Don't Own Mature Video Games

Updated on January 04, 2013
M.E. asks from Tampa, FL
19 answers

We don't allow my 11 year old son to play mature video games at home. We don't own an Xbox or Playstation. The only video system he has is a Wii. Recently, we allowed him to buy a Teen game. When he goes over to friends houses, he plays the Mature games over there.
We also have two younger children, 6 and 7 and we don't want them exposed to these games.

My oldest complains almost daily that we treat him like a baby and his not so great friends make fun of him for not having these mature games and game systems. We really don't care if they make fun of him or not. Both kids that he associates with come from dsyfunctional homes. We tell my son all the time that we feel he is too young for these games. He says everybody at his school plays these games.

His friends should like him for him not when games he plays. That's how I feel. When I was a kid, I wasn't popular because I had Atari. I was also given limits. I couldn't play it all day. My parents wanted me outside and doing imaginative play.

His friends talk violently sometimes too. They curse and say they are going to rip each other's heads off. One kid's gradmother recognized it and said, "maybe we should take away these violent video games!"

Any advice out there?

PS- People misconstrue things. I am not saying the kids are dsyfunctional because they play these games. I am saying one family is a broken home, no father and the kids are allowed to play games all day. The other kid comes from a home of divorce. Mother is remarried. Father has PTSD and is an alcoholic.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I want to clarify that I do care if kids are making fun of him. I care more than you know about my kids. My kids are my world. I don't think they are really making fun of him. Mild picking on him, maybe. I tell him that he doesn't have to advertise that we don't let him play M games.

I have my opinions about mature games. Do I think they make someone a bad person? No, that's a combination of different things. Apparently the Sandy Hook killer played mature video games in his basement for hours and hours unsupervised. He also had mental illness.

I don't want the games to take over our life. My kids play enough already. On school days, we have limits of 1 hr a day. I'm a bit more liberal with TV but nobody is watching all day. Some of you did convince me that the Wii is getting childish for him. I am more open to Xbox for him but with games that are more family or sports oriented.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I was the other parent. My child was allowed to read books, watch movies and tv shows, listen to music, and play games that were forbidden for many of her peers.
When her friends came over, I knew what their parents standards were, and I would not let her cause her friend to disobey her parents' rules, nor would I let her be rude by doing things that she was normally allowed while her friend sat by and couldn't participate.
She would complain to me that So-and-so's parents were being unreasonable by not allowing a certain game or movie, and I told her that they were doing what they thought was best for their child, just as I did what I thought was best for her, and that she needed to let the grownups be the parents.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

i'm with you, but i'd take it a step farther - if i found out my 10yo was playing M games at someone else's house, he'd be in big trouble! i don't care which kid/parent says it's "okay", it is NOT okay for small children to simulate in the first person killing people - it desensitizes them to violence, and there's NO reason for it! i'm sorry, there is no useful skill that my child can gain through violent video gaming that they can't gain through something else..

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, you've drawn your line in the sand, so I guess you could stick to it.
My neat 10 year old IS allowed to play some M games (we're not dysfunctional!) there are some he is not allowed to play and done he doesn't want to play as well.

Are you aware that many games allow you to control the graphic content upon set up?

My son hated the Wii. He liked it until he was about 8.
It's ALL about Xbox for him and his friends.
You're son probably is getting picked on. :(
So...I guess it's up to you. You're the parent, right?
Your house, your rules.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


your house. Your rules.

If his "friends" make fun of him - they aren't really friends in the first place.

I would ask him the same question I ask my children when I get the "everybody's doing it"...if EVERYONE is jumping off a bridge, are you going to do it? No. Or if "everyone is doing it - does it make it right?" No.

My boys are 10 & 12. They play Call to Duty - yes, it's a mature game. They are limited to how much time they can play it - 30 minutes. We set a timer and that's it.

XBOX and Playstation both have games for youth. Some are GREAT - like Just Dance - my boys also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pirates of the Caribbean game from XBOX - which is rated "E" - I believe.

You are responsible for your son - not the other parents.

My girlfriend and I get chided by our kids for wanting to KNOW who they are playing (now hanging out) with....who are their parents, where do they live, etc. but we tell our kids - when they "no one else's parents care" - our response is "well, WE DO!!"

