Calling all parents

There’s a war going on in my house.  A war over a video game.  A video game that should not be on the market in the first place!  I’m tired of this argument, and I’m worn out from the length of it, but I will NOT change my mind. 

My 10 year old son wants Grand Theft Auto, because all of his friends have it.  (Not really all, I’ve talked to some moms!)  I’m sure that a few of them do have it, or their older siblings have it and they’ve played it.  But if everyone jumped off a bridge…..well, ya know what I mean!

When he first brought up the subject, I immediately had no in my head.  I’ve heard all the stories, but told him that dad and I would check it out and give him an answer.  Honestly, I was just going to tell Brian he wanted it, and then tell Zach no.  Well, Zach bugged us continually.  He wanted the game that night.  (Instant Gratification world!)  Brian said he really didn’t think it would be worse than watching TV, so he didn’t oppose, but my argument was that we have control over what we allow into this house.  If we bring it in, then we are endorsing it, and everything in it.  So Zach comes in again as I’m cooking dinner, and I tell him no because it’s an inappropriate game.  Zach goes ballistic with a huge ugly temper tantrum, which just shows him maturity level!  At that point Brian steps in and says that we’ve decided and that’s the end of it. 

It was the end of it until the next day when Zach comes home from school saying one particular game used to be rated T and they changed it to M for no reason.  He had many arguments for me, so I finally said I would talk to the people at GameStop and see what they said.  Now I was hoping to get someone honest, who truly cared about the youth of the world, but I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t.  After a few more days of bugging, we went to gamestop.  I asked the clerk, a very nice young man, and he told me he wouldn’t recommend the game to anyone.  He went on to say that they should be rated adults only, as they have prostitutes and lots of sex in them.  Once again, Zach was mad at me, because I don’t think he’s mature enough.  I told him that it has nothing to do with his age, because I don’t think a 50 year old should have the game!  I don’t think the game should be on the market.  It’s a video game, marketed to kids, with content listed as blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, nudity, strong sexual content, and use of drugs and alcohol.  WHY? 

I found two very good websites to help with the ratings decision. ESRB was an easy to navigate site, and Common Sense Media was written for parents.  I actually found this next info on common sense media. 

  • Your kid has access: 87% of boys under 17 have played an M-rated video game, and only 1% say their parents have ever stopped them from playing one. A recent investigation found that children as young as 9 were able to purchase M-rated games containing violent and sexually explicit content in nearly five out of 10 attempts. And games are everywhere: Video games are now present in 83% of homes with children. Eight- to 10-year-olds play an average of 65 minutes a day. Most games are violent; 94% of T-rated games contain violence. I was telling a friend about this encounter, and she said her son wanted the game too.  She also went to a store and asked if the game was appropriate, and was told that there’s a very easy way to pick up a girl, rape her in the back seat, beat her up and kill her graphically, and receive bonus points for doing it.  I am so appalled by this! 
  • We need to be informed about what is marketed to our kids.  M means Mature, and I don’t think 17 is mature enough for this game.  It’s marketed by Rock Star Games, and I’m going to be contacting them with my thoughts.  I urge you to be aware of what you allow to come into your home, and influence your kids.  It’s so easy to just say yes because you’re too busy. 
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