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Parents 'ignore game age ratings'

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the letting-congress-raise-your-children-is-easier dept.

PC Games (Games) 571

Jim Hall writes "With all the fervor recently over the 'Hot Coffee' mod and the upcoming 'Bully' game, I found it interesting that no press time seems to have been given to this little gem from the BBC: Parents 'ignore game age ratings'. I think most of us agree that the games are already rated appropriate to their audience - GTA:SA was previously rated "M" (17 and up) in the US, before public outcry forced the ESRB to move it to "AO" (18 and up). However, as this article points out, parents are more concerned about children spending too many hours playing games, rather than about what type of title they were playing."

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Their lives are too stressful to pay attention! (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306511)

Mr Freund suggested that the problem was that parents felt disconnected from the world of video games and so showed little interest in this aspect of their children's lives.

"Parents are too divorced from what teenagers play," he said.

Most parents are too divorced from nearly all aspects of their children's lives because they are too wrapped up in their own and the lives of those they live vicariously through via the television.

As long as the television isn't telling them that the video games are bad and the politicians aren't doing "their job" and telling parents that the video games are bad then they must be just fine.

Remember, everyone wants the politicians living inside the little electrical box to tell them what to do. Anything else is too much added stress - unless they can place the blame on someone else.

Re:Their lives are too stressful to pay attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306594)

most parents don't deserve to have kids...

In my local paper the other day, there was a front page article of a man being arrested for allegedly molesting two girls age 7 and 12. The mother of these girls had let them spend the night at this 50+ year olds apartment (a single man) whom she described as a "friend of a friend". Where is the common sense? Then again, this 'mom' is probably a piece of welfare collecting white trash (which seems to describe a majority of the population of Maine). It's a good thing I make about 4 times the average household income for this area - someone needs to pay takes to support all these loosers.

Office spellchecker shrugged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306721)

The bitch probably cain't spell, eithur!

Re:Their lives are too stressful to pay attention! (5, Insightful)

TheFlamingoKing (603674) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306650)

I watched a kid no older than 10 walk out of a GameStop just yesterday with a copy of GTA:Vice City. His mom had no say in anything, just paid for the game and left, happy to have her child shut the hell up for 5 minutes.

Also, there are a select group of parents that spoil their child and just cannot say no.

Re:Their lives are too stressful to pay attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306660)

Ha ha Garcia, your karma whoring attempt backfired. YOU FAIL IT!

Re:Their lives are too stressful to pay attention! (5, Insightful)

Caiwyn (120510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306688)

You are right, to a degree. Most parents simply do not care what their kids see and hear in a video game. But this is not only due to laziness -- it is due also to ignorance. Many adults over 30 still consider video games to be "kid's entertainment." The idea that adult-oriented or even pornographic material could exist in a video game format is simply unfathomable to them.

And that is the reason why we still have politicians taking the stance that this stuff is bad for the children. In the collective mind of the older generation, video games are always for kids. Any rating system therefore exists inside that box -- In their minds, M isn't for adults, it's for mature children.

Personally, I think that parents ought to be able to decide for themselves whether their children are able to handle higher-rated content. Being discerning is what parenting is all about. But I'm not naive enough to think that's what's happening here.

Re:Their lives are too stressful to pay attention! (5, Insightful)

brokenarmsgordon (903407) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306695)

It's more than simply being divorced from your child's life, which is almost impossible to do completely. It's one thing to be disconnected, and another entirely to ignore.

The ratings exist for precisely the reason that parents have little interest in the games their children play. The rating labels exist so that a parent doesn't have to play the game or completely supervise to make a reasonable judgement about its appropriateness.

You have to know next to nothing to use a rating to your advantage. If little Johnny has trouble with graphic violence, the parent looks on the box and sees "graphic violence" in the little white rectangle and says "maybe next year, son".

Anything less is negligence, and in that case, the games aren't the issue.

Mod Parent Up (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306746)

Most parents are too divorced from nearly all aspects of their children's lives because they are too wrapped up in their own and the lives of those they live vicariously through via the television.

I don't feel that the parent post is a Troll. Quite the opposite, I feel that this statement is very insightful about poor parents (which most parents today are). People don't spend time with their kids anymore. They don't get involved in their lives and find out what makes them tick.

I blame the way that everything is so much faster in modern society. People work more and spend less time at home. Then, when they get home, the vast majority of people veg-out in front of the television instead of communicating with family and friends.

A lot of people really do live their lives vicariously through the television. Look at the proliferation of celebrity mags and just how much of the news deals with the lives of athletes and entertainers when there are real issues that affect people's lives that they could be covering. Then consider the popularity of reality television.

And, yes, people really do want politicians to tell them (and more importantly) others how to live and how to raise their kids. Look at the "wardrobe malfunction" flap, the "hot coffee" flap, and many others back through the years. Now, note that most of those who nod their head in agreement don't really want to bother with checkin on their kids themselves. They'd like someone else to package up all the work for them for convenience. This sort of lazy parenting is really way too common.

