Teen Rated Video Games. Am I Being Overprotective????

Updated on April 26, 2011
T.J. asks from Pittsboro, NC
23 answers

First off let me say I love my sister dearly. We are really close. At least once every couple of months we get together with the kids and meet somewhere mutual. We live about an hour away from each other so it’s not often we get together in our homes.

This past Sunday my kids and I drove to her house for Easter. We usually meet at my Mom’s for holidays.

While the kids played out front my sister and I pulled out some beach chairs and just sat outside while the kids played.

At one point my son 5, and my nephew 7, went upstairs to my nephew’s room to play.

My daughter came to me and asked if I was aware of the games my nephew was playing with her brother on his Xbox upstairs. My sister made a comment that my nephew has games that maybe I wouldn’t like but they were really no big deal.

I went to check and they were playing a hunting game. It looked so realistic and very disturbing for a 7 y/o IMO, let alone my 5 y/o son. When I checked the case it was for Teen-17+. The picture on the front was extremely graphic of a hunter killing a bear. Well I asked him to pick a different game and he asked which one so I looked through his collection. They were all Teen rated and either Hunting, guns, a police chasing criminal game, etc.…..none I felt were appropriate so I asked my son to come play outside which he did. My nephew remained in his room playing the game. It didn’t help that my nephew has about a 20in flat screen T.V. in his room and it made the graphics on the game just that much more realistic.

When I came back outside with my son, my sister asked what happened and not judging I just said that I didn’t want my son playing those games as they would likely scare him or at the very least cause nightmares.

Her comment was “Oh poor guy! He’s a boy! You need to toughen him up”. My BIL actually sided with me saying that my nephew was used to the games since he’s been playing them for a long time and that it’s true, my son is not accustomed to them. I didn’t mention that my son’s favorite game was Wii Ski. LOL! (we do not have Xbox nor a T.V. in my son’s room though).

At this point some of the neighbors were over, asked what games they were playing that their kids had the same games and same ages as my nephew.

These games are rated teen for a reason right? Am I being overprotective? Are more and more young kids playing teen rated games?

What can I do next?

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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

My sons are now 14 and 16 and I've just recently started to let them buy Teen-rated games. Even so, I don't allow first person shooter games in my house. They can play the strategy type war games but if the screen shows them looking down the barrel of a gun and shooting people, sorry, not in my house.

7 moms found this helpful
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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Good for you. You are not being over protective!

There are some T games that I let my 10y play, but they are mostly Motocross, Demolition, Racing games. Nothing with a gun!

My BIL lets his 8y son play Rated T and M combat games just because my BIL wants to play them and doesn't want to wait for his son to not be in the room.

My cousin lets her 6y play a combat game that is rated T or M just because it deals with WWII and well Grandpa fought in that war, so she sees is as educational. What?!? My son borrowed it, and I was horrified! Luckily my son couldn't get the hang of the game and got bored.

A 5y should defintely NOT be playing Rated T and above games. Games with all that violence rob a kid of the 'shock' factor and how it relates to reality. It makes it harder for kids that play them to not respond with violence because that's all they know.

7 moms found this helpful

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

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7 moms found this helpful
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K.F.

answers from New York on

You are definitely not being overprotective. The graphics and subject matter for these games are more and more severe the higher the rating. Teen games are all about the gutts and gore. What seeing this does to young minds and old minds is it makes them less sensitive to life. It makes one cold and callous. It robs innocense.

Fast forward to when her son and yours are actually teens and become adults. You will see where this leads in the lifestyle and life choices made by each of the children. Your son may stand a better chance of becoming a strong but caring man while hers may because something less than that. It does make a difference.

Continue to make good choices for your son and teach him how to do the same thing.

6 moms found this helpful
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I.N.

answers from Raleigh on

i would have done what you did. my kids are allowed to play sports games and that's pretty much it. YES, they're rated teen for a reason! no need to expose a kid to gory games, imho.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

Heck... I don't let my 8yo play all the ***E*** games out there...

But I DO let him play several Teen or Mature games. (Halo series, & Assassins Creed series)

It's one reason why I get an "approved" list from parents before playdates ("Hey... if the xbox comes on, are there time limits you'd like / which -if any- games would be okay?" We have a pretty decent range; from kinnect dance to lego to first person shooter). I just teach my son that different families have different rules, and we go by the lowest common denominator. Ditto, when he's at friends houses. Some of his friends aren't allowed to play Halo, but are allowed to play World at War (which he isn't). So neither game (theoretically) gets played. In all reality, not ALL of kiddo's friends' families check with us, but most do.

