would you like having video-game junkies as parents?

      (Note there are always exceptions to any rule or hypothesis, every human is unique and no labels should be applied. Just think of this as an enlightening exercise in how you would really like to live your life.)
    • by BakaHoushi ( 786009 ) <Goss DOT Sean AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:44AM (#18662215) Homepage
      So, what you're saying, if I understand this right, is... that every child is different. That some kids mature slower, some faster, and some kids can handle what some can't. That there is no "magic number," no age where they magically learn to tell wrong from right, and to separate fantasy from reality. That some kids might even be more inherently drawn to violence than others, and that parents need to know their children and be able to identify what they know and what they can handle...

      Sorry. I don't buy it. I demand you give me a list of ages and what's appropriate, universally. Also, if you have any pills that will make kids sit down and shut up and get smarter, I'd appreciate it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Idarubicin ( 579475 )

        Also, if you have any pills that will make kids sit down and shut up and get smarter, I'd appreciate it.
        Can we give the pills to their parents, instead?
  • by Mr EdgEy ( 983285 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:27AM (#18661243)
    As humans we are not perfect, it's like telling your kids to buckle down in school knowing full well you never did all the time.
    • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:45AM (#18661703) Journal

      As humans we are not perfect, it's like telling your kids to buckle down in school knowing full well you never did all the time.
      Is it being hypocritical, or is it passing on knowledge? I used to binge drink on the weekends when I was in high school, but I seldom ever drink any more. It hurt me in school, sports and life in general. Just because I did stupid thing when I was younger doesn't mean that I should be afraid to tell my kids "Don't do stupid things." If that's being a hypocrite, then I'm all for it.
      • by hahiss ( 696716 )
        This sounds right to me. I mean, is a parent really supposed to say "Yeah, go ahead, stick your tongue in as many electric outlets as you like!" just because they did?

        Hypocrisy would only apply if you were your own parent as a child, and now, without having changed any of your beliefs, you act in ways that contradict those beliefs. So, a hypocrite is someone who says "X should not be done" and then goes out and does it. (Ted Haggard is a classic case of this, but there are of course many others.)
    • I disagree about that being hypocritical, as long as you make it clear that it's a "learn from my mistakes" thing. I never put much effort in to school and graduated barely holding on to a 3.0 GPA, but of course the end result of that is I have some fairly chunky college loans to pay back. My brother on the other hand maintained nearly straight As and is getting ready to go off to the same school but with a full ride.

      When/if I have kids, I'll be able to point out this situation and show them why they should work harder and not do what I did. Same thing with drinking and drugs. I'm not going to say "go nuts", but I'm also not going to give my kids the DARE version because I've been there, done that, and know better.
  • by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:27AM (#18661245) Homepage
    The world is a big and scary place. And children need to learn that too, and fast.

    There's nothing worse than isolating children from reality, because it will start hitting them in the face one day or another. Let them watch the news, play video games, etc. It can't hurt.

    When they go to school they'll need to learn the rules anyway, in order to survive (not literally, of course).

    The world is full of sick, twisted, demented elements. Video games, and also the internet are a very safe approach - because you can't be harmed. Chatrooms can help children to spot lies - and this is always a helpful skill out there.

    Sheltering kids has never helped them.
    • by midnighttoadstool ( 703941 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:39AM (#18661323)
      "Sheltering kids has never helped them."

      ...and where does that bit of dogma come from?

      The opposite is much more likely true : the nature of childhood is to be sheltered. Just as animals shelter their offspring until they are capable of coping with it without being immediately eaten.

      Further: the young have a strong 'copy' instinct, which is how they seem to learn the basics. Putting the 'real world' in front of them before they have reached the age of autonomy is asking for trouble.

      The "expose them to the real-world dogma" is all nice and progressive and seemingly commonsense, but it is almost certainly unnatural. And anything that is unnatural, like margarine, is bad news, I reckon. (BTW, I am not arguing against the 'artificial', which is a distinct idea from that which is 'unnatural').

