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Rated PP for Please Parent: A Retail Employee’s Rant about Parents Buying Video Games


Parents Meme

I work retail. Where I work is unimportant and irrelevant, but my store has an electronics department and from there I am the associate in charge of video games. Not in charge in a way that actually allows me to get things done in my area (e.g. organize it, price it, etc.), in charge meaning that when things don’t get done they have someone to yell at, but I digress. My point here is that I sell a lot of video games.

I am sure everyone is already thoroughly aware that GTA V came out this past week. Many (if not most) of you have probably contracted the GTA flu, calling off of work and school, and have hooked up an IV drip of your energy drink of choice to combat this contagion. Well in light of this and the holiday season coming up, I thought I would write on the topic of ESRB ratings.

Miley Cyrus VMAs

Nowhere close to as graphic as GTA.

I would like to know what in the bloody hell is going on with parents? You see I had the distinct pleasure of selling GTA V to a mother for her nine-year-old son, while she rudely yapped on the phone, presumably to one of her girlfriends, about how appalling Miley Cyrus was at the VMAs. What? I think I am going to repeat that question for dramatic emphasis: What?

Admittedly I did not help. I made absolutely no effort to explain to her the nature of the game and the laundry list of reasons why it was rated Mature. I have completely stopped trying, and so have most of my coworkers. You see parents don’t want to know, don’t care, and/or have just given up. I remember distinctly explaining the violence of Black Ops II to a very nice but seemingly worn down mother who was buying two copies for her sons, who wouldn’t be legal to vote if you added their ages together. Her response left me utterly flabbergasted. She said, “Yeah but that’s what they want. All their friends are doing it.” I seem to remember that being a cliché that kids said to parents to try (and fail) to convince the parents to let them do/have something. I’m sure this lady’s kids would also like to eat ice cream for dinner, followed by gummy worms for dessert, pick their noses and eat the results, and jump on the couch until it is plushy rubble, but that is also the job of a parent, to say “no” to your kids from time to time.

Family Video Games

Grand Theft Auto is not a family game.

I admit, that it’s probably harder than it sounds. As someone who doesn’t have kids I have no idea of the awesome responsibility that parents hold. However I have next to no sympathy for parents. Perhaps I am a heartless bastard. The way I see it though, you don’t have a kid spontaneously. Certain actions cause it and as an adult, you need to take responsibility for what you and your genitals have created.

But back to video games, I feel it is these neglectful parents that give gaming a bad name. I mean on a personal level I have great issue with being in a COD game and having these tiny little voices shouting various racial/homophobic obscenities at me, but more because they are annoying and some of them are better than me [author’s note: Let it be known that I am shaking my fist at this moment]. On a level that affects the gaming community, I feel that it is because of such neglectful parents that my chosen pastime comes under fire from people like Jack Thompson who decry video games from a position of moral outrage, going so far as to refer to first person shooters as “murder simulators” and link everything from robberies Columbine all to video game violence. While I find such allegations to be as absurd as Dungeons & Dragons being linked to devil worship, I will be the first to admit that violent content in video games can sometimes be disturbing. But that’s why the box says that you should be an adult before you experience it. It is as simple as that. How about we, as a society, protect our young from violence and disturbing imagery. If not for their benefit, then for the benefit of the thousands upon thousands of people who have healthy, developed minds and enjoy these games with no ill effects.

Spoiled Kids

Oh, and one other thing. Though I have no evidence to back this up I suspect that it is probably spoiled brats that never get told “no” by parents who – in their teenage years – scream, throw twitter tantrums, and threaten developers when something in their game isn’t exactly what they wanted. Please parents, for the love of any beneficent god(s) out there, teach your kids that life isn’t fair and that perhaps they can’t always get what they want.

Editor’s Note: GTA V is Rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs and Alcohol. Included in that is a cannibalism scene mistaken for a rape scene, a full controllable torture sequence that includes Waterboarding, the option to drop hitchhikers to a cultist compound to an unknown fate and a strip club with more nudity than past games. While every parent has the right to raise their kids however they wish, they should know what their kid is playing before it is allowed. To any unaware parents, watch your kid play this for an hour and make an informed decision.

How do you feel about parents who let their kids play GTA? Leave a comment below to join the conversation!

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About KotBT

Rob G (known on the tubes as The Knight of the Binary Table, dragonbiscuits, and LordFluffy88) is a code monkey who is a fan of science fiction, rational thought, Apple products, velociraptors, SCA events, and gaming of all sorts, especially pen and paper RPs, board games, and of course video games. Oh, and he's occasionally a fearsome pirate.

8 comments on “Rated PP for Please Parent: A Retail Employee’s Rant about Parents Buying Video Games

  1. Cigar Chompin' Reviews
    September 23, 2013

    If it wasn’t so damned creepy I would proclaim my love for you right now and ask for your hand in marriage. The whole part of saying no to your children, to me at least, is a no brainer. Maybe I’m slightly jaded seeing as I’m convinced that my mother is the current incarnation of Boudicca queen of the Iceni, but if you can’t say a simple no and then coral the little misplaced cum-shots when they throw a tantrum, then you should not be allowed to be a parent.

