Tomorrow GTA 5 will be released - its an 18 rated game but i am still shocked at how many parents let their under-age kids play games like this and games like Call of Duty.
the ESRB has stated the reasons for its Mature content classification as
“The game includes depictions of sexual material/activity: implied fellatio and masturbation; various sex acts that the player's character procures from a prostitute—while no nudity is depicted in these sequences, various sexual moaning sounds can be heard. Nudity is present, however, primarily in two settings: a topless lap dance in a strip club and a location that includes male cult members with exposed genitalia in a non-sexual context.“Some sequences within the larger game allow players to use narcotics (e.g., smoking from a bong, lighting a marijuana joint); cocaine use is also depicted. Players' character can, at various times, consume alcohol and drive while under the influence. The words “f**k,” “c*nt,” and “n**ger” can be heard in the dialogue.”
Now i'm not against games, i am an avid gamer and have pretty much played every major game to be released within the past 15 years, but i find that these games are really unsuitable for young children. When i was younger my parents didn't know anything about games, they just thought it was donkey kong and line tennis. So when games got really realistic they didn't have a clue the sort of stuff i was playing. But even then, back in our day Wolfenstein wasn't so realistic and didn't have the same impact as modern games which have real human looking characters and realistic blood damage effects.
These days you have realistic looking characters and in gta's case quite misogynistic content which degrades women and gives the wrong kind of message to young people about how women should be treated.Also a problem is these children being introduced to themes and concepts that are presented not within historical or educational context but in a very gung-ho kill as much as you can kind of attitude.
i guess for a sensible adult these games can be ok, and its not real so its just a bit of escapism - but for children this game can be quite damaging towards building their initial ideas on sex and morality- i think that older siblings and cousins must also be careful not to play these games around younger siblings.
another issue is online gaming - you can check who your kids are playing with when they come over to your house but online they just wearing a pair of headphones and you don't know who's playing with them and what they are saying. A lot of the time there is some very offensive cursing and swearing between players which can be switched off so your child can play online without having to listen to it.
I play games like call of duty and battlefield but never in front of my kids, until they reach a maturer age where they can understand the context within which the game is being played.
my benti to parents is that they check carefully what games they buy for their kids and make sure the content is suitable, and also play games with your kids but restrict their time or use it as an incentive to complete homework or do other tasks.
I do believe that games are a powerful medium and can help in engaging young children and can be great fun played in a family atmosphere. Here are some suggestions for kids
little big planet 1&2
Lego adventure games
Disney games (toy story, universe, )
racing games such as need 4 speed & burnout
Sports games such as Fifa or Pro evo
and for the older lot halo 2 ,3 or 4 is good as a shooter as it more fantasy based and involves shooting aliens, not realistic looking humans.