Find out which games he wants to play and why. Make him earn it, if you are willing to compromise. And set rules and limits. Either way - stand your ground. YOU are the parent.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

"We really don't care if they make fun of him or not."
Wow, that's a little harsh :(
I'm not saying you should allow him to play these games, but you should at least respect his feelings.
Also it's pretty inconsistent to allow him to play them elsewhere but not at home. You need clear expectations, not just "you can't do it here but you can do it there."
And I must add that you are being VERY judgemental by connecting violent video games to dysfunctional families. My son and ALL of his friends have played these kinds of games for years, and they are now ALL sophomores in college. They are bright, good, athletic, socially well adjusted boys from nice families.
Your son's character is built at home. If he is easily swayed by outside influences then his character wasn't that strong to begin with. Just keep that in mind.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I have let my 10 year old know that the argument that "everyone else has... or does..." will NEVER work on me and not to bother. Now, if she has a legitimate argument to do something and can articulate it responsibly, I'll listen, but her friends aren't her parents and won't be there for her if she gets in trouble, and her friends' parents are welcome to make decisions for their own kids, but that she already has parents who will make their own judgment calls. Stick to your guns.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Time for a new set of friends.
Let these old friends drift away.
They are bullying him.
And real friends don't do that to you.
Sign your son up for boy scouts or taekwondo or some activity or sport.
Keep him busy enough so he has no time to play with these kids and encourage making new friends.
In our house - as soon as the 'every one else has one' or 'everyone else is doing it' card is played - our son immediately loses the argument.
He doesn't try that anymore.
I told him
'I don't care what "everyone else" is doing. You are not everyone else.
When you are grown and on your own, in between making a living and raising your family you can do what ever you want. In your parents house - you don't play with blood and guts and use filthy language.'.
The friends he has have pretty much the same rules we have.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When SS's friends would come over and want to play an M game, we told them to put it away, it wasn't allowed here. We realized that SS sometimes played M games elsewhere, but in our home - our rules. We often hosted just so we knew where they were and what they were doing. If the friends started talking inappropriately, DH stepped in and said something to them (usually came off better from him than from tiny me, especially when dealing with preteen boys).

It's also another example of teaching the kids why you don't allow something and helping them to do what you would rather they do than just follow the crowd. I dislike the saying, "So if all your friends jumped off a bridge, you would, too?" but that's kind of what we're talking here. How far is he willing to go to fit in? And are these good friends or just people he knows? I never had a game system growing up. If his friends don't like HIM, then they aren't friends.

Any time one of the kids rolled out "but everybody" the argument was invalid. Because I know "everybody" does not have x, y, or z. And since never have we been swayed because an item was owned by many. If they wanted to lobby for something, they had to come up with good reasons THEY should have THAT item. Nobody else involved.

If you think that he shouldn't play the M games and know that they do at a particular friend's house, allow him to invite the friend to your home, but not allow him to go there. It's also a good way to evaluate the friends, get to know the parents (if they come to the door for pickups) and otherwise know some of your child's crowd. To this day the sks still bring friends home so our rules must not have damaged them too badly. One of SS's friends in HS cursed a lot. One day I said, "here" and handed him a thesaurus. He asked what that was for, and I said he needed to find some new words because he's overused those curses and was sounding like a broken CD. He was overall not a bad kid, but that's how they spoke in his home so that's what he rolled out all the time. He got the hint.

Which is not to say every friendship fared so well or that my SS doesn't need to remember he's not with his buddies now and then but overall I think they had more good friends than bad ones and rarely played M games, even when they were older.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

He needs to find better friends...any sports or camps or other activities that you can enroll him in to find higher quality kids to hang with? My oldest son used to have a lot of loser friends when he was about your son's age. I didn't badmouth them but did let him know that I didn't trust them to make good choices so therefore, I didn't trust him to make good choices with them so I gave him a pretty short leash with them. Thankfully he started to see that they tended to get in trouble and do nothing but play video games all day and he found some nicer kids who are more ambitious and trustworthy to befriend. oldest son is 14 and we don't have M games in my house either, nor will we ever. My younger boys are 6 & 8 and they don't need that around, but I won't allow them when they're older either.

We also didn't have a play station 3 or Xbox until recently. We had a very old PS2, which no one makes "good" games for anymore, and a Wii. He actually borrowed a PS3 from a friend for the past year because his friend only used his XBox so it was just sitting there unused. We did go ahead and buy a used PS3 for Christmas because there are alot of good games that aren't available on Wii (NHL 13, Skate II, etc.). So if I were you, I would consider getting something besides the Wii because there are a lot of good sports games and other non-violent games that are not available on Wii. You can get a used PS3 of XBox 360 for $150. Just something to consider.