I personally take Teen to = Parental Guidance (although I do 'parental guidance' with E games, as well), and M games to = (not without explicit parental approval).

What bothers me more is the whole peer pressure/ ganging up on YOU that your friends and family did. What's right for one child, even in the same sibling group, isn't necessarilly right for all... MUCH LESS in different families.

3 moms found this helpful

M.F.

answers from Denver on

My husband is a game designer. Has worked for some big companies. We have video games in our house and it is a part of our life.
Our 5 year old likes to play video games.

My one rule is fantasy violence is fine. Things like dragons and fairies and cartoonish creatures. It is very easy for her to know that those are not real.
My husband respects me and does not play the "first person shooters" and war-time games around my daughter.

I go more by what the game is and what it has in it that the rating, as I want to be the one who decides for my daughter, with input as far as her maturity level, what she partakes in and what she does not...
Not some strangers trying to hand out what is ok, one size fits all type thing.

I think it is more important to know what your child can or can not handle based on his/her maturity, that is more important than the rating.

3 moms found this helpful

K.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

This is a very personal choice. I do not think you are being over protective because you are talking about 'your' child...you get to decide what you want him to be exposed to...just like your sister gets to decide what she exposes 'her' child to.

~My 2 boys are 7 & 5 and they are allowed to play the Halo Series games on XBOX...Halo is a shooting game but one we as a family have decided is OK for us. I am more a believer in 'we as the parents shape our kids NOT what they see/play on TV' and I think my boys can handle a little bit of shooting 'type' play. There are absolutely games out there rated T that I do not/will not let my boys play until they are older because I think they are too graphic for their lil' developing brains. But that's just me.

---EDIT---
After reading the other responses I must admit that I am not at all shocked by all the rambling of 'ugly acting lil' boys...OR kids with attitudes' all because they play T rated video games. Where has parental responsibility gone? Must be the 'games' fault...NOT the parents or what goes on their house besides video games?!

2 moms found this helpful
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K.P.

answers from Memphis on

No, you're being "good" protective, and they're being *under*protective!

I'm pretty careful with what my kids are exposed to, because I realized that from an early age my older son would have nightmares after seeing just a few minutes of a scary/dramatic movie, if he wandered through the living room while my husband was watching something. Even now at 6 y/o, he still does. [A few months ago, he watched Pooh's Heffalump Halloween, and that night woke up crying from a scary dream.]

Sure, a lot of parents probably don't care if their kids watch/play games that are too old for them, and some kids are probably okay watching/playing stuff like that (perhaps because they've been exposed to it for so long that they're inured to it). But I think that kids are growing up too quickly, and being exposed to too much too soon, so I think you're doing exactly what you need to be doing, even if most parents are more lenient.

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T.M.

answers from Columbus on

No you're not being overprotective. When my daughter was younger and she stayed the night at my brother's house, I gave them a list of TV shows she was not allowed to watch. We have different opinions and he respected that. And actually, I wouldn't let my child of any age play games that involve killing people or animals.

2 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I think Theresa N's response was perfect. Stick to your guns about what's allowed in YOUR home and don't worry too much about the occasional exposure to violent games. With family, it's best to try to keep the peace as much as possible :)
I remember my little guy watching his big cousins play some pretty awful games while we were at their place. He loved spending time with the "big boys" though the nightmares that followed kept him out of their room the next time we were over (life lesson learned!)

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A.R.

answers from Dallas on

No, you are not being overprotective.
Yes, more and more young kids play teen & mature rated games.

My son is 9. He plays the hunting games, primarily with my dh - but they also both hunt in real life. He has one teen rated xbox game, but that's it. Very recently we allowed him to start playing Halo Reach, but only because the 'enemy' is an alien and only at one friend's house. He is not allowed to play any war type games with realistic people killing realistic people. No games where he is the criminal either (grand theft auto).

All of ds's friends play teen games, many play mature games (Halo, Black Ops, etc etc). Ds is the only kid on the block not allowed to play, and he was being ostracized because of it. So we allowed him to watch his friends play some of the games, and to play the alien based one, as a way of helping him get along in the neighborhood. I not crazy about it, but he's a good well-rounded kid and I know he's playing infrequently enough that they won't be a problem. For us it was a good compromise.

1 mom found this helpful

T.N.

answers from Albany on

No I do not think you're 'overprotective'. However, I don't think it will injure your child in any way to be exposed to such games occassionally while at your sisters house.

