father son

Solving the “Violent Video Game” Problem: Parent Censorship

We all know the debate. Non-Gamers use video games as a scapegoat to explain the negative aspects of modern culture, and gamers listen to their arguments with big WTF looks on their face. There’s no need to start this article with a summary catching up readers on the current state of the debate, because as always its in a stalemate between two pissed off and stubborn groups. But if parents really seem to think there’s a problem with violent video games then today I’m here with an easy and straightforward solution.

To start off let’s set some things straight. I don’t think violent video games are contributing to violence anymore than everything else our youth have the ability to get their hands on. Honestly, I think violence is equally likely to be picked up in almost every situation a child finds himself in. This doesn’t make me biased, because I’m not trying to win an argument  I’m just trying to come up with a solution that comes from me taking the other side of the arguments perspective, and using a little logic… Unlike some state representatives, who’s solutions won’t accomplish anything.

The solution to the “violent video game” problem is simple. It doesn’t cost any money, doesn’t have to be passed by state or federal legislators, will only take minutes of parent’s time, and will end up actually improving the quality of life for our children. It all comes down to parent knowledge. If you’re a responsible parent then you know the maturity of your child. Everyone matures at a different rate, and it’s really up to the parents to decide on an individual basis what their child is capable of experiencing. You know what movies your child is  mature enough to watch (for instance, you know when to tell your kid to shut his eyes). And you know what you’re comfortable with them seeing.  But in terms of video games, if you’re not playing them then you don’t know how violent they actually are. So maybe you should learn?

If you know how violent or inappropriate a video game is before you buy it, then you can assess on an individual basis your child’s maturity, and see if the game is an appropriate match. Obviously it’s asking to much for parents to play through every game they want to purchase for their children, and then assess if their child is ready for that game (although maybe this will make parent’s realize that video games are quiet fun and not that detrimental…) . But it’s actually much easier than that. The internet is an amazing tool. Did you know you can look up video games and see the controversial subjects that are a part of that title?

A little reasearch will go a long way. I don’t think it takes a super long time to figure out what games are right for your child. But at the same time, I don’t recommend following the ESRB course, and buying video games based on your child’s age. I was totally mature enough at the age of 12 to play rated “M” games (“M” or “Mature” games are usually recommended for ages 17 and up). At the same time I knew 17 year olds that probably still shouldn’t have been playing some of the titles that find their way into the “M” rating circle.

Instead of just following an ESRB ratings, parent’s need to actively assess their child in relationship to the game in question. There are tons of resources out there that can help you make your decisions, too. Video Game store clerks are a wealth of knowledge, and would love to share their knowledge with you on any specific game you ask them about. Like I said before, the internet is also an easy to use valuable resource. At the very least you can sit down with your kid, play a couple of levels with them, and see if you approve. It’s going to create a more positive experience for your child, and give you two some bonding time they’ll actually enjoy. I think promoting this kind of research is a much better solution, compared to ideas like requiring ESRB ratings.

If parents start putting forth some effort, instead of just jumping on the media’s bandwagon, this “violent video game” problem could be solved overnight. It’s a free, easy to incorporate solution that gets parent’s knowledgeable about what their children are doing.  Who knows, maybe after learning so much about video games the parent’s of America will become fans, too.