      • "The "expose them to the real-world dogma" is all nice and progressive and seemingly commonsense, but it is almost certainly unnatural"

        I'm not sure where you live buddy but during my public schooling we saw everything, by the time highschool was around the corner nothing was a big deal. IMHO sheltered kids DO tend to have problems later in life especially socially. Think about all those kids "sheltered" by their religious nutcase parents, that kind of sheltering still exists unfortunate as it is.

        In my opi
        • Sadly, children of bad parents are more likely to become bad parents themselves. Most people don't learn from the bad things that were done to them, they repeat those mistakes. The extremely sheltered will do the same with their kids. The abused will, also. Somebody changing, breaking this kind of cycle, is the exception rather than the rule.
    • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:43AM (#18661345) Homepage

      There's nothing worse than isolating children from reality, because it will start hitting them in the face one day or another. Let them watch the news, play video games, etc. It can't hurt.

      I agree that you shouldn't isolate them to much from reality, but neither news or video games are reality. News compress the bad things of the world into tiny 15min action shows, what might be shown might be real to some degree, but its shown totally out of proportion. Planes might crash once a week, but thousands of them also land perfectly safely, news however doesn't show that, same with all the other bad stuff that happens. I wouldn't let my child watch news for quite a while, since there is really nothing you can learn from it when you don't even have a basic understanding of how the world works.

      Now with video games things are even more extreme, they have absolutely no connection with reality, they might get inspiration from reality, but you next random WWII shooter isn't like fighting in WWII and GTA doesn't show the normal live on the street either. Now to some degree this is of course good, since well, its all fake and thus you can enjoy it without feeling all that bad, but on the other side I would prefer my child to learn facts about war from a good history book, not from a video game.

    • This is one side of the picture. The other side is that children need to learn how to solve math problems and spell words, and some won't do this if you give them unlimited video games, movies and television.

      Our oldest is naturally bright, I guess. He consumes books yet loves WoW, and leans towards our adult movies despite being 13. He has a great sense of humor, is very helpful around the house, and will probably become a video game addict like his biological father.

      Our second oldest loves Bionicl
    • It's painfully obvious that you've never dealt with children.

      Sheltering kids has never helped them.

      Good idea. Let's rally for mandatory military enrollment for all adolescents; after all, it's a big, scary, violent world out there, and the sooner they find out what the front lines are like, the better! ...Right?

      Obviously not. Sheltering kids from sex and violence is not an ancient, irrational tradition brought down from the puritans; believe it or not, it actually has scientific backing. Young children expo

      • I think a big part of the problem is that movies and video games aren't realistic enough. They glamorize violence, and make it seem clean and easy.

        I would much rather have children watch things that realistically portray violence, and its consequences, than some semi-abstract depiction of it, where the baddies just fall down dead without any blood. That's not reality; the world isn't clean like that. You don't walk around shooting anonymous bad guys in black jumpsuits who appear endlessly out of nowhere and
  • Why can't we continue to play hand-eye coordination improving games? I've played pinball and hung around arcades for over 30 years. When the fight 'em kick 'em punch 'em games came in, the arcade became a ghost town.

    I can understand that pinball machines, being electro-mechanical, are expensive to run. These days you might only see one or two in an arcade. But where have the simple but good video games gone? Oh, that's right, they have become violent.

    It is not about censoring out violence -- our society has already done that, with kindergarten kids getting expelled if they use the f word twice (our son used it once, so we are flying without a safety net). It is about having some class -- Sin City is not a good movie, and Doom ain't interesting. Sorry to burst your bubble, script kiddies.