We have limits on game time, which we relax a bit on weekends and vacation if it's raining or bitter cold out. Each kid gets 30 minutes a day max after homework is done. Then they have to find something else to do. My oldest is usually too busy with homework and hockey to play that long anyway.

Keep up the good work and don't lower your standards to those of his least-common-denominator friends. I am a big fan of the phrase "that's fine but in our house..." and we have nicknamed ourselves The House of Disappointment (stolen from a friend) to drive home the fact that I'm not here to cater to anyone and I don't really care if they think we're not cool. At the end of the day, kids from quality families have similar rules. At the end of the day, all of my kids still have friends and good social lives, even with strict rules and relatively few "toys" at their disposal. Your son will be just fine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My kids aren't that age yet, but I just wanted to chime in with some support. Children do not need to play games that teach them that violence is normal. We do have Mature games in the house and an X-Box because my husband plays these games, but the kids aren't allowed to watch, and they won't be allowed to play them when they reach that age. Our society just seems to accept violent tendencies in boys, but I do not think that is right or desirable.

As a compromise, though, not all X-Box games are Mature or violent, and the Wii is kind of considered a little-kids' gaming system. Just something to consider.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

My son has had playstations and x-boxes. Although I'm a single mom, I wouldn't consider my home dysfunctional. As a matter of fact, my son's half brother, who is 18 years older, got him a game for his birthday without really thinking. My son, who was a bit younger than yours is now, had heard of the game and made the decision on his own to return it and trade it in for something else without even opening it. That's pretty responsible, if you ask me.

Not all games are violent or bad. My friends had one for their kids that came with little bongos and you played music along with animated monkeys or apes or whatever they were. The kids had a blast with it. Their oldest kid was in high school and she played right along with the little kids. They laughed their heads off. I'm just saying that there ARE games the whole family can have fun with.

As for your son's friends making fun of him, they may rib him a bit. OR, it could be your son's perception. I know my daughter bugged me about getting a cell phone and told me that her friends all made fun of her for not having one. I knew her friends....they didn't make fun of her. SHE felt like an oddball for not having what her friends had. Understandable, but I still didn't run out and get her a phone.

I totally agree that some parents let their kids play games that are inappropriate for their ages or are too violent in content. I'm sure there are plenty of kids at your son's school who play games of all kinds and until recently, your son hasn't been allowed to play ANY.

He probably does feel a bit left out.
Maybe you can find a happy compromise.

I never had a problem with my kids being addicted to video games, but I know a few parents whose kids threw fits over time restrictions, etc. They got rid of the game systems because their young kids wanted to do nothing else. It became a problem.

Different kids have different tolerances and different families have different rules.

I don't think you should tell your son you don't "care" if his friends make fun of him. He can get different friends or use the classic I always told my kids to use....Blame Mom! "Tell your friends I don't believe in it, I don't allow it. I don't care if I'm not the 'cool' mom, take the pressure off of you and blame it all on me. You have my permission".

You'd be surprised how many times my kids used that one to get out of doing things they didn't WANT to do in the first place. "Sorry, my mom won't let me".

As your kids get older, there will certainly be more "pressures" about things.
Kids have to learn to navigate. It really is okay not to do everything your friends do, but it can take a while to come to that acceptance.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

When my daughters were pre-teens, they had a friend whose parents rules were more restrictive than ours about movies. Don't get me wrong, we had definite limits -- they just had much tighter ones.

Before this girl would come over, her mom would call & we'd discuss what movies her daughter could see. Yes, at times this was inconvenient but we always, always went along with the other family's rules, even though their daughter was in our home. My kids didn't always like it but there's no way they would have made fun of their friend and even less chance that I would have allowed them to.

Fast forward almost 10 years. These girls are still close friends and still cut each other slack when necessary. Being friends is about being respectful, even if your friend is different or lives by different rules.

Stick to your guns. I wouldn't actively discourage your son's friendship with these other kids -- but I sure would be actively seeking other friends and outlets for him.

By the way, good for you, mama, for not caving.

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answers from Columbia on

I'm so sick of people blaming media for the results of poor parenting.

It doesn't really sound like you're looking for advice. You have your rules and beliefs about mature video games, and you have your judgements about the children and parents who allow them.

Have you considered the possibility that the reason both of the kids he associates with "talk violently" has nothing to do with video games and everything to do with the people who are raising them?

My boys play HALO 3 on X-Box 360. They are both extremely respectful, kind, thoughtful kids. When they go to other people's homes, their friends' parents RAVE about their wonderful behavior. They stayed 3 days at my SIL's house in September...and she's STILL bragging about how great they were.