So while it is HER choice, not yours what her kids do, what YOUR kids grow up with in YOUR home, is what will stay with them.

So better to keep your sister close, recognize you will always have different parenting styles, and be comfortable (not threatened) with those differences. Least that's what WE do (4 sisters, all very different moms).

:)

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P.S.

answers from Houston on

Are you being overprotective? Nope.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm with you on this one and it's too bad your sister wasn't more understanding that different families have different rules. My boys are 11 and 14. Shooting games are not allowed in our home. We have two games that aren't rated Everyone--Guitar Hero and Need for Speed. I know they are exposed to shooting games at their friends' homes, but it is limited and we talk about it. This is funny--my oldest went to a friend's house to play Call of Duty last week and after 5 minutes the friend wanted to quit because my son was so bad at the game. I was happy to hear that! We actually didn't even have a gaming system until almost 3 years ago. We finally broke down because they were exposed to so many M rated games at other homes. I decided I would rather have them playing games here. My oldest plays mostly sports games on PS3 and my youngest likes the Mario and other Wii games. Anyhow, I think the answer to your final question is yes, more and more younger kids are playing T and even M-rated games, but that doesn't mean it needs to be o.k. in your family or for your son.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.F.

answers from Youngstown on

Well my kids have wrestling games and a hunting game for the wii but other than those two I don't like violent games. I don't see anything wrong with hunting so the game is no big deal and they actually don't even play it my husband does. They prefer NBA or Madden. My kids are 8 and 5 both boys. You are correct though they are rated for a reason. There is plenty of time for kids to grow up.

Updated

Well my kids have wrestling games and a hunting game for the wii but other than those two I don't like violent games. I don't see anything wrong with hunting so the game is no big deal and they actually don't even play it my husband does. They prefer NBA or Madden. My kids are 8 and 5 both boys. You are correct though they are rated for a reason. There is plenty of time for kids to grow up.

1 mom found this helpful
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R.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I dont think you are being overprotective. Although I have to guiltily admit that my 8 year old plays teen games- Halo, Call of Duty, He plays them with his brother and his dad I dont like the hunting games or the cop killing games those are not allowed I know sounds totally ridiculous. He also plays the all the sports games. If I did not have a teenager I would never have bought an Xbox they are really not for kids there are only a couple games that are even almost acceptable. So after all that, your 5 year old is better off not playing the games. Good job.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.L.

answers from Nashville on

I don't think you're being overprotective. Would you let your boys watch a PG-13 or R-rated movie? Those are for the same ages as these video games. Nothing wrong with trying to keep your kids innocent for as long as you can. :)

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W.M.

answers from Nashville on

More kids ARE playing teen rated games, that ist he problem. You are not being overprotective. Good for you for standing your ground. keep in light hearted with your sister so as not to cause friction but in the future, you tell your son in advance he is not to play any of the games OR bring your own that he can play.

J.P.

answers from Stockton on

I personally wouldn't be too worried about the hunting game. Other games, yes, I would have a problem with, but I think I would make my decision on a case by case basis. It's hard being a parent these days!! LOL ~ Ultimately, you have to make the decision of what you think is best for your child. And it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks!! Was your husband there?? What is his opinion on that? I usually leave the boy decisions on that stuff up to him........

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S.H.

answers from St. Louis on

aaah, another family question.....& that's what this is: a difference in how siblings raise their own children.

My Sis & I are proof that we can all make our own choices when it comes to rearing children. Our youngest & our oldest are the same age. When our youngest were ?about 8.....my niece's fav movie was Austin Powers. She loved pretending to be a FemBot....even down to shooting bullets from her boobies. I was horrified that she could also recite many, many lines from the movie. It felt so wrong for an 8yo.

On the flip side, we've followed the ratings for both of our sons....until recently. During my older son's recovery from hip replacement surgery, he introduced our younger son to "M" rated video games. I hate them! BUT it provided a common ground between them, kept my older son's spirits up, & ....was my younger son traumatized? No. He's 14 & if anything, it pumped his ego that his brother was willing to spend time with him. & it turns out that we were in the minority when it comes to allowing exposure to the more mature games.....as my son has been saying.....almost all of his friends have these games.

Would I change how we raised our sons? NO. But we're at the end of having to govern our younger son's moves....& we have lightened up a bit.

K.M.

answers from Chicago on

would you have an issue if he was asked to go on a hunting trip with dad or gpa or someone like that?

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