    P.S. Sierra's 3D Ultra Pinball Thrillride is proof that you can make a superb video pinball game. Sadly it is discontinued. Luckily it is still available via Amazon, etc. for about $10.
    • I posted [] three years ago that Dragon's Lair and martial arts games killed the arcade, and got modded as flamebait. I guess the era of the classic video arcade is far removed in time now that it is considered a mythical time to most Slashdot readers.
      • Even in the midst of the endless lame-o beat-em-ups, there were still some good arcade games coming out. Some of them even came from Atari. The two games that capped off the time I regularly visited arcades were the Hard Drivin' games and T-Mek. Both were from Atari games. In that era I was seeing less beat-em-ups and a handful of games with innovative control schemes and game play. Lack of good games wasn't the only thing that killed the arcades. The arcades participated in their own demise when they
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      It's also in GameTap's library, for about $10/month, with around 900 other games. I agree it's one of the best pc pinball games ever.

      But maybe you haven't seen Visual Pinball. While not quite as exciting as 3DUP Thrillride, it does seem to accurately recreate the classics. [] []

      There's probably better links out there for it, but these give you access to some tables.
      • Is this the pinball equiv. of MAME? If so, I started to install that 4 or 5 years ago and realized this ain't an "even your grandmother can do it" install. Gave up, sadly. Maybe it is time to revisit it.
    • It doesn't follow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Elemenope ( 905108 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:20AM (#18661525)

      ...that just because you abhor violence, sex, etc., in your media that 'Sin City', 'Doom' et al. are not good. It simply means they are uninteresting to you. It has nothing to do with class, and everything to do with age-appropriateness. Sin City and Doom are bad movies/games to be showing a kindergartener. Beyond that, you are just being snobby. (P.S. I'm pretty sure the arcade became a ghost town not because of violence, but because kids all of a sudden had access to games of similar quality right at their house or their friends' houses, with video game consoles and serious video-capable PCs).

      There are, and always have been fun, interesting games that had no element of violence in them. Pinball is a good example (interestingly, Centipede is not, unless we don't care so long as it's violence against things not human, in which case you shouldn't care about Doom either). So was Myst (a personal fav). But there is no magical exclusionary rule that says if there are elements of violence, sex, and profanity a game is automatically bad and/or boring. The Longest Journey was a great game, but was full of profanity and had a good bit of the other two. Half-life and its sequel were both groundbreaking and engaging story-wise, but chock full of violence. Sin City was a fantastic movie, if for nothing else the artistic direction that was taken, but also the stories are quite gripping (and also inherently moral in dramatistic ways; you know, the same way Shakespeare's plays were morally tinged even though they were chock full of violence, sex, and profanity...).

      Besides, all the good ol' games you seem bent on being nostalgic about are available in Flash or Java on the net somewhere or other. So, it's not like these options are forever lost to a parent trying to entertain a child age-appropriately.

    • When the fight 'em kick 'em punch 'em games came in, the arcade became a ghost town.
      I remember playing a LOT of Street Fighter and other fighting games at arcades.
    • So if you like Sin City and Doom you don't have class? Where did you come up with that crazy notion?
    • Centipede was incredibly violent. Won't somebody think of the mushrooms?

      Mmm, mushrooms...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jackbird ( 721605 )
      Sorry, I remember debates over whether Demon Attack [] for the Atari 2600 was too violent a game for kids ("You can shoot realistic birds!") How about Death Race 2000? Night Trap? Custer's Revenge? As with any other medium, video games have had their share of the lurid throughout their existence.

      The arcade became a ghost town because the Super Nintendo eliminated the disparity between the arcade and the home, with the exception of games that either used elaborate props (pinball, sit-down racing games, rail

  • by Chaffar ( 670874 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:38AM (#18661317)
    ...because they'll probably whup my ass.

    Seriously, I've been taunted by too many 10-year-old's in LAN cafés, I don't want to have one in my friggin' house 24/7.