(Of course, I'm probably only this cynical about parents because I'm the son of two public school teachers who have to deal with the product of bad parenting all the time.)

Paying attention to the wrong thing (5, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306753)

Apparently, even when parents are paying attention to their children's gaming habits, they're paying attention to the wrong things.

The research showed that parents were more concerned about children spending too many hours playing games, rather than about what type of title they were playing.

Never mind the fact that some video games can be educational and good for you. Gentle Brain Exercises [] for the Nintendo DS comes to mind. Additionally some studies have shown video gaming can improve hand-eye coordination.

The older generation needs to realize that first of all, video games are no longer just for kids. The kids that were playing them back in the 80's have now grown up and have children of their own, but many of them are still playing video games. This means that there just might be games out there tailored for this more mature audiance.

And to a certain degree, sticking an 18-rating on a game made that title more desirable. "We called it Magic 18," said Mr Freund. "The 18+ label was seen as promoting the content, promising adult content rather then saying 'my parents will stop me playing this.'"

As has been shown with just about anything you put an age limit on (drinking, smoking, pornography), younger children will find this content more desirable simply for the fact that they're not allowed to have it. This might make them curious as to what about it makes the content not for them. In other cases the children will want to use the product to feel rebelious or more mature. Regardless of whether this idea of thinking is stupid or not doesn't stop it from happening.

You'd think that being young themselves at some point, the older generation would understand this phenomena and figure out a way to stop it, but obviously not. You could say that regulartory boards are designed for this, but they've failed miserably as far as I'm concerned. So rather than take direct action, people for the most part seem more interested in abdicating their parental responsiblity to government legislation.

Of course the people who need to understand this most are the people who don't read slashdot. The tech savvy crowd here is generally well aware of modern video games and the content they can contain, both good and bad.

Ironically, most people knew that games had age ratings, the study by the Swiss research firm Modulum showed.

Doh! So they actually do know that games can contain really bad content.

However, parents were still letting their children play 18-rated games.

Double Doh!

To quote the parent, "Most parents are too divorced from nearly all aspects of their children's lives." According to the article it would seem that more people than expected know about what their kids are playing, but just don't give a shit about it. So when society goes to hell because the children of today, just remember it's your fault for doing a shitty job of raising them and have no one else to blame but yourselves.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306517)

first post!!

I think it's about time (3, Insightful)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306529)

We start focusing on the issue described in this article ; as a society it is entirely hypocritical for us to decry game ratings when we do not enforce them ourselves.

The rating isn't some kind of magic shield that prevents your child from playing the game, parents - YOU have to use your discretionnary power(i.e. MONEY) to influence your child's gaming habits (i.e NOT BUY THE "M" GAMES).

Re:I think it's about time (3, Insightful)

Iriel (810009) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306647)

Parents don't want to be required to exert that kind of effort in raising their ill-begotten loin spawn though. Imagine if the minimum ages for tobaco and alchohol were just suggestions with no penalties: wouldn't stop parents from being fast-talked by their own children into buying something that's harmful for them.

I think it's pathetic and quite sad, but just like like parental locks on television and internet, they aren't trying to "do" something about their problem. They want something done for them. On a relatively general level (i.e. not always the case but usually), those that propose bans/restrictions on games are personally offended, and those that support the former don't want to change things, they just want it removed completely so they don't have to worry about it at all.

Re:I think it's about time (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306744)

Um- What do game ratings really matter. We want our kids to be informed, but if they watch/read the news they will be able to see a lot of violence and sex. And it is real violence and sex.
What a joke- does anyone think that kids who have absentee parents are going to be okay as long as they play age appropriate games, and a well nurtured kid is going to be a thug if he plays GTA?
The first thing our eyes see when we are born is a vagina. A vagina is a natural, beautiful, wonderful thing. So are breasts as they provide nourishment, and politicians want to keep these fine things from us.
I had an English teacher who told me that you should ALWAYS read banned books, because whomever banned them got to read them, and why can they read something you can't.

Re:I think it's about time (4, Insightful)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306795)

We start focusing on the issue described in this article ; as a society it is entirely hypocritical for us to decry game ratings when we do not enforce them ourselves.

Too true. Remember the V chip? That was a huge fricken deal that parents could block out certain kinds of programming that they didn't want their kids to see. Its a mandated part of every TV manufactured for the last several years. Just about every TV show has ratings and shows them as often as after each commerical break.

With all of this in place, people STILL complain about whats being shown on tv and the same lame "think of the children" argument.

As reasonable as these advocates try to appear, the fact that they're not appeased after all of these ratings systems are instituted is proof positive that nothing short of eradicating objectionable material will please them.

