I believe video games are great. They offer an opportunity to connect like no other form of media. My goal is to help you as a parent connect with your gamer through video games.
However, like all forms of media, it is not all rainbows and lollipops in the video game industry. There will come a point when your gamer wants to play something that crosses the line. And as the parent, you will have to take a stand.
One of the biggest games last year was Grand Theft Auto 5. Its sales broke 6 world records, including the fastest entertainment product to gross $1 billion.
So what is GTA 5 all about?
GTA is an open-world, action-adventure game. The player controls 3 different characters throughout the game. They are given missions to complete, many of which are optional to the story. The player has control over which missions they do in which order. Or they can ignore the missions and run around interacting with the world.
The free roam nature of GTA allows the player to cause mayhem that draws police attention. The player has a wanted level which indicates how wanted they are by the police. The higher the level, the more aggressively the police will chase them. The player can increase their wanted level by committing crimes.
From that description, you might wonder what the big deal is. This is why it is important to understand the rating system and pay attention to the games your gamer is playing.
GTA 5 is rated M. Here are the descriptors that are added to it.
- Blood and Gore
- Intense Violence
- Mature Humor
- Strong Language
- Strong Sexual Content
- Use of Drugs and Alcohol
There are 2 specifics you will find when you dig deeper into GTA’s content.
- The Strip Club - GTA 5 contains a strip club featuring topless women.
- The Torture Scene - There is a sequence in the game where the player participates in an interactive torture sequence to extract information from another character.
This is where I personally draw the line. I am not interested in either of these things being in a game I am playing. And I definitely would not want my kids playing it.
The key is to know what your gamer is playing. Delve into the rating to know what they will be seeing and doing. And then be strong. Remember you are the parent. It is your responsibility to protect your kids even if they do not like it. Sometimes that means standing firm. It will not be fun but it will be worth it.