  • We didn't have an explicit policy on "no fragging" (aka no human targets) because it never came up. So when my son downloaded Castle Wolfenstein Enemy Territory this past year, I wasn't upset. In fact, I've been playing it at the same time as him on my Windows gaming machine. He got his own Windows gaming machine alongside his Linux box when he stacked 20 cord of wood last summer. We used to hang out on on [RRE], but we've switched to shitstorm because there is a more reliable crowd.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kitsunewarlock ( 971818 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:43AM (#18661341) Journal
    To quote my Japanese friend on the subject of Anime censorship:

    "Why censor children's [media]; kids have violent! Honestly, a child will see more blood spilled than most people in their adult years outside of war and medicine. Children are naturally violent creatures."

    Note: not exact quote.
  • by 26199 ( 577806 ) *

    I will now supply a one-size-fits-all answer to the question, so that parents can do the right thing with a clear conscience.

    No, wait! The world is a big and scary place for parents, too. You know (should know) your kids better than anyone else. What's right for them? If you don't know, start with the small stuff, watch them play it, see if it's okay. If it worries them, they're too young. If they enjoy it, they're old enough.

    People often forget that kids are a lot tougher than adults in many regards. C

  • Realism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:51AM (#18661377)

    I suspect it's a matter of degrees of realism. There is a big difference between playing Doom, where you're shooting at bad guys who are fireball-throwing aliens, and playing recent GTA-style games that glamorise killing civilians in a realistic setting.

    I don't like censorship as a general principle, but I have no problem with restricting what people are exposed to until they're grown up enough to understand what is real and what is pretend. This is probably where I would draw my line, if I had kids old enough for it to matter.

    For what it's worth, I don't think the best games tend to be the photorealistic people-maiming types anyway. They can be entertaining for a while and have pretty pictures, but they tend to lack the depth of things like puzzle games, RTS or RPG titles. The only time they really have long-term value is when played in a co-operative environment with other real humans, and that changes the atmosphere fundamentally anyway.

    • "recent GTA-style games that glamorise killing civilians in a realistic setting."

      I realize you said "GTA-style" there, but GTA itself doesn't glamorize killing civilians at all. In fact, there are immediate consequences for doing so unless no one else is around at all--just like in real life.

      I've played San Andreas with my toddler on my lap. Granted, it was me getting into a semi and driving around at about 5mph trying to avoid smashing other cars or people, but he liked it anyway. You can even get a camera
  • by Seraphnote ( 655201 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:55AM (#18661389)
    You get to be an innocent child ONCE!

    Unfortunately too many adults take this opportunity away from their children by exposing them to the violence and stupidities of humanity WAY TOO EARLY. Yes the violence and stupidity of humanity is real, and out there in the world, and it always has been...

    What's the damn rush to expose children to it?

    (And I'm still pissed off at the idiot parents who brought their toddler to the Planet of the Apes remake at 10:00 pm.)
    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:24AM (#18662025) Homepage Journal
      Define "innocent."

      Like a lot of the posters here, I grew up in an age when violence in video games consisted of pixelated blobs doing horrible things to other pixelated blobs, so I can't really speak to the effect (or, I suspect, lack of effect) of modern video games on tender young minds. But I loved books and movies that explored some of the worst things humanity is capable of (still do, as a matter of fact.) My parents, bless 'em, never tried to shield me from this stuff. If I had a problem with some of the things I learned about, we talked about it. It probably wasn't easy for them, explaining things like genocide and serial killers to a nine-year-old ... but you know, raising a kid isn't supposed to be easy.

      Was my "innocence" ruined? Did I grow up scarred, warped, lacking in moral sensibility? Hell no. I grew up understanding that there are some very bad people in the world, who do some very bad things, and that good people have both the opportunity and the obligation to ameliorate some of the damage. Which is, I think, a pretty "innocent" atttitude to carry into adulthood. Because innocence is not the same thing as ignorance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast ( 590680 )
      It's more of a question of when do you let the innocence go by the wayside. Sure, when they're young it's your obligation to protect your children from certain aspects of life but at what point do you stop grabbing their hands and let them find out on their own the "the fire burns" after you've just told them for the millionth time?