We knew this (3, Insightful)

HUADPE (903765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306531)

Any of us young enough to have asked our parents to buy games which had ratings (myself included) knew this. Trying to tell teenagers what they can and cannot see is stupid, and will not work. Anyway, "Most parents think their child is mature enough so that these games will not influence them." (the article.)

Re:We knew this (1)

Synbiosis (726818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306637)

I don't think you should be worried about teenagers getting their hands on 'hot coffee' material. Most kids older than 12 has already seen/read/discussed material that's MUCH dirtier than the pixelated bumping and grinding that's in the mod.

I think people should me more worried about those parents who buy games like GTA for their 8 to 10 year olds. Sure, they won't like the fact that they can't get the game, but what can they do? Most 8 year olds don't have $50-$60 lying around, and I think most cashiers would be a little bit weary of a preteen attempting to purchase a game rated M or AO.

GO GO PHIL MICKELSON!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306532)

-8 and in theclubhouse! go go lefty!!! w00t!

Some parents ignore their kids (1)

jlapier (739283) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306534)

(columbine, anyone?)

The ratings are there as a guide, but everyone knows, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

That's where all the bad colts come from....

Re:Some parents ignore their kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306609)

I always preferred "You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think" myself.

Re:Some parents ignore their kids (1)

teksno (838560) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306707)

as cliche as the parent is... sombody mod him to at least 3...

Flat Out (3, Interesting)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306541)

I'm only 30, so I don't consider myself old just yet, but I must say that I found the game "Flat Out" to be just totally unnecessary. While racing games are good fun, I just can't how an obstacle course where the object is to fling the driver through the windshield could be anything but disturbing. What is up with people these days? Are they so desensitized that the only way to entice them to play a video game is with things like this?


Re:Flat Out (2, Funny)

xero9 (810991) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306592)

I had no idea what the object of this game was when I first played it. The guy kept flying out of the windows and I'm like "what the hell am I doing wrong?!"

Re:Flat Out (2, Insightful)

Caiwyn (120510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306596)

You make a good point. I would wager it's related to that line from Mel Brooks's 1000-year-old man:

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die."

Re:Flat Out (1)

the.Ceph (863988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306601)

It's name slips my mind but there was a game where you could choose where and the what degree to apply force to a model of a person. It would then fall down a flight of stairs and you got points for how much potential damage you caused.

It wasn't violent though because you as the protagonist were trying to commit insurance fraud or something to that extent... good times.

The game is called , IIRC, Stair Dismount (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306625)

Just a lil' FYI.

Re:Flat Out (1)

the.Ceph (863988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306642)

Eep bunch of typos above, I found the site of the game. [] It's called Porrasturvat or Stair Dismount in english.

Re:Flat Out (1)

tyroney (645227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306615)

I'd hazard that you haven't played with truck dismount. I still need to check out the newest entry in the series.

missed the link (1)

tyroney (645227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306692)

here's the link []

Re:Flat Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306687)

After every round a message should come up under the high score.
"NOTE: This is why you should wear a seatbelt."

Re:Flat Out (5, Insightful)

Shky (703024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306770)

Desensitized would be if I enjoyed watching real people fly out of car windshields. It's funny when it's fake. That's not desensitized, that's seeing a line between fantasy and fiction.

Re:Flat Out (2, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306787)

What is up with people these days? Are they so desensitized that the only way to entice them to play a video game is with things like this?

Of course not. But a "shock value" gimmick is so much easier to make than, you know, actual good gameplay.

Do stores restrict sales by age? (4, Insightful)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306548)

Perhaps that would get the parents attention if there was a law saying 18+ games must be purchased by 18+ year olds. Most movie theaters enforce R ratings by not selling tickets to 14 year olds. Why not have the same rules apply to video game sales?

Plus, maybe the 18+ games should not be mixed in with the other games. Maybe they should be kept in an area where kids can't shop them with all the other titles. Like they keep 18+ magazines behind the counter. If a parent wants to buy it, they can ask for it.

There IS such a law (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306558)

It just doesn't apply to "M" games, only "AO".

There IS NO such law (1)

HUADPE (903765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306619)

There is no law about selling video games with specific ratings in the US. If such a game happens to contain pornography (I'm not sure about the legality involved with Hot Coffee), it is illegal to sell that. The ratings system is enforced by stores which choose to inforce it, same as the movie rating system, not by law. See US Constitution, Amendment 1.

Re:There IS NO such law (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306646)

Don't all AO games contain pornography? Isn't that pretty much the very thing that DEFINES the AO rating?

I'm pretty sure they could charge the store with corruption of a minor or some other crap.

I know the ESRB's official definition mentions extreme violence, but has any game been rated AO for it's violence?

Re:There IS such a law (2, Funny)

slappyjack (196918) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306663)

It just doesn't apply to "M" games, only "AO".

and if you put Mature and Adult only games together, you see what you get?


