So Tired of Video Games!

Updated on January 31, 2012
S.M. asks from Everett, WA
17 answers

big debate in our house - 11 year old son wants to buy "Call of Duty" video game. All of his friends have this game or similar (like Halo), so he does play these games elsewhere (at their houses). Also, my son saved up his money and bought the Wii- now he has saved up his money and wants to buy this game. I told him I have to think it over....but I really don't want this game in my house - it is violent, has swearing etc... However, I worry if I don't let him by it, it will become all the more interesting to him...whereas his friends who have these all these games seem to be able to take them or leave them....I also worry because if I had it my way, my kids wouldn't have computer or video game at all....I just can't stand it when I see kids attached and mesmerized by a screen all the time - it makes me sad. I do try to put limits on screen time, but it is always a battle and I am tired of it -but I am feeling alone because as I said before, all - and I mean all, of his friends have these games and more...why can't I just go with the flow? Should I go with the times - and give in to all these games, or do I fight it?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

thank you so much for all the responses - I appreciate each and every one of them and took them all into consideration. Had my husband read them too! : ) We decided to tell my son, how I felt about having the game in the house - and that if we do decide to allow it in the future - there will be rules to follow about when it is played. I love the suggestion about having some outside time before any video games in the house - and also the idea of no video games during the week - make it a weekend thing - (which is doubly good because we are so busy on the weekend - there won't be much time to fit video games in!) Also I love the suggestion for the summertime - that they can play video games in the morning - but during the day - it's time for outdoor activities etc....Thanks again for everyone's input!!

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

Call of Duty is rated M (+17).
I'd not let an 11 yr old play that game at my house or any where else.
There are Wii games for kids that are a lot more age appropriate.
If 'all his friends' have and are playing M rated games - it's way past time that he get a new set of friends.
If the video gaming in general is out of hand - just take it away and unplug all the kids.
He can build Legos, read books, build puzzles, ride bikes, build a fort in the back yard.
They can have a video game day once a month - if they've earned it with good grades and getting chores done and being respectful.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I feel so ancient! Back in my day it was Pong and simple.

If you allow him to play it at his friend's house, why cant he play at home?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

I am a gamer mama and I have my limits on appropriate and not. COD has a language filter so you CAN turn the swear words off, I am assuming he will only be able to play the campaign and not allowed access to play online (can not control) so that is not too bad. However, unless he is very mature for his age I think he can hold off on this one and find a different First Person Shooter if that is what he likes to play. Honestly, the Wii does not offer many, that is why I like it for the kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I guess I just don't think "everyone else does," and "he'll want it more" are good enough reasons. He is 11, and will be a teenager for approx 7 more years. Everyone will always have everything he wants. Someone will always be doing something he can't. Classic teenage ploys. He will learn from this, that he just has to want something really bad and does it everywhere else. So...where/when is the line drawn?? Now, I hope.

YOU are the mom. If you don't want it in your house, it will not be in your house. Period. Stick to your guns.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I have a 12 year old son, but I wouldn't allow him to have that game. I have had to discuss with my husband, who also enjoys video games, that for me it's cut and dried. If it's rated over 17, he can't have it, period. I'm a little more wishy washy on the teen at this point, it depends on the game. He doesn't play during the school week at all, and can't play on the weekend until his chores are done and his music is practiced. Every issue is different, but there have been several times, especially with my 10 year old daughter, that I have to remind them that just because their friends do it, doesn't mean they can. Hang in there.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Of course you shouldn't give in! No one should be wishy washy about their beliefs.

However, we have a few Call of Duty games in our house. I'm not so concerned about the violence or the S*** word (which it has) because it's all about context...but I guess my children don't play the game. My husband and I play it at night together. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I'd say because it is rated 17+ that he cannot get it till he is 17. My son is only 7 and I'm dreading the day he asks for games like this. Also, I don't know if you do this, but we have set video game free days every week. These days are sooo nice because our son knows not to even ask and he spends those days playing legos and riding his bike. We made it a family rule. I know your dilemma because our son begs for us to get a TV so he can get a Wii. He begs...pitifully. I don't have a TV on purpose. And I don't feel like we need a Wii. But this child obsesses over this and sometimes I feel bad for him. But then I think oh well, I have a good reason and perhaps he will appreciate it when he is an adult.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I had a problem with my 15yo buying this! LOL....

but 15 is far different from 11. At age 11, my rule was "NO M-rated games, regardless of filters". It was a difficult rule to enforce, because my older son is 9 years ahead of him!

