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12 year old wanting to play 18 rated XBox game

(143 Posts)
Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 11:52:56

My 12 year old son is obsessed with getting the new Black Ops 2 video game out soon. It's an 18 rated game and I'm determined he's not having it. He nagged for ages to get Modern Warfare 3 and we eventually caved in, much to my regret, and I've told him he's not having another 18 rated game until he's much older. His argument is that literally ALL of his friends will be getting it and playing online with each other, and he'll be left out. I've explained all the reasons why he shouldn't have 18 rated games. I know we shouldn't have let him have MW3 and am determined not to start a trend. I do understand how he feels re his friends, but would really appreciate some cogent arguments we could offer him which might help him understand that we're not just horrible parents who are being too strict. I've tried everything I can think of.

He's a typical pre-teenager, glued to a screen most of the time, and I'm trying to get him to have a bit more of a life - and I know that if he did get this game, it would make it even harder for me to do so.

Any advice gratefully received.

Snorbs Sun 02-Sep-12 11:57:34

It's not a matter of providing cogent arguments that will convince him that your point of view I'd the right one.

It's a matter of saying "no" and them not changing your mind just because he throws a strop.

DowagersHump Sun 02-Sep-12 12:00:46

It's the standard teenage argument - 'all my friends are allowed to do it/have it/drink it etc'

I agree with Snorbs - this is your house, your rules. It's irrelevant (and probably untrue) about how his friends are parented

savoycabbage Sun 02-Sep-12 12:00:51

Just don't get it. In fact, I would take the other one away too (nails) and get some legogrin.

I bet it's not true that all the others have it. Kids exaggerate/lie to each other to be not left out.

Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 12:01:02

I am saying no, and I'm not changing my mind. I thought I'd made that clear. But I would like to explain to him why I am saying no. He is an intelligent boy and I want him to understand why I am taking this line, when none of his friends' parents are (and believe me, they're not; it's not just what he's saying. They all seem to just buy whatever the kids want.)

noblegiraffe Sun 02-Sep-12 12:02:09

He is 12, you are an adult. You don't need to give him any arguments other than 'No, and that's final'

DowagersHump Sun 02-Sep-12 12:02:48

Well, why don't you want him to play it? Isn't that a good enough reason?

Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 12:04:31

OK, does anyone know of where I can find evidence of the danger of such games in teen friendly language? I know all about sticking to my guns, but I am also aware of his feelings and emotions and have always tried to ensure he understands why we do or don't do certain things. Why we don't let him have a TV/video game console in his room, for example, and why he doesn't have a laptop of his own yet. This is not about me sticking to my guns, believe me!

BlackberryIce Sun 02-Sep-12 12:07:10

Oh it will be true. Yes, the other kids probably do have it

My teen ds plays it. There are year 7/8/9 kids on it all the time.... Kind of like 9 year olds all have Facebook early. It's their culture now and how they all socialise

It's sad isn't it. My dc can't even climb a tree! ( something I will remedy)

DowagersHump Sun 02-Sep-12 12:08:57

The jury is still out on the effect of games on developing brains but to me, it's the same argument as I would use when it comes to 18 films - it's extremely violent with adult language. I don't want that kind of stuff in my home.

He wouldn't be allowed in to see an 18 film at the cinema, you won't allow him to at home either.

savoycabbage Sun 02-Sep-12 12:09:13

There must be some research somewhere about the harmful effects if this sort of game, normalising violence and all that, which you could read up on and then talk to him about.

I parent my dc quite differently from most of their friends because we are immigrants. They are often hmm at me but they just have to accept that they can't do certain things just because other people are.

noblegiraffe Sun 02-Sep-12 12:09:41

It's an 18. People whose job it is to decide such things have decided it's not suitable for a 15 year old let alone a 12 year old.

I'm a teacher and get fed up of kids trying to argue the score on every little detail, as if their opinion carries as much weight as mine. As I point out to them, it's a classroom not a democracy and I'm in charge.

Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 12:14:35

Ha ha Noblegiraffe... I use the 'it's not a democracy' line at home too!
I just wondered if anybody anywhere had tried to describe to children such as my son WHY it's a bad idea. Something I could show him to back up my denial. It's not a dealbreaker, but everything I've found on the web is written for adults in impenetrable language.

Chubfuddler Sun 02-Sep-12 12:17:26

You don't need to back up your denial, that's the point. He's twelve not eighteen and you're in charge. When he is 18 he can play what he likes, it's a privilege of adulthood.

Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 12:29:57

I know I don't need to, but I would like to. Perhaps I didn't make that clear enough.

lljkk Sun 02-Sep-12 12:35:14

That's nice. <<Pat on boy's head>> Why don't you go play on the motorway if that's where your friends decide to hang out next?

Just because other parents make stupid decisions doesn't mean I have to.

& (a personal fave):

If other families are so great, go see if they'd like to adopt you?