I for one, welcome our Chineese Videogame Oppressors.

Yes, Virginia, There IS such a thing as "too much coffee."

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306581)

Like they keep 18+ magazines behind the counter. If a parent wants to buy it, they can ask for it.

A) porno is not the same as a video game.
B) that's up to the store to decide

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (1)

ztuni (878834) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306627)

Is that where they hide the pr0n?

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306691)

B) that's up to the store to decide

Not really.

There are some communities which passed laws saying grocery stores could not sell alcohol in the main store area. Rather, they had to be off to the side, with only one entrance and exit, and someone to check ID's. Alcohol was only sold at that one register, with a specially trained worker (someone who will check ID's). The result in the community was less DUI's and less underage drinking. The downside was there were longer lines to get beer, and then the shopper still had to wait in line a second time to buy groceries in the regular check out line.

States can pass whatever laws they want. My local grocery store will not sell any alcohol on sundays. Why sundays? Because the town voted the law in.

When it comes to video games that are rated 18+, I don't think it is too much to ask a store to seperate those games from all the others. If a 12 year old is looking for a game, he will look through all the titles. Perhaps a 18+ game will catch his eye and the kid will think "COOL!! I WANT THIS!!!!!". Then the kid will either try and sneak the game into his parents cart, or hope the parent does not look at the game to see the rating, or if the parent objects, the kid will throw a tantrum. If the 18+ game was not mixed in with all the others, it would avoid the problem. That kid would not be comparing some car racing game with GTA and looking at both backs trying to decide which one he wanted.

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (2, Insightful)

tktk (540564) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306604)

Perhaps that would get the parents attention if there was a law saying 18+ games must be purchased by 18+ year olds. Most movie theaters enforce R ratings by not selling tickets to 14 year olds. Why not have the same rules apply to video game sales?

It doesn't really work with alcohol and cigarettes. And these two are, for the moment, considered more dangerous than 18+ games.

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (1)

Inoen (590519) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306630)

Meybe we should calm down and think about what it is we are trying to protect the kids from. An animation of someone having sex (Hot Coffee) is allowed for 18+ but not 17?

Do parents these days truly believe that their innocent kids and all their friends are virgins until age 18? Do they believe that the kids should be?

The parents that worry about it can follow the guidelines - and teach their kids to do the same.
And before you say that the paren't who don't care/disagree with the ratings can buy the games for their kids, please consider whether censorship of this kind should be opt-out or opt-in.

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306685)

Spoken like someone who doesn't have kids. Teenager?

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (2, Informative)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306702)

For those that aren't aware, here in the UK any rating issued by the BBFC is legally binding. Any store that sells a game to a customer below the rated age can be fined, and i believe the clerk can end up serving a prison sentence. Yeowch.

Titles rated by Pegi (the european equilavent of ELSPA) don't fall under such a law, but the kind of titles that most people might find offensive are covered by the BBFC anyway.

Sorry for the self-reply. (1)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306748)

Note to self : Preview next time. Wanted to add this : here in the UK we have a rating above 18, known as R18, which is used exclusively for pornography. Titles with that rating can only be sold in licensed 'sex shops'.
I'm not kidding [] .

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306703)

get attention, i doubt it. laws just let society punish people who do things society doesnt like and just create more criminals. if laws worked no one would murder, steal, have really big guns, etc...

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (1)

Monty845 (739787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306788)

There are lots of parents out there who will trust the judgement of thier children and don't fear that violent video games will lead to violent children. As a child my mother purchased just about every video game I played (she preffered to put them on her credit card then have me pay with cash). That included such great titles as Wolf3d Doom and Duke Nukem 3d and the early version of GTA. The censor natzis need the realize that parents don't care about ratings, they aren't ignorant, and go find some other pet project.

Re:Do stores restrict sales by age? (3, Insightful)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306794)

Most stores don't even carry 18+ (AO) games. Additionally, most stores generally follow the ESRB guidelines when selling video games. I can recall quite a few times when a (youngish) kid was turned away from buying a game 'cause they were not old enough.

The primary problem is that the parents purchase the games for their kids without any concern about what might be within.

After all, video games are for kids, right?

Nobody to Blame But Themselves (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306554)

I can ignore the speed limit if I want to. It doesn't mean I'll be allowed to sue somebody every time I get a ticket.

People are responsible for their own mistakes.

Children and 'adult content' in games. (4, Insightful)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306563)

I suspect most of the fervor about this didn't come from the parents in the first place. The thing is, yes, most parents want to protect their children... but most of them also know that the world does contain scary/violent/sexual things, and they're less concerned with sex on television than whether their kid is doing drugs. This is as it should be.

If you're trying to get a child to turn out well-adjusted, which is more important... making sure the kid is never exposed to sex, or making sure he actually goes outside sometimes and makes friends and has a life?