      Being over protective is a sad state where, as a parent, you did your job but you also did some harm when a young adult who should be able to stand up to some of life's challeng
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BKX ( 5066 )
      WAY TOO EARLy. My ass.

      This is the first, last and only time in history where such a made-up thing as innocence has even been available for children. Get over it. Kids are going to see violence and do violence no matter what. They're going to bang at twelve, smoke pot at thirteen and get drunk at fourteen. And there's nothing anyone can do about it (no matter what you think), so we should accept it, attempt to mitigate any negatives, and move on with our lives.
  • My 10 year old nephew started kicking my arse in Halo around three years ago when I got my xbox. My seven year old nephew started around two years ago doing the same (but albeit in a lesser amount of frags) on Halo and Halo 2 as well. They love coming over to my place during the vacation, and understandably my sister and my brother in law dont enjoy it as much :)

    The 10 year old does kick all of our collective asses on pretty much any game we tend to play. Its no wonder I rarely play online, I am humiliated
  • I'm keeping the Manhunt cd images for my kids in case the game's outlawed :)

    More seriously, although I'm not planning on having kids in the near future (I need to get laid first!), I don't think there would be any problems with regards to violent games if there's a supply of good non-violent ones. Not necessarily games absolutely devoid of any conflict, but could be either those cartoonish games like Psychonauts, or even realistic sports, racing, or flight games. By the time they actually want to play viole
  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:58AM (#18661403) Homepage
    "How old is 'old enough' to start fragging?"

    When they're mature enough to handle it with the realization that it's not real life.

    What, you expected a number? Sucker.
  • Yet you are going to send him to work his ass off in order to get a place in the modern wold of a dog eat dog working life. When he is going to learn ? On college grad day ?
    • I've worked at one place where it was "dog eat dog." I left after three months. I'm amazed anyone would let themselves be put in that situation. Cooperation makes us more powerful than competition. While I won't discourage my children from pursuing a job like that, I'll try to point them in the direction of a cooperative environment because it's much more fulfilling.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:03AM (#18661417) Homepage
    "Gamers are getting older"? That's not news, time runs forwards. It'd be more surprising if gamers were getting younger, and I'm damned if I want to go through puberty again.... backwards.
  • by Prototerm ( 762512 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:04AM (#18661425)
    I've been a gamer since the days of the original Wolfenstein 3D, and when I had a son, I decided to use the video games in my collection to teach him a few things: like the consequences of your actions, thinking through problems, and *not* killing civilians indiscriminately. I chose games that had a definite right and wrong about them (and yeah, I'm of that generation that believes World War Two was about right and wrong, so a few of those titles were in there), or about thinking (the original Deus Ex, for example).

    Unfortunately, my son quickly learned that there were cheat codes out there, so a lot of my hopes at a learning experience went out the window.

    There are some games I keep away from him, such as the Carmageddon and Grand Theft series, along with the ever-popular Postal series.

    Every step of the way, I know what he's playing, and we talk about it. We don't play against each other because the one time we did he kicked my butt. But otherwise, we're on the same wavelength. We generally play the same games, and talk the same language about them, even though he's 40 years younger than I am.

    Games are no more violent than television, and in one way, they're less violent, because when playing a game, the kid is at least in some control. The parent just has to pick the games, and stay involved with the kids. Neither computers nor televisions are baby sitters, and parents who use them as such get the ba****ds they deserve.

    But I'm still not gonna let him play Postal -- not until he reaches 65. There have to be *some* limits, you know!
  • ...when you're spring-cleaning their rooms, and you find the RPGs under their beds, the Uzis and Glocks in the closet underneath their sweaters, and the C4 explosive and detonators in the back of their socks and underwear drawers.

    But, since you as parents are giving them a healthy regular slice of quality time, nurturing their emotional development, encouraging their self-esteem, and especially creating a happy, balanced, loving life for your and your significant other, and healing your issues as they arise
  • To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, "Europe provides the money, Asia manufactures the goods, the U.S. provides the soldiers. That's globalization." Geez, not letting your kids play FPS is like packing them off to school wearing berets.