Sorry, I'm beyond having the energy to try to pursue rational agreement with preteens-teens. How about "I don't like it and that's good enough for me."?

noblegiraffe Sun 02-Sep-12 12:36:04

'because it contains violence and bad language and that's not nice and I don't want you exposed to it unnecessarily, and besides, sitting on your backside playing computer games all day isn't doing your health any good'

Should be clear enough.

BertieBotts Sun 02-Sep-12 12:41:54

TBH even if you can find something to show him he is very unlikely to listen or take it in. Preteens' brains just aren't wired that way, they're still very much in "But my friends play it and nothing's happened to them so it's fine" mode. Or "That won't happen to me" or "I wouldn't care if that happened to me" depending on how severe an "effect" you can find. Too mild and he won't care, too severe and he'll take from it that you're exaggerating because you're an adult and by definition out of touch. (I don't think this, but I can remember thinking as a teenager that adults were all hopelessly naive and didn't have a clue about what happened in the world these days blush I can see how stupid that is now - we've all got through it and lived it! - but as a teenager you have this whole complex that you're the first person to ever experience anything and nobody can possibly understand, etc.

I doubt that ALL his friends will have it. And surely he can still chat to people on facebook/msn/BBM or whatever they use nowadays. And play Fifa or something.

CakeBump Sun 02-Sep-12 12:44:49

So what if he wants to? Say no.

And your reason is "you're too young"

and if he argues, your further reason is "because I say so".....

DoingItForMyself Sun 02-Sep-12 12:45:37

Its not an exaggeration that all his friends have it. They will have. Sadly we had a similar thing with DS (also 12). His argument was that they make these games an 18 rating to make them more appealing and that actually they are no different to many similar 15 rated games (which we had allowed him - I know, he's only 12!)

We had all the conversations about how it impacts on kids' behaviour (I watched the Robert Winston prog about it) and how it desensitises them to violence etc. He pointed out that he read books where people are shot and that they studied WW1/2 at school, that he understands the difference between a computer generated person being shot, with lots of red pixels on the screen and a real person being shot, who doesn't get up and carry on. All very rational debate.

When we put our foot down and said categorically that he wasn't having it, he said "well I'll just go to X's house and play it then" and I realised that actually, I was never going to be able to stop him playing it, I could only stop him playing it at home and gave in. He then played it a few times online with his mates/cousins (more sociable than he'd been for months!) and then discovered skateboarding and the x-box now gathers dust in the corner of his room.

My advice would be that banning it makes it more appealing. I would never allow any games that include criminal activity/sex etc but shooting/war games are pretty much all the same, so if he has one, another one won't make any difference.

(Sorry to the PC brigade btw, I know I am slack and it is lazy parenting, but we can't all be perfect!)

Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 12:54:23

Have tried all those likkj!

Wordsmith Sun 02-Sep-12 12:54:57

Sorry, lljkk

mercibucket Sun 02-Sep-12 13:01:43

What are your reasons for not letting him have it? Just stick with those. Is it research based or more a moral decision on the lines of non-violence in the house? What about the old version he has? Is that now confiscated cos if it isn't he's going to rip your arguments to shreds. Quite possibly it just has to come down to 'my house, my rules' and he'll just have to get on with it
I let my 10 year old play it, but he's not allowed to watch x factor as I disagree on moral grounds smile

lljkk Sun 02-Sep-12 16:16:07

Oh I expect you have tried them all, but you'll just have to keep them coming. The more creative you can be the better. Consider it a form of sport, how witty you can be in variations of saying "NO".

You could print out what NobleGiraffe wrote, laminate & put it on a placard on a stick, hold placard up every time he starts in about it, again. Embellish with marker colour pens.

DS gave up on acquiring those games a while ago, but we get periodic whining & threatened explosive strops about wanting a BB gun. I have taken him to shooting lessons (would do so again). Looked into him joining local rifle club (they are too small to cater). Other shooting clubs too far away. So I'm willing to compromise a bit, but over my dead body will I buy him an Airgun to just use around the area as he sees fit.

ps: get him into Minecraft? This is what I did to get DS off of Shoot-Em-UP games and thank goodness it's worked. The other 2 DC are addicted, too, but M/Craft is a whole anoraky world of passionate fans, a club of its own.

Wordsmith Mon 03-Sep-12 03:05:47

He's into Minecraft, has been for a while. I don't mind that.

Reasons for not letting him have it: it's an 18 certificate, it's realistic mindless violence; it glorifies war (mainly the first 2).

His main reason for wanting it: all his friends are getting it and he'll be left out.

I do realise my moral high ground is shaky given that I let him have MW3. I did think it was a 16 at the time.

Since my first post my DH has made it clear he thinks the 'being left out' argument trumps the legal and moral ones. I don't think he is going to back me up strongly on this, despite giving DS a lecture a few weeks ago on why 18 films and games are so classified. So I'm pretty much screwed.

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