All this says, I think, is that most people really do believe the latter. Media hype generally ignores this... but since when has the media cared about reality? Remember the West Nile Virus, which is really not much more dangerous than influenza? The 'sex bracelets' which most kids had never heard of before the TV was claiming they were all having middle school orgies? This isn't any different.

Today's "No Shit!" article brought to you by.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306572)


Please tell me no one is surprised by this...

my take (5, Insightful)

Will2k_is_here (675262) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306575)

Parents simply assume all games are designed for children. The folks in the government seem to assume the same thing.

Re:my take (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306661)

> Parents simply assume all games are designed for children. The folks in the government seem to assume the same thing.

The government sees the governed as children, regardless of their age. Regardless of the party in power, "it takes a village".

And did you ever notice that it's always someone else that might be tempted to do something horrible by these awful, awful video games, and it's this someone else who has to be protected by having the games banned?

Just once, I'd like some blue-haired fundie to stand up and say "I played $media_bugaboo, and it was so shocking/arousing/offensive that it tempted me to do $evilthing, and therefore it must be banned for my own protection." I'd still disagree with the call bannination, but I could at least give the fundie crowd a few points for integrity.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306576)

They care more about shutting their kids up by whatever means necessary. "Yes yes ok here's that new game now let daddy watch football".


Re:No (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306705)

Except that it'll be tough to watch football when the kids are playing video games on the TV.

Not my parrents (1)

Overshard (907205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306578)

My parrents let me get pretty much anything but FPS or stuff like GTA. Doesn't make much difference to me I like MMORPGs anyways.

But I do think that depending on who it is parrents need to enforce what games they allow their child to play.

Play with your kids it is fun (1)

swestcott (44407) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306580)

I have said this before on a different topic but sit down and play the games with your kids Yes they most likely will beat you badly but it is still fun. My son loves to crush me in Halo 2 but I have a blast I have played all the games in my house with my kids and we talk about them is it really that hard to spend 30 min or 1 hour with your kids.

Re:Play with your kids it is fun (1)

uberdave (526529) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306697)

Time to break out the ol' 2600 and school your kid in the fine art of PacMan or Pole Position, I guess.

Re:Play with your kids it is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306706)

I heartily agree, having never really progressed past Millipede, I am NO GOOD at these games. I sometimes watch my kids play so that I am not completely left behind. And I unplug them periodically to make sure that they recognize that games have a time and place.

Re:Play with your kids it is fun (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306718)

The response from my parents would have been "yes it is" frighteningly enough.

Their idea of time together was doing what they wanted to do while you came along and didn't disturb them. Really fun family.

Then again, their idea of my being selfish was not doing exactly what they wanted. go figure.

well clearly (1)

manno (848709) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306586)

This is uncontravertable proof that partents know how to parent than senetors.

Re:well clearly (1)

LuciferBlack (905438) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306629)

10 Points for the big word...but I'm afraid the judges are taking 9.5 points (rounded up) for the typoes...

Re:well clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306656)

Tell me, what god-forsaken planet did you learn to communicate on?

I don't (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306599)

I'm a parent and I can honestly say that I don't ignore the warnings. They let me know which ones are the most violent. Those are the ones I buy because they are usually the most fun.

Just like parents pay attention to movie ratings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306603)

I can't count the number of times I've gone into R rated movies and seen parents bringing young kids.

HOLY CRAP! I didn't realize... (5, Insightful)

slappyjack (196918) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306608)

I mean, come on, people.

Of course parents don't pay attention to the game ratings. They're printed right on the box! in Letters, often Boldfaced, right there!

You'd have to actually read to learn what the rating is!

When's the last time you saw the masses pay attention to anything that has to be read?

As a correlary: How many of you went to see South Park, The movie in the theater? Now how many of you remember sitting within 20 feet of a bunch of little kids?

A) People piss and moan that there aren't enough warnings.
B) Then they ignore them so they can piss and moan about what they were warned about in the first place and demand bans.
C) Then when the thing gets banned, they complain about how the government is too intrusive.

[Almost forgot: D) Profit!]

one word: fucking people.

Re:HOLY CRAP! I didn't realize... (1)

MindNumbingOblivion (668443) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306742)

...fucking people...
Hey, that's what the Hot Coffee mod is for.

To stop the influx of stupidity (2, Insightful)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306781)

If fucking people are the problem, perhaps the solution is to stop people from fucking >.>

Re:HOLY CRAP! I didn't realize... (1)

Derkec (463377) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306785)

Actually, when I went to South Park in the theater they IDed us when we purchased the tickets and again at the door to the theater. It was stunning and challenging to do with nachos and popcorn.

I'd never before and never since seen that kind of security for an R rated flick.

Parents ignoring responsibility (1)

vspazv (578657) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306614)

The ratings system is an excuse for parents to ignore their responsibility to supervise their children and explain the difference between reality and fiction.

