|Image by Barbara Williams2010, Creative Commons|
In today’s society, it would be very easy to assume all video games are violent. The only time you hear about them in mainstream media is when someone who plays a lot of games does something terrible.
I started Parenting Gamers to combat that idea. I want to help you connect with your gamer. Coming at video games from a place of fear or attack will hurt that connection.
With that being said, however, the truth is, some video games are violent. Technology has advanced to the point where the graphics in these games are amazing. This gives developers the ability to depict more graphic situations than ever before.
As a parent, you are the arbiter of what is allowed in your home. No one knows your children better than you. No one understands what they can and cannot handle better than you. You have to decide what you are willing to allow in your home.
Know the Rating System
I have compared the ESRB rating system to the system used in movies. E = G, E-10=PG and so on. However, there is one distinction I want to make.
A movie can be rated R for many different reasons. The Passion of the Christ was rated R for its violence alone. The Heat received an R rating for some violence but mostly language. The Wolf of Wall Street for nudity and extreme sexual content, among other things. The R rating alone does not tell you everything you need to know about the content of the movie.
Video games, however, are different.
A video game with an M rating is violent.
I cannot think of any game that received an M rating for language or nudity without being violent. A game may include those things on top of violence. But with where things stand today, M means violent.
This makes it easy to keep violent games out of your home if that is the path you choose. If it is rated M, you do not want it. It is that simple.
If, however, you are OK with violence in certain situations, you will need to do some more research. Luckily the ESRB takes much of the guess work out.
You Have Options
I want to encourage you with this. Most video games are not violent. In 2012, the ESRB rated 1,218 games. 9% of those games received an M rating. That means 91% of the games rated received a rating equivalent to PG-13 or less.
So, whatever you choose for your home, you have options. There are a ton of quality games your gamer can play without being exposed to extreme violence. You just have to take an active role is helping them choose those games.