Because we raised them that way.

Their best friend lives down the block..."K" also plays these video games with them, and last weekend be brought over Call of Duty to play. "K" is one of the most respectful kids I've ever met...even more so sometimes than my own boys. I hesitated only a moment when they asked to play it...and said "okay." He's a great kid because his parents have raised him that way. Children don't learn to behave or speak violently from video games...they learn it from their parents. Clearly, if "K" is still a kind, thoughtful, respectful, NON-violent (except Nerf wars)'s not going to be a problem for my kids either...

Raise your kids to know and understand what acceptable real-life behavior is all about and you won't have a problem.

My advice? Quit blaming the problem of violence and disrespectful kids on OBJECTS and start placing the blame where it belongs.

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answers from Spokane on

um that sounds pretty normal for todays 11 year olds. he could probably even tell you about sexual acts too. how i see it is its a game. its not real life. my 5 year old plays call of duty and some zombie games with my brother (whos 15) and shes your typical girly little princess.
however its your choice to allow them in your home. so if you choose to get said games then tell him that hes only allowed to play them for set amount of time or whatever your rules will be for them.
my daughter has a ds and we have a wii and xbox in our home. i only buy her age appropriate games also. we have entered into the 10 and under everyone rated games because preschool games were too young for her. she likes to play the hunting games my husband has and is actually very good at it. she also likes some one my husbands games that are for way older kids. yes she doesnt win or really understand the concept but she likes to play.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Not all X-box games are M - We have several sport related x-box games that are not marked M or teen. My son likes x-box because he can play against his friends - they can talk and play with each other while being in their own home. The x-box is in a common room and I am aware of who my son is talking with and the basics of what they are saying.

Also, my son plays with his friends on x-box, he also is very athletic and plays sports and goes to the park and plays sports with his friends - so he is not just sitting around playing the games.

It is a balance. In my opinion, the more restricted a child is the more likely he will want to do or see the activity that is being restricted. It makes it more appealing.

I agree with you, kids don't need to play M games - but there are compromises such as letting him play age appropriate games on the xbox. I am sure his friends don't only play the M games, I am sure they also play games that are more age appropriate and that you would approve of. Also, limiting time on the xbox is another compromise.

With that said, in the end you are the only one that knows your child and what really matters is that he understands your values and rules.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I have a 10 year old son. We have an Xbox and a Wii. We do not allow M games at this point. My son tells me all the time that EVERYONE at school plays those games, but I haven't given in yet. He loves playing all the sport games on the Xbox though, Madden is his favorite.

It is up to you if you want to allow your son to play M games or not. Just like many other are the parent, pick your battles.

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answers from Atlanta on

No mature games here and never will be. There is absolutely no reason why anyone needs to get immersed in a virtual world in which you are killing other "people" violently with lots of blood shed. There are other games out there with fighting (i.e. the smash brothers brawl, etc) where it's not lifelike and and a virtual killing of humans.

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answers from San Antonio on

If you don't allow them...then don't allow them...

If the video game is raising the child...i.e.they interact with it more than thier parents...then yeah, the kid is going to get some scewed ideas about life.

If a parent plays the game with them or spends more time with the kids than they do playing the game and talk abot the game together...then nope I don't believe the game with trump the parent.

My 8 year old plays a M game...Halo...he plays mostly with his dad, sometimes alone...but he doesn't play it more than he intereacts with us (his parents), his sister, other family, friends, a.k.a. real people. My 5 year old daughter loves to watch them play...and share the experiance with them.

We have to monitor my son's language...hey he learns new words at school , on the bus...even at church (shocker, when asked after picking up from sunday school what a certain word another student used meant)...soooo, is it the game being played or the game rasing the kid...there is a big big big differance!!!



answers from New York on

this doesnt answer your question but when i was in highschool we had one girl we were friends with whos parents were crazy strict.. if she went on the computer she had to wait to leave the room for them to come in and view her history and read all her conversations.. for her birthday one of our friends brought the movie 40days and 40 nights and her mom went ballistic and said she couldnt believe we were all allowed to watch this movie and how we all needed to leave.. we were 16 mind you.. we stayed friends with this girl, but i can tell you it was a running joke between the rest of us about what nut jobs her parents were,
if these kids are true friends to your son they will continue to be his friends no matter what.. they just might not like you so much unfortunatley.. i wouldnt expect your son to have too many play dates at your house.. are there any games yu can compromise one.. maybe one thats not too horribly violent or anything like that and maybe tell him he can only play it once a week or something like that

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