On another note does anyone want to join me later on Broadway beating up hookers?

Re:Parents ignoring responsibility (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306768)

On another note does anyone want to join me later on Broadway beating up hookers?

Sure! I'll bring the tank, you take the helicopter.

As a parent (5, Insightful)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306621)

Raise your kids, not mine, has always been my motto.

I am involved in what my kid plays, what he watches, who he hangs with.

I let him be exposed to more and more as his maturity level grew with him.

I showed him consequences for bad behavior.

I explained why bad was bad.

He's seventeen, and a great kid.

Not that I'm taking my hand off the switch just yet.

Parents can't say NO to their kids, today (1, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306633)

someone I know split the cost of a new car 50/50 with their daughter. Then she decides to move out and *demands* the car. The car is in her parents name and she barely paid $1000 on it.

The same parents also got conned into buying: a 60" TV, Skis, ski pass, clothes and god knows what. When she moved out: an Xbox, a Bed, another TV, a Sterio...

Parent are so afraid that their kids will come back later and say: you were a BAD parent.

Re:Parents can't say NO to their kids, today (3, Interesting)

cttforsale (803028) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306730)

I'll always remember my Dad's motto for me. You can have anything you want. As long as you get it...

Parents ignoring ratings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306638)

Oh, so THAT's why there are so many fake eminem's on the street these days.

Confusing the issue (2, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306639)

The ratings aren't there for parents or children. They are there to prevent law suits a-la Columbine. It is like the McDonalds coffee suit. Now every cup you get has warnings in some cases (Burger King) it is in several languages!


Re:Confusing the issue (2, Funny)

lupinstel (792700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306762)

We need to ban hot coffee in all its forms. Notice how hot coffee always seems to lead to the crotch in some way. Whether spilled it into the crotch or being a reference to sex, no good can come of it.

responsible parenting (1)

cerelib (903469) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306641)

The ESRB ratings are good, but parents should not rely only on the ESRB rating. The ESRB rates games on more that can be read in a review or on the box, so there is some insight there. I think that the ESRB does a good job, but parenting is not their job. In the end parents should be responsible for giving appropriate material to their children. This growing reliance on boards and government agencies to monitor what you and your child are exposed to is getting annoying.

Parents have to be called on it... (4, Interesting)

EFGearman (245715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306673)

They don't normally catch it on their own.

Case in point: A few years ago I worked at a game store. Woman comes in to get a game for her son and after several questions to narrow down which game it was (she forgot, but knew it had cars in it), I got a copy of the latest GTA game for her to purchase.

After asking if she wanted the hint guide to go along with it, and her refusing, she asked if this game was appropriate for her 12-year old.

"No Ma'am. This game is NOT appropriate for a 12-year old. Each game has a rating on the cover (quick explanation of the rating system) and this one is rated M for Mature. It means you should probably be 17 to play it. We don't enforce it, but we do encourage it." I flipped the copy of GTA over and showed her why it had been rated mature.

Needless to say, a parent left a little more educated and her son did not get the game that day. He probably also got a talking to over trying to get one over on mom, but I don't know that for certain.

Re:Parents have to be called on it... (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306740)

Your morality cost the store a sale. How long did you keep that job?

Re:Parents have to be called on it... (1)

EFGearman (245715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306765)

Considering it was a temp job, seasonal (i.e. Christmas) work, lasting another 10 weeks means I didn't do wrong.

I was still working halfway through Feb. of the next year.

Cheers for him! (1)

rdavis542 (878124) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306779)

...but not for long I'm sure. Marketing/sales people are the devil anyway.

Welcome to the state of things... (0, Redundant)

ShoobieRat (829304) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306678)

So because parents refuse to PARENT THEIR OWN KIDS...we have to put up with more and more freaking rating crap.

You know, when are they going to enact a law that says not parenting your children is aliken to child abuse?

BTW, I was reading the ratings on the back of one of my DVDs at home, and one of the reasons it got its rating was because of something called "Brief Language". WTF is 'brief language'??? Who the fk came up with these dumbass rating categories?

Rating as a poor indication of content (1)

Prospero's Grue (876407) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306717)

Ratings seem to fit perfectly within everyone's denial sphere. They help mask objectionable content ("M" gives no indication of levels of sex, violence, or anti-social behaviour) and at the same time, allow parents proceed in the delusion that someone is monitoring what their child is playing for them.

The only rating that many parents seem to be interested in is "appropriate for kids" or not - and that seems to lump T, M or whatever else into the same category...and that's just the way the gaming industry wants it.

I mean what possible logic is there in having a 17 rating (M) and an 18 rating (AO) except to try and blur the line?