    • KotBT
      September 23, 2013

      Share the love! I’m taken, but you can ask away.

  2. Ian Kuhn
    September 23, 2013

    As long as the parent is aware, and the child is mature enough, I say game on. But then I was mature enough at a young age to know that violence in the real world is unacceptable. That video games are just that, games, a release. Games weren’t prepping me for a world of violence and carnage, and quite frankly, every day we see enough violence on the 6 o’clock news.

    Part of me thinks that video games should be MORE graphic. Perhaps if people saw what an actual shotgun blast did to somebody, they’d be less likely to perpetuate the actual violence.

    I recall reading a few years ago a father who let his son play CoD, only if he followed Geneva Convention rules, and was punished any time he did not. Now I doubt there’s a whole lot in CoD that wouldn’t be permissible under the GC, but at least it got the kid thinking about his actions and their consequences. (N.B. – I freely admit that I have not played any of the CoD games to any large extent. So by all means, correct me if I’m wrong.)

    • KotBT
      September 23, 2013

      I very much agree, and perhaps I wasn’t specific enough. I have no problem with parents who buy mature rated games for their kids, as long as their eyes are open. If they are informed consumers and they truly believe that the game is appropriate for their child, who am I to argue. It is parents who either have no idea what they are buying (and don’t care to learn) or who know what they’re buying, object to the content, but buy it anyway just because their kid wants it. I find that to be terrible parenting and rather detestable. But yeah, if the parent knows what they’re in for and the kid is ready for it, I concur, game on!

      I will admit that after this article was posted, I took a shot today at work and explained to an older lady who had grabbed GTA V exactly what she was buying for her grandkids. It went back on the shelf. Admittedly she did go and buy a gift card for the exact amount of the game to be given pending a conversation with the kids’ parents, but at least it got the conversation started.

      As for the CoD Dad, I find that to be spectacular. A creative way of bringing a little reality to games in a positive manner. I give him kudos.

  3. Kimberly Scott
    September 24, 2013

    There is a biological difference in young brains, as opposed to adult brains. It’s an important thing to consider. This is why eight year olds aren’t allowed to drive cars. There are plenty of eight year olds who are inherently capable to drive the car, but probably not safely. Everyone’s different, but I think about that for the future. There’s also the consideration of how much children stare at
    screens/games/texts/etc at a young age and the effect on them. That, coupled with strong violence etc, can be a less than ideal mix.
    A lot could be said for making sure that young people get out, see the sun, use their hands to make something in the physical world, read a book, draw, anything. Because they’re growing, developing, they’re a sponge. Even if you have boundaries with your own kids, they’re going to be exposed to things at some point, at a friend’s house etc. So I think that sense of balance, from not being in a 24/7 bubble, might be really helpful.

    • KotBT
      September 24, 2013

      All good points. I would further that there are quite a few adults who would benefit from not being in a 24/7 bubble as well. The amount of violence we ALL take in, whether it is playing graphic games or just watching the evening news, it sometimes makes me wonder if we’re getting desensitized to it as a society. Well I wonder that for a few seconds anyway until someone comes around the corner in Black Ops II and kills me for the third time in a row…

  4. MissRhiosace
    September 24, 2013

    I’m a parent, my little one is 8 years old, and it bugs me immensely when I play games like Call of Duty against kids that are not much older than/the same age as my little one. In most cases I believe it’s lazy parenting. The TV/games console becomes a new parent. Kids have tvs in their rooms a lot younger now than they did when I was my little ones age. My little one has a tv in her room, but games consoles are in the living room, where I monitor what my little one plays. I have grand theft auto v, and I wait until she’s in bed to play it. It’s called being a responsible parent.I think gaming is a super fun way to interact with kids, so long as its responsible. We play Minecraft, lego star wars and so forth together. It’s a really cool bonding experience that allows us to have fun together.

    I went to CoD Black ops 2 midnight release, and there were parents there with their kids, it makes me uncomfortable to think that kids are viewing these images. Grand Theft Auto V is a different ball game all together and perhaps stores/game companies need to be as strict with age restricted games as they are alcohol because here, kids can buy games without adults.
    I, myself, was uncomfortable with the torture scene. I never knew waterboarding existed until I played this game and my thoughts on this I will later post about. However, I have the faculties and emotional intelligence to understand it and why it was there – to make people aware of it. Children are very emotionally immature, there have been several instances of psychological problems in adults who have witnessed something way past their maturity level as a child. In fact, the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) makes several references to this.

  5. Pingback: One Year Celebration of Stay-At-Home Gaming! | Stay-At-Home Gaming

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This entry was posted on September 23, 2013 by in Editorial, Gaming Non-Fiction and tagged , , , , .

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