    The only morality that matters in the U.S. is religious (because it is said that atheists can't have a morality) and the only religion that matters in the mainstream media is evangelical and evangelicals already have their own "swept away" FPS where your victims convert or die. So
  • When I was volunteering at a computer shop while in highschool, a guy comes to the shop. He way taller than me (and I'm 6') and has huge muscles, tattoos, leather jacket with no arms, and just generally scary. He holds his computer out and says "Please fix this." After the shock, we do. Later, he talks about video games and how he doesn't want his son playing the violent ones, and asks us for recommendations.

    After more shock, I realized that just because it was how he grew up doesn't mean he wants his s
  • I go over the speed limit quite often when driving, and generally trust my own judgement. Does that mean I'll condone the same behavior when my son learns to drive? Hell, no.
  • by netbuzz ( 955038 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:35AM (#18661615) Homepage
    I particularly liked the "Lego Rule." ... Also, I have "this friend" who's about to turn 50, has never played a video game in his life, and has three young children who are soon to graduate from to the real thing. I'm not, I mean he's not, going to be one of those anything-goes guys. Any advice for this type? 4 []
  • by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:39AM (#18661655)
    That's not a troll, really. The most obvious and ageless example is sex. We did as much as we could as soon as we could get away with it. Now, as hypocrytical, older parents, we can't stand the concept of our precious little darlings doing the nasty at ... well ... whatever age it was that we first wanted to. (Actual age citation omitted so that I don't draw too much negative response. God knows that the ages of kids getting naked and freaky on their webcams is sufficiently low that it may never be mentioned in polite company; adults just don't want to hear about that stuff.)

    It's the same for alcohol. We got drunk on our ass at 16, most of us got away with it, and we think we were *special* and could handle it. Our kids? Those morons couldn't handle a sip of ceremonial wine before they turn 21.

    Video games. Driving fast. Ditching school. Going out in the woods with some dynamite and blowing shit up. (OK, that last one was pretty personal, I guess.) No matter the subject, we simply don't think our kids can do the things we did. We're hypocrites. All parents are and always have been.

    Adults have no respect for children so we treat them differently than we still think we should have been treated when we were their age.

    Hypocrisy and lack of respect from parents towards children? This is news? Is this surprising to anyone?
    • by Organic Brain Damage ( 863655 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:07AM (#18661873)
      As a parent of two, I can tell you I'm not worried about my kid having a sip of ceremonial wine before 21. And, frankly, I don't care if they get "naked and freaky on their webcams." Here's what I'm worried about:

      1. my kids dying or getting maimed in a car accident with or without involvement of alcohol.
      2. my kids getting an STD.
      3. my kids getting addicted to tobacco.
      4. my kids getting addicted to any other drug, including alcohol.
      5. my kids getting pregnant before they're ready to take care of a child.

      All of those things happened to kids I at the high school I attended during the 1970's. Call it hypocrisy if you like, but I think it's called learning from experience and trying to pass the benefit of that experience down through the generations. When we do this with science, it's generally recognized as a good thing.

      The time passed, usually 10 or 20 years and the fact that the parents usually aren't currently engaged in the risky behaviors they once were and now want to prevent their children from engaging in mitigates, in my mind, the hypocrisy of it all.

      On the other side of it, I've seen parents "teach" their kids how to "hold their likker" and that's uglier than the hypocrisy.

      As for violent video games, I try to get my kids to play them, but they just want to play fluffy happy games like Sim City. It drives me nuts.
  • "On the Wired site, Clive Thompson has up an article

    Is this Jack's non-evil brother who derives a healthy, cathartic enjoyment of occasionally playing violent video games?

  • I keep reading people here saying that "When I was a kid, the gore was pixelated and unrealistic" etc.

    Are forgetting how real it seemed? I remember being 9 or 10 playing Doom95 in the dark and being absolutely horrified when I turned a corner to see a new enemy. It is all relative, so don't put too much stock into the idea that the less-realistic games have less of an effect on kids.