The rating is not and should not be used to determine a game's suitability for your child - especially given the disperate range of values people hold. As evidenced by GTA:SA, some parents get very worked up over sex, but are tolerant of violence and glamorizing anti-social behaviour. Other parents might be quite tolerant of sex, but hold a much harder line over violence. They should get informed about the game, but that's harder than checking a letter on the box, or expecting Wal-Mart to make these decisions for you.

As long as there's an uncommunicated desire on the part of consumers (parents AND teenagers) and game manufacturers to keep the ratings vague and generalised - they can't be expected to serve any useful purpose.

There were only 37 parents who gave a hoot (3, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306725)

about ratings in the first place. There were a few thousand more who heard them bitching and moaning incessantly for years who eventually said, "Yeah, Ok, I guess."

The rest of us simply did what we still do; decide what we are and are not willing to supply our children with on our own. Ratings are meaningless for this and I rather resent the implication that making up my own mind is somehow "wrong."

The ratings are just there to placate those few vocal twits who think they need a panel to make their decisions for them and believe they have the right to enforce that panel on others with more brains.

I am the only rating system that counts for my children. I'll screw 'em up as I see fit. Go screw up your own.


Before we all start screaming at "bad parents" (1)

inkswamp (233692) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306731)

As usual, I see the standard-issue "parents are to blame" response. Let's not be so judgmental. Scapegoating parents isn't going to do any good.

If our leaders (both Republicans and Democrats) did what they were elected to do, maybe most families wouldn't be burdened with multiple jobs and working parents and they could actually have time to monitor what their kids are playing. You know, when having a stay-at-home parent is a luxury in our society, that's a sign that we're heading down the wrong path. Pointing the finger at parents not only doesn't do any good, but also focuses on a symptom, not the cause.

If you're one of those people jumping to this "blame the parents" bandwagon, I hope you will stop and consider the big picture. If we have societal conditions that are hostile to parenting, how can we expect effective parenting to take place?

Re:Before we all start screaming at "bad parents" (1)

demon (1039) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306773)

It sounds more like you're letting the parents out of their responsibility. The parents are, in pretty much every sense, the party who is (or should be) in ultimate control of their kids. How are game age ratings, clearly denoted on game packages and explained clearly on the ESRB's web site (and explained as part of their advertising campaign), "hostile" to parents? If you can _read_, you should be able to understand them.

Lousy parenting is what shouldn't be accepted or explained away - parents need to step up and take a little responsibility.

Easy way to get rid of these types of people... (1)

Durinthal (791855) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306732)

1) Remove all warning labels on products.
2) Don't let anyone sue a company for something they caused themself. (i.e. use common sense)
3) Let Darwinism take over.

God I love the irony! (2, Insightful)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306741)

Think about it. You've got a game where the whole point is to steel, kill and blow things up and people are fine with that. But oh, no, show nudity and even a sex scene ... we can't have that now can we? The citizens of this country have one seriously fucked up mentality! It's a never ending source of amazement for me. Oh and remember kids, you can't have manslaughter without laughter!

Future parenthood- views (2, Interesting)

Nevtje(hr (869571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306743)

i don't plan to let my kids touch computers too early (up to 14ish)

i am 20 atm so the earliest i would have game-hungering kids would be in 20 years... thats alot of time, alot is gonna change. for the worse? i don't know. i hope not (i still remember the GREAT non-violent games i got ahold of like 7 years ago...they should make more of those! ie Anno 1602)

but as people have already stated- getting hold of "adult" material is just too easy nowadays, whether in games, TV or newspapers/commercial ads. blocking it in games is far from enough

They Just Need to Retool The Ratings System (4, Funny)

danielDamage (838401) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306749)

You know, the problem is that ratings like AO and M just aren't strong enough. Parents see it and it just doesn't look that threatening. They need to have large icons that show the detrimental effect that the game is likely to have on children. Like: TRENCH! (displays picture of a kid in a black trenchcoat with a shotgun in each hand) This game will cause your child to blow holes you could drive a truck through in their classmates! ANAL! (displays picture of child dragging another child by cute pigtails) This game will cause your child to anally rape their younger sister on a daily basis! SENATOR! (displays picture of legislation) This game will cause your child to run for office in the legislative branch! See, warnings like that will really speak to the actual fears parents have about video games, and then they'll pay more attention.

HEY (1)

eight and a quarter (904629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306752)




Modern day parenting at it's finest (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306754)

Too many parents today want an easy out. They don't want to have to monitor their kids. They want someone else to tell them what is appropriate or not.

I think some parents are more interested in the possibility of being able to file a class action suit against someone after the fact, than thinking for themselves before the fact.

Well of course. (2, Insightful)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306755)

"My kid is better then other kids, he can tell right from wrong, legal from illegal, fantasy from reality, and will never do anything to harm someone" is what probably 90% of parents think. and the other 10% (at least from what I've seen) mostly probably follow them more closely because of much younger siblings. I had a friend in HS that couldn't play violent games because his younger brother would get into them. I'm guessing that as games get more realistic with PS3 and beyond, parents may get the idea, or game violence will no longer strive to be realistic....

