NOTE: This was previously posted on my blog, Myssiing Writes. This has been imported for relevance.
I love my kids. And I love video games. I get absolutely ecstatic when I get to play the video games I enjoy with my kids. But, sometimes, I’m not able to do that due to the content of the video games that are out there, or the addition of online play. It’s somewhat of a blessing and a curse for my kids, because I let them play games, but I know the content of the games that are out there.
Today my son was upset because I wouldn’t let him play ‘The Sims 4’. He didn’t see any violence, so he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t let him play the game. I had to sit down and explain that even though it’s not a violent game, there are things that make the game inappropriate. I told him that if I were his friend, I wouldn’t care which games he played. But, as his parent, I can’t let him play games that contain material that’s not meant for him. He wasn’t happy about it, but he understood.
He was angry, but he got over it. I didn’t give in because he was upset. I play Sims 4 quite a bit, so I KNOW the content in that game inside and out. Woo-hooing (or, really, all of the Romantic actions) isn’t appropriate for a six year old. But, regardless of what I know, there’s a system in place for people to see what’s in the game without even playing it. The ESRB is a ratings system used here in America for video games (it’s the PEGI system in Europe).
Here’s what the ESRB has to say about Sims 4:
Obviously, not meant for a six year old. And, I can do this with any game.
This doesn’t make me special. Any parent can check in on any game that has been rated by the ESRB by visiting their website. (You can click here to find it.) If I’m in the store, and the kids are asking me for a game that they want, but I know nothing about it, the ESRB has implemented an on-the-go app for smartphones. (That’s here.)
Check the ratings on your kids’ games. Just because it seems innocent doesn’t mean it is. You may find that something is rated lower, but you disagree with some of the content. Or, it may be rated higher, and you feel your kid is mature enough to handle that kind of content. Be aware, know your kids, be a parent.