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that games are an 18 certificate for a reason?

(207 Posts)
theluckiest Fri 28-Dec-12 01:01:02

Friend on FB has posted a pic of his nephews glued to their xbox. Headsets on, big gamer chairs, not moving for hours. This is actually not the issue but I admit to cracking out the large (super stretchy thanks to Xmas) judgy pants when I saw the conversation under the pic. Kids are 6 and 8. They were playing Call of Duty, Black Ops which is an 18 certificate game. Quite a few replies from other people with witty comments about 'starting them early' and that they will be beating their dad soon enough.

I admit I huffed and tutted. Asked dh what he thinks as he is an occasional gamer and he was horrified as he plays this and it is very graphic. Do people not realise that games have certificates? Or not give a shit as it keeps the kids quiet?

And yes I am prob BU and my judgy pants are straining with the effort but I am a teacher so get judgy about stuff! Last year one of the kids in my class used to include some horrific stuff in his writing about heads exploding, people on fire, shootings. He spent hours playing COD, Grand Theft Auto, etc. with older brothers (he was 7).

Maybe I have finally become an old fuddy duddy stuffed shirt.....I remember watching 18 cert horror movies but am sure I was a young teen then (not 6!!) and games seem far more insidious as you become involved iyswim?

MuddlingMackem Sun 30-Dec-12 14:39:17

Oh, forgot to say DS loves Portal. He even spent some of his savings on a replica gun a few months ago. grin

AllYoursJingleBellbooshka Sun 30-Dec-12 15:41:22

It's just laziness, plain and simple.

These parents either can't be arsed to research games for themselves or would rather buy it than listen to their children moaning "Oh but Larry from school plays it!".

COD is never suitable for a child and everybody knows it, they just choose to ignore it for an easy life.

MuddlingMackem Sun 30-Dec-12 16:05:11

The thing is, I think some parents genuinely don't know it, and I think that's even more worrying than the ones who just let their kids have them for an easy life.

I say this because my cousin and his wife, who are generally definitely in the strict parents category, let their sons have an 18 rated game when they were about 8 and 12. We were really shocked when we realised, but I think that too many parents who aren't and have never been gamers see such things as being for children and think that adults who still play games should really just grow up. It's like those who think something which is animated must be a kids' cartoon and don't look into it any further.

I think that what we really need are public information films educating parents about the content and suitability of games in general, and how the ratings work. There's a whole slew of adults who just really don't care and the only way to get through to them is a drip, drip effect so they don't realise they're learning. If the games industry wanted to show how responsible they really are then they chould probably fund such things, but can't see it happening any time soon. Letting excessively underage children play such games really needs to become one of those socially unacceptable things, such as drink driving, but even if anything is done it will take time to have an effect.

In twenty or thirty years' time, I wonder how many of the kids who are currently being allowed to play wildly unsuitable games will be much stricter with their own children as a result.

Smudging Sun 30-Dec-12 21:13:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cortana Sun 30-Dec-12 21:30:24

Slightly off topic but Tesco currently has the Draw Pad and Game bundle in Tesco for £9.95. Suitable for all ages and has some nice drawing challenges and games from what we've read of the box so far. DS picked it up out of his Christmas money today, seems very reasonably priced for what it promises.

MurderOfGoths Sun 30-Dec-12 21:42:01

"anecdotally I can think of a number of clients who spent years as children holed up in there bedroom now have Terrible depression"

Anecdotally I have always suffered bad bad depression, and one of the things that helped me most was to hole myself up in my room for a fair while playing computer games. Still helps now. And yes, the depression definitely came first.

Smudging Sun 30-Dec-12 22:24:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GeorgyF Mon 31-Dec-12 00:11:33

Um, difficult one, my son developed a huge interest in history from playing call of duty(albeit sneakily with elder brother) and also from a consequence of same interest, improved his reading skills dramatically by insisting parents bought some astonishingly good non fiction books. Perhaps it is the general family environment rather than the games?

StuntGirl Mon 31-Dec-12 00:36:41

Video games can absolutely be educational, even when they're not intended to be. But if your son has that kind of inquisitive mind he'd have done the same thing at 18, or you could have channelled his questioning nature in other ways. Seriously, are we really endorsing Black Ops for kids as a window to study history?

Droflove Mon 31-Dec-12 00:46:28

Yanbu. People can be so irresponsible. They should be ashamed.