Maybe (1)

FLAGGR (800770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306757)

Maybe it's because the games they played, all the coin-ops etc, were innocent. They may hear a games rated M for Mature, but it might not register that yes, their son (because of course girls dont play video games) is going to be killing hookers, stealing cars, killing police and having pixellated sex.

I'm not saying that kids shouldn't be allowed to play those games or anything (personally I think its harmless, if a kid is going to grow up to kill hookers, then if its not video games influencing him, its movies. or tv. or books. All else failing, the voices in his head) but maybe this is why parents don't care?

it's a generation gap thing... (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306761)

my uncle and aunty let their five and seven year olds borrow gta:sa from someone and play it because they don't game, and to them gaming is all pacman and space invaders harmless. they did get banned from playing it though when they picked up the language quickly, like when angry at their parents for something, probably not having another mars bar or whatever, and onw of them remarked to his do "you're just a bitch"

I resemble that remark. (1)

rodentia (102779) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306767)

I am a parent and a gamer. Even I can't keep up with the blizzard of titles and venues and I am not without clue. I can't keep tabs on every entertainment industry outlet, vet their rating boards, watch their films, read their books and play their games and decide what's appropriate and what's not. I am working for a living as well as raising a family.

I don't have time to vet the standards of the standards boards and I don't trust them; I disagree with them most of the time. For these reasons, the default answer in my family is *no*. No TV, no computer, no games. That only works because the children are not yet school age.

I must emphasize that the majority of marketing is directed at kids and the young adults kids envy because they are the ones simple enough to imagine that you can buy a lifestyle, sex-appeal, entertainment, et. al. Until the entertainment and marketing industries stop targeting my kids they will not be above legislative oversight. I don't trust Congress or the FCC to raise my kids any more than I trust Madison Av or Hollywood.

And no, Slashdot Kids, you can't turn off the feed. Its incessant and ubiquitous. Billboards, newspapers, magazines, kiosks: every available surface spattered with promos for generalized and depersonalized SEX and VIOLENCE. I wouldn't let my kids watch the ads for GTA, let alone play the game.

This Just In... (1)

wickedj (652189) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306786)

Parents ignore articles where parents are accused of being ignorant. Details at 11.

Really, when's the last time a parent outright admitted they don't pay attention to what their children watch, listen to, play, etc.

Experience with my cousins (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#13306792)

A few weeks ago i went to play with my 15yo cousins (I'm 30). We had a bit of fun playing games like Prince of Persia, Siren (we dropped that not because of the rating, but because the game simply sucked), and some Silent Hill.

But later we found a game from grandpa called mastermind. We followed the instructions and had fun for about 3 straight hours.

It was then when I realized that game companies only put sex and gore in videogames because "they sell". And there were we, playing a game so simple that could be played with pen and paper - and yet so addictive that we could stay overnight playing it.

Maybe it's time for companies to start producing more "family games".
My 2 cents.

What we have here is a failure to communicate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13306798)

A lot of people still consider videogames to be an activity for kids, so the assumption is pretty much anyt game you buy is going to be okay for, say, a sixth grader.

For most parents today, say someone who grew up during the 80s, "graphic videogame violence" means something like Chun Li kicking a guy in the head, or someone getting decapitated in Mortal Kombat. Nothing kids today can't handle, in other words.

Now consider Grand Theft Auto, which some people find distressing not just for the violence it contains, but for the context in which the violence takes place, that is, the murder of unarmed men and women, law enforcement personnel, and members of the armed forces, with weapons ranging from guns to flamethrowers to chainsaws.

Keep in mind that someone reading an ad for GTA, scrutinizing the box, or even persuing the official strategy guide (which, amusingly enough tends to employ euphemisms, saying "take out the guards" instead of "kill the guards", for example) will not really get a feel for just how graphic and nihilistic the game can get.

Yes, in a perfect world, parents would be fully informed about everything littly Timmy or Sally watches, reads, eats, goes on a date with, thinks, smells, wears, feels, or rubs up against, but at the same time, those who make and distribute content have an obligation not to obfuscate the nature of their products. In the case of "Hot Coffee", to cite the most notorious example, this obligation was not lived up to, and the result was a backlash.

One hopes that the result of the Hot Coffee fiasco will be a twofold improvement of the current situation: first, parents should pay more attention to videogame ratings, and should follow up on suspect titles to see exactly what they are about. Second, videogame companies, and the game media, need to be more up front about exactly what goes on in their more "extreme" releases. Communication builds trust, and trust enables free minds and free markets. The alternative is a paternalistic series of legal regulations like those in Germany or Japan (where GTA: Vice City was at one point banned outright), which would do no one except bureaucrats any good.
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