Soooo, to help with the battle of screen addiction - here's our house rules: before any electronic is turned on....whether it be the tv, computer, or game system....our son has to do something outside 1st. He can take a bike ride, he can walk the block, he can play with his dogs/walk them. Anything outside....before "frying his brain cells". (I love saying this phrase to him...along with stating my belief that "gaming is the death of a generation". I now temper that with "moderation, please. Moderation, people".) A little bit of humor helps.....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I've been in your shoes and my son will be 10 in a month. My husband plays these games and at times they do drive me nuts, but after watching them for almost a year of my husband playing it in reality is just a game.

My husband and I decided that we would let our son play this as he would see and play these games at friends homes and of course watched my husband play. My son got them for his DS. He is not allowed to play online, which is where all the swearing and that comes from. He has a time limit as to how long he can play it, and to be honest he does not play it that often. He is told how of course its not real, and my son has been taught the rules of gun safety as he has 3 guns of his own since he goes hunting with his grandfather, uncle and dad. His grandmother is in the military so he does know that there are situations in this life that are like the game.

In how he reacts to it is in all how you raise him to see it. Yes typically if you keep telling them no they want to find out what the big deal is and most will found a way to play with out your knowledge. As I said my son was on us to get it, he got it and im lucky if he plays it once a week. With black ops as long as you dont let him to online the only thing he will be shooting is Zombies.

I pick my battles and this is one that im fine with compromise. I set the rules as to how he plays, when he plays and for how long. Its a part of life and as long as you instill in him what is real and what isnt I believe there will be no harm.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If he's allowed to play them elsewhere... what's there to give in on? It's like "you can drink elsewhere, but I don't want to see it, so no drinking here" or "have sex at her house, not ours".

I guess I'm just confused. If you allow it elsewhere, why wouldn't you want to be able to monitor it?

In our house, my son's gamer friends (9-13 that he knows IRL.... he has the full spectrum of gamer friends online, including many adults, but that's different since they have no influence over his daily life) parents and I all know which games the kids are allowed to play, and which ones they're not. Sure... they sneak from time to time (an average of 1x per year per kid)... and then they get busted and grounded, or not grounded but just banned from electronics for a time (grounding includes being banned from electronics).

It's a pain, but I'd also rather go through this "Welcome to boundaries" NOW rather than with the aforementioned sex and alcohol stuff. Granted... we may well have to again, but at least there will be solid precedent.

To me, though, it sounds like you have 2 problems:

- Games you disagree with (I don't allow many games in my house. I LOVE Halo -Not only are you 'saving the world', but also end up making an alliance with one of the enemies aka it's not pure black and white. And it's blue glow-in-the-dark blood. I'm not too keen on COD, but there are language and violence filters so you can turn off explicit content and language... there ISN'T any language or explicit content that needs to be shut off in Halo... so I allow COD in moderation).

- Gaming period.

Those are 2 separate issues. My 9yo is not only a gamer... but a game designer in training. He's getting pretty good at it. It's not something I would want to do myself... but it's a passion of his (started when someone told him a job out there is a video game tester... doesn't pay well, no real career path, but designers test games AND get to create them. So I introduced him into the design field a couple years ago.) Even so; we have content limits, and time limits. The whole point being to teach balance. He has to, in order to play games / be working on games, keep his life balanced. We also go over content together, and have frank and lengthy discussions on why some things are allowed, and some things are not. That's OUR compromise. Manda F offered another great compromise. You don't HAVE to compromise, but I would suggest it. That way everyone gets what they want.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I'd fight it. And I'd tell him that he's not allowed to play it at his friends' houses. That's going to be hard for him but I think it's valid and will teach him to be responsible for himself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My son and his friends (and my husband!) have been into these games for years, and yes, my son started playing those types of games around that age too, ugh!
I would compromise, let him buy the game but LIMIT the time he's allowed to play it and stick with it. I know how frustrating it can be to enforce their screen time but If these boys had their way they would play 24/7!!! Mom MUST set some reasonable limits :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I agree with some of the other posters, he can play it at friends so why not at home? i guess I'm more unconventional when it comes to what my son plays, at 5 he's a Marvel VS Capcom whiz! and he's played COD with my husband on a few occasions. BUT your his mother and its your choice if you want him to have this game....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your house your rules IMO. Not only that but those games have age restrictions and they do so for important reasons. Although your son may not understand right now, at his age, his brain is not fully mature and he lacks the maturity and knowledge to foresee and predict consequences for his actions. Therefore, by exposing him to this type of violence and brutality you are letting him be tainted by material he is not yet mature enough to handle.
Further more, IMO this is a good way to start teaching your son that what's allowable for other kids his age is not always acceptable in your home. Imagine if this was a more serious situation like teenage drinking. What if his friends parents say that they are ok with them drinking at their home. And their argument is "well at least we know if they drink here they are safe and they aren't out driving". It doesn't make it ok, there are serious legal ramifications for everyone. So if you want your son to respect your rules when it comes to big issues down the road you should start teaching him now, over the smaller ones that just because everyone else does or has doesn't mean that it is that way in your home.