    (Also, remember Harris and Klebold didn't have Gears of War on HD, they had Doom)

    I think that the real idea is that you just c
  • Simple answer: They can.

    Frankly I just don't buy it. I don't buy a word of it.

    I realize that all things influence how kids act, but I think it's marginal at best and I find it impossible to believe that video games are going to make a kid become a psychotic nutcase. That's just bull, and frankly I don't know how any reasonable person can think otherwise. I know they did some dumb studies where they had kids play games and then watched them go play fight and concluded they were being more violent (doh!) but
  • It's just amazing to me that we survived without bike helmets, seat belts or child safety seats. We played Defender, Smash TV, Missile Command and a host of other violent video games and managed not to grow up being violent people. At least most of us and those that didn't were probably fucked up anyway. My opinion is children are more intelligent (though inexperienced) and resilient than we give them credit for. It's also my opinion that we coddle and fuss over them to the point of nausea. Kids aren't

  • I think this thread should be considered an extreme fire hazard; I haven't seen this many straw men since the last presidential election.
  • You Played Violent Games - Why Can't Your Kids?

    Because we're messed up, and we want our kids to be less messed up.

    Parenting is powerful because we can teach our kids to learn from our mistakes. Even if they're mistakes we liked at the time, which might even cloud our judgement. Like wearing plaid polyester leisure suits.
  • Boys will be boys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wansu ( 846 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @11:33AM (#18663653)

    I was born in the late 50s and grew up in the 60s. There were no computers. TV was black and white. My class was probably the last to be taught to use slide rules in high school.

    We played outside. During the peak of the baby boom, there were lots of kids to play with. We'd round up 10 or 12, split up and line up on either side of a creek. We'd throw dirt clods, shoot bottle rockets, throw firecrackers and shoot BB guns (the old, whimpy kind) at each other. One parent gave us shop goggles and several of us carried trash can lids as shields. We escalated to Whamo Wrist Rocket slingshots, homemade catapults, sky rockets and roman candles. We'd play all day. When I'd get home, I was so dirty, my mother made me strip on the screened back porch and make a beeline to the tub. Sometimes people got hurt. I got hurt several times. It never stopped me. What we were doing was basically poor man's paintball.

    When we got older, we entertained ourselves with vandalism, model rocketry, homemade explosives and other adventures. Yessir. If a boy does that nowadays, he'll get a cavity search.

    I suppose if we'd had Doom and Quake we'd have played those games. But damn if it ain't fun to throw dirt clods.

    As for these kids going on shooting rampages, it just didn't happen back then. The reason was no kid ever got that far out of line. If you acted up, you got your ass beat. The punishment was swift and sure. Today I see kids testing and pushing the limits of what they can get by with. Back then, you didn't have to push very far before you got your ass beat. If we'd continued corporal punishment in the schoiols, Columbine and all the other shootings probably wouldn't have happened because we'd have taken care of little problems before they became big problems.

  • my kids (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Some_Llama ( 763766 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:39PM (#18666285) Homepage Journal
    I have 3 kids, aged 15/12/10. The oldest isn't really into Video games, but the 2 youngest are, I let them play every game that I play (CS, Diablo2, GTA3, Quake3/4, warcraft, etc) and i always have.

    Some things I have noticed:

    They know the difference between games and real life, the routinely gib people in Quake, headshot people in CS, wipe out creeps in WC3 (when we all play together), but in school they get good grades and their teachers love them (no behavior problems), I know this because my wife works in the same school they attend and is privy to all of the lunch room commentary by their teachers.

    When they play these games their mindsets and preferences are mirrored in the game, not the other way around. This is the biggest point I can make.. games are a way for them to express themselves, I don't see any "conditioning" that should be prevalent if you are to believe video game alarmists (E.G. Jack Thompson)

    E.G. My second youngest (girl) likes to drive around GTA3 in a firetruck or ambulence doing the side missions helping people.. she doesn't gun people down/kill hookers/ etc.. in fact she berates me for not obeying the speed limit when I play.