HellesBelles396 Mon 31-Dec-12 09:20:25

I hid in my bedroom and read as a teenager. I think I was socially anxious but shutting myself away allowed that to grow until I developed depression (i have the long-term kind so would have happened anyway- sooner or later).
I probably didn't help myself at the time by reading loads of Stephen king's and one book that I had nightmares about (but still read repeatedly) in which every adult on the planet is killed off by a plague.
my point is, my mum assumed that reading was good so let me get on with it. really should have taken a bit more notice of WHAT I was reading. and noticed I needed medical help tbh.

noblegiraffe Mon 31-Dec-12 10:24:27

I think loads of teenagers read Stephen King without any adverse effects (maybe needing to sleep with the light on) so perhaps a bit unfair to suggest your mother should have spotted it as a sign of mental health issues.

Books don't have age ratings either. King would probably get a 15?

HellesBelles396 Mon 31-Dec-12 10:31:22

I agree noble - I meant shutting myself away.

Noble I think COD and CTA are more fifty shades of gray. I really don't think fifty shades is appropriate for 7 or 8yo is it? That's the age in the OP post.

DH just corrected me saying Stephen king is quite graphic. I honestly can't remember shock but I read them as a teen and I am now late 30s. But he did say he doesn't think a 7yo is capable of reading them. A very fair point.

noblegiraffe Mon 31-Dec-12 12:04:47

I don't think Stephen King is appropriate for a 7 or 8 year old either!

DadDancer Thu 03-Jan-13 14:23:59

I have little respect for this new PEGI rating system, which seems to be completely over the top and now means games which were rated 15 under BBFC are now 18. As others have mentioned Skyrim is now an 18 under PEGI when it should have only been a PG, given the fantasy setting and the context.
Even the Game Rocksmith got a PEGI 12 rating, which happens to be an educational game that teaches you to play real guitar. Madness!

I reckon the age rating system should be ditched and we go for a more informal approach where a brief description of the content is given and it is then the responsibility of the parent to decide, rather than relying on the nanny state to dictate.

TheBigJessie Thu 03-Jan-13 14:54:39


I also think that as women/mums we have to look at what boys/sons like to do, we may not like it, understand it, see what they enjoy/get out of it, but we are not boys/sons and they are different to us. You have to respect that and balance what you feel is appropriate for YOUR child to play. With my 11 yo DS we have an agreed written contract that we drafted together about all his X-Box play, when, how often, Live rules etc etc and he know he has to stick to that or he can't play. Right now he is not allowed on the X-Box for being grumpy and rude and not getting off when he was told, so no X-Box for 24 hrs which he is totally understands. He does not play it all the time and spent most of yesturday fleecing us all at Monopoly!

Please do not assume that because you are a female who does not play games, that no other female plays games. It absurdly incorrect.

In the words of MurderOfGoths
I'm a gamer, I totally get the appeal in violent video games. I play them myself. And I think it is precisely why I disagree with ignoring the PEGI ratings.

JazzAnnNonMouse Thu 03-Jan-13 15:07:20

IMO yanbu with regards to Pre teens. I think the classifications begin to matter less as a teen gets older. I wouldn't be shocked by a 15 year old playing an 18 game but I would an 8 year old. Regardless of gender.

MurderOfGoths Thu 03-Jan-13 15:19:01

"Even the Game Rocksmith got a PEGI 12 rating, which happens to be an educational game that teaches you to play real guitar. Madness!"

I assume that has to do with lyrics in some songs?

Why should a fantasy be a lower rating than non-fantasy if they contain the same level of violence/sex/bad language/etc?

ShamyFarrahCooper Thu 03-Jan-13 16:58:08

DS is 5 and is fairly new to the world of gaming. I do want him to get involved but no way will get access to COD etc. DH has Far Cry 3, Halo etc but never plays them when DS is around, he just wouldn't.

I love the lego games, DS plays HP lego with me & batman 2 lego also, as it has loads of characters. I say he plays, he tends to go Flash (current fave superhero) and run around a lot. We also have sonic for him and a mario game on a ds.

Time is limited, but he is still very young. He won't be playing violent games at 8 though.

LuluMai Thu 03-Jan-13 17:16:04

Call of a bad mother but I let ds, six, play 16 rated wrestling games. We've been to watch WWE twice live and there are no lower age limits, so it seems illogical to me that my son can watch the real thing legally but not a computer simulation.

CommanderShepard Thu 03-Jan-13 19:27:20

I am a gamer, thank you very much carocaro. I used to game while breastfeeding but now DD is too wriggly!

Hilarious that the rating denotes difficulty. I've completed the Mass Effect trilogy on the hardest setting but Lego Harry Potter? I have to search the internet to find out how to do it.

StuntGirl Thu 03-Jan-13 19:41:02

Yeah PEGI isn't great. Skyrim doesn't need to be an 18, and Plants vs Zombies doesn't need to be a 12. Madness.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 21:14:56

Lego lord of the rings is a usk 12 in germany because of the fantasy element, which seems a bit ridiculous.

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