Since he already has a game system I would just continue to monitor screen time and make a rule he is only allowed to play games rated for his age group in your home. If he is at a friends house playing games that you find inappropriate for him I would make a consequence for that. I would say that if they are inappropriate at home then they are elsewhere as well. Encourage him to do other things at their homes, they can watch a movie, play a sport, go to the hockey rink, etc. Buy him acceptable games to play and allow him to take them to his friends. There are sports games, mario kart racing etc that are all fun. There is a big difference in him hiding the fact that he is playing those games and you condoning it. Even if he does sneak and play them once in a while at least he will know you find it unacceptable and there will be consequences. It's a matter of establishing trust as well. Have a talk with him to explain yourself and point out that you trust his judgement but the little decisions he makes now will affect your trust in him will have an impact on his freedom in the future. If he can't follow the rules when his at their homes then he shouldn't be allowed to go.

Just my 2 cents

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answers from Corvallis on

I'm sure you have gotten a lot of good responses. I say stick to your guns. It doesn't really matter what all of his friends have and it's ok for him to be dissapointed or angry that he doesn't have what his friends have. it sounds like he has already had issues with not being able to disengage when you ask him to and I would say that until he can limit his time appropriately on his own then no new games.

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answers from Portland on

I just asked my gamer husband if he would allow an 11 year old to play COD and he said, "not alone". He's the ultimate gamer and I trust his opinion. The games have age labels on them for a reason. Use your best judgement, but protect them as well. I often hear from my husband that the people he's playing online are worse than the game itself, as far as being offensive.

I do believe that kids who have games around can take them or leave them easier than kids who don't have them. We have seen kids visit our home for a play date and all they want to do is play video games, when my kids are trying to get them to play away from the TV. I usually allow them to play a tiny bit of video games if their parents say it's okay, but only 15 min or so and then they have to play "real" games.

My kids don't obsess over the video games at all, but I'm not sure if it's just their personalities or what. We have neighbors with two boys and one can't get enough of gaming and the other one gets bored with it much quicker. So, it really depends on the kid. If you have a feeling your son might be a little too into it, you definitely need to set boundaries before you buy more games. We don't allow TV or games after school at all. They only get to play on the weekends and we watch the occasional show with the family after dinner, maybe once a week if all homework and chores are done. They'd rather play with us, like hockey or pet shops.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I am a firm believer in the fact that with enough open communication and love and guidance from us, the parents, that our children are not shaped by video games and TV/Movies/Music.

I have a whole grip of boys, ages 20, 17, 16, 12, 8 & 6 and we have ALL the gaming systems EVER made. My boys play the 'shooting games' and like you said, they can take them and leave them. I do believe that this is the case because we have never made an issue out of them or banned them. We play as a family. They play together. They play against their friends online. They play alone. But they also play sports and make good grades. Everything in moderation!

~The only time I *limit* screen time (All electronics actually) is during the summer. Then we have a standing rule that they can have electronics time before breakfast and after dinner but the hours in between are for other fun, like playing outside, biking, hiking, swimming, using their 'Eee-mAg-I-Nation' (say it like Spongebob, have you seen that episode?) and preferably being OUTSIDE or better yet on vacation somewhere! :)

Video games are the way of life in this day and age. We embrace it. It has worked for us. Yes, I have 'Gamer' children...but it's not necessarily a bad thing!

1 mom found this helpful
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