Allowing children to play 18+ video games – Is it neglect?

A recent BBC headline caught my eye.
We have a Playstation and both boys play on it (7 and 4) they have age appropriate games that they play together such as Disney Infinity and my older son will play more complicated games such as FIFA with James. We very rarely let them have any time on it during the week and limit their time at the weekend. They can’t access online forums and I’m happy with their usage at home.

Image courtesy of bulldogza at freedigitalphotos+net

Image courtesy of bulldogza at freedigitalphotos+net

As a teacher I have seen the effects of playing violent games on young children. The extra rough playground games with use of violent language that a 5/6 year old shouldn’t know and gets them into trouble. (I’m a year one teacher) The effects it has on children who are allowed to play games all evening after school till late at night. Making them tired and unable to concentrate and learn the next day.

I want to keep my boys as sheltered as possible for as long as I can. There will be plenty of time for them to play more grown up games when they are older if they choose to. Having studied Psychology at University I am all to aware of the damage that can be done seeing the kind of level of violence and sexual behaviour that is in some of these games. There have been many studies done, showing a link between playing violent video games and increased aggressive behaviour.
Then there is the concern that it teaches your child no morals. You shoot someone, nothing happens, you don’t go to jail, you get extra points. Young teenagers are particularly at risk and playing these types of games at such an impressionable age can have impacts on areas of their life such as self control and relationships. These games glorify gang culture, celebrate brutality and trivialise violence towards women. Not things that I want my boys to think are ok.

Is it neglect letting your child play these games when they are too young? In my eyes yes it is a form of neglect. You are neglecting their social and emotional needs. You are putting them at risk psychologically. You are putting them at risk educationally. Would you take your child to a nightclub? Let them see a fight? Or let them play with weapons?

Should it carry a prison sentence? That I’m unsure of. I’ve seen and reported some awful cases of neglect that I think truly deserve punishment. With this topic I think parents need educating. Educating about the content of these games and the risk they are putting their children at by letting them play it.

Is the School right to send out the letters? Absolutely! Teacher’s and those in a position of care are even more under pressure now, facing prison sentences to make sure they report anything they think is neglect.

Bring back the days when kids were kids playing Tetris, Mario and Kirby’s Dreamland!

What do you think?

13 responses to “Allowing children to play 18+ video games – Is it neglect?”

  1. becca says:

    Personally I think it depends on the child, some children will be able to handle things that as the others aren’t! I was listening to this topic on local radio the other day, very interesting!

  2. Lianne says:

    Such a tricky topic isn’t it!! My boy is almost 11, and we have an ongoing argument about him playing 18 rated games because ‘All my friends play them!!’ – its frustrating, and hard work. On a daily basis I hear him telling his friends over his head set whilst playing games such as Minecraft, ‘No, I’m not allowed to play such and such, my Mum won’t let me’. And while I do my best to shelter him from these games, I know for a fact that he goes over to his friends houses and plays them there anyway… 🙁

  3. It is tough and of course children as young as 5/6 should NEVER be allowed to play these games, but as they grow, things change. The simple fact is parents should know their child well enough to make that choice and it is not up to a teacher at school to dictate what someone else’s child can or cannot do when out of their charge.

  4. Until a child is in their teens, personally, I’d say it’s inappropriate but each to their own at the end of the day. My friends 10 years old is very mature and it always amazes me! I don