With the release of GTA V we’ve seen the rise of under age gaming pop its ugly head above water again. This happens once or twice a year with a big 18 rated game release and some of us have a right good natter about it.
Some of you may have seen that youtube video, (which has been taken down now,) with the nine-year old French lad hugging his parents while crying his eyes out. You know why? He’d just got his very own copy of GTA V, given to him by his parents. Yes, parents gave an 18 rated game to a nine-year old, obviously not looking at the 18 rated sticker on the case. Obviously not seeing the adverts plastered on buses, billboards and TV’s across the globe showing guns, prostitutes and all number of things young kids should not be seeing just yet.
Not that I’m saying I don’t like GTA V, it’s a fantastic game from what I’ve played so far. But games, just like movies have age ratings for a reason. To a certain extent I can understand some parents bending the ratings for their kids when it comes to specific games or movies. But that has to be carefully considered first. Parents should have already played, researched or viewed the content before giving it to an under age kid. Which they don’t do and they have no excuse not too. The amount of media and info out today on any game is magnificent compared to 10-15 years ago. The internet is key for research on any new piece of media and should be used for such. When I say the rules could be bent, I mean, given the above research has been followed through and you judge, not only that your child is mature enough to understand the content but also that the content itself isn’t as bad as the 18 rating first suggested, only then should you consider giving it to someone below the stated age rating.
But I’m also not saying it could be given to a nine-year old, I’m talking about bending the rules slightly so a 16 or 17-year-old may get a chance to play something that although, at first is beyond their age rating, could be re-rated by the parents themselves and deemed safe. You have to consider that the age rating system is based on average children and what is safe for them to consume at certain ages. Some children, if brought up right won’t have a problem understanding when something is real or fake, but many do. I’m sure you’ve seen the teens on the buses blasting out rap music and talking about how much fun it would be to hold or fire a real gun. These are the children that are most likely not ready or mature enough to handle a game like GTA V safely, without getting the idea of blowing someone’s head off for real. A slight typecast there I know, but you can only judge from what you see, which is why a parents view on their children is much more accurate, (or should be,) than an outsiders.
I suppose I’m stepping on a few toes with this article. I think it’s the parents responsibility to judge whether something is right for their child, unfortunately, it seems that a lot of parents don’t care what their children bore witness too. That troubles me. I don’t wish to be part of a generation that considers excessive violence or abuse of women to be normal.
Rockstar has a part to play in this. Did they really need to advertise the game as much as they have? I’m sure they would have made plenty of money without billboards with girls showing too much cleavage on every street corner or bus. Instead they did and that drew interest from some of the younger generation. It’s the same reason a sex shop is blacked out from the outside, protecting our children until they are ready is what is important and that isn’t happening. Games don’t cause adults to be violent in my mind, at least stable adults. Children however are much more moldable and pickup new ideas much quicker than us old fogies, that makes them much more vulnerable from outside influences like games, movies and adverts.
What do you ladies and gents think? Am I wrong to think parents should be made responsible for what their kids do? Am I wrong in thinking the age rating needs to be held up as law more often than it does at the moment? Ask yourself, what will the law do about a nine-year old playing GTA V at his parents? If the answer is nothing, then we have a big issue that needs consulting quick. Games are only ever going to get more adult friendly and less child friendly, acting now could help a great deal down the road.