      When playing CS she likes the surf maps (where you glide around a map in a race type setting) and barely (if at all) tries to shoot anyone or fight in general. Same for Warcraft, she likes the maps where you build towns or can generate unlimited creeps and walk them around the map (no objective). In real life she loves animals, being social, and helping people...

    With my son he likes to play games (CS/quake) with other people and make friendships in game, leaves if the competition is too tough and avoids conflict, and tries to help people who don't know how to do X in a game. He is the same way when playing with kids on the play ground at school.

    I have never seen an increase in violent tendencies in their interactions with each other or other kids (like the neighbors, at school etc...) as a result of playing these games.

    So there ya go.. btw, I have been playing video games since Doom first came out, so they have been around these games for ALL of their lives, if there was some kind of influence you would expect it to be manifested in some visable way?

    I might be biased so I offer this as well, my wife doesn't play any games at all but shes their behavior constantly every day, she doesn't have any problems with them playing these games nor has she seen any changes in their behavior due to their playing them more often.
  • My kid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StewedSquirrel ( 574170 ) on Monday April 09, 2007 @03:52PM (#18667195)

    my kid wasn't really that interested in gaming until more recently and he's 14 now.

    The reason is that we tossed a frisbee every afternoon at the park and went mountain biking on Saturday morning every week and I got him interested in building and racing R/C cars when he was 10 and playing hockey when he was 8 and by the end of the day, we sit down and catch a movie and he goes to bed (and I wander off to Slashdot).

    Wow, profound. It was never an issue. But I never forbade anything either. When he played GTA2 at a friend's house at 8, he told me that he didn't like the game because it didn't feel right to run around running down innocent people in a stolen car. He still played now and then when I assured him that it was OK to play video games, but that he was a good person for having feelings like that and to hold onto those.

    He still won't step on ants on the street, even though he watched R rated movies and played GTA at 8 years old.

    Big surprise. It's not about the games a kid plays but the lessons he learns from his parents.

  • One example... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:38PM (#18696535) Homepage Journal
    This probably won't get read or responded to now, but anywayz...

    Want to know why I seriously first started playing San Andreas? Anthropological curiousity.

    As someone living in Australia, I knew nothing about African-American gang culture whatsoever. My girlfriend's teenaged daughter, when she lived with us, listened to a lot of rap music. I heard some of it, but never really understood the context behind the lyrics at all. Hearing about San Andreas got me interested in learning about it in the same way that I ended up reading about the Amish [] after hearing the song Amish Paradise, or reading about the Ojibwa [] after watching Commander Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager. (I'd read some Voyager fanfic [] where Chakotay was depicted as an Ojibwa shaman, or fairly close in terms of their spiritual beliefs) I like learning about different cultures.

    From what I read, the depiction of the hood in San Andreas was very thoroughly researched by Rockstar as well; they apparently got a lot of rap musicians and other people who were/had been part of that culture. I think one the main reasons why it's interesting is because it actually makes you think a lot about different systems of morality; what some other people might think of as degraded or antisocial (in terms of prostitution, hard drug use, violence etc) would presumably have been seen by people living within that environment perhaps as simply being elements of their everyday lives.

    So if you look at it from that point of view, (or in terms of another example, where you're playing a game set a few thousand years ago) the violence is only excessive by our own contemporary cultural standards. By the standards of the culture the game is intending to simulate/represent, the violence is actually one of the main parts; if you took that out, in many cases what the culture itself was based on would be lost, or at least fundamentally wouldn't be authentic.

    Hence, violence in games doesn't have to encourage violence in real can allow us to look at other cultures or time periods, and remind us that in those other scenarios, violence often led to extremely negative consequences...and so rather than encourage it now, it can actually help us to see why reducing it is a better idea. CJ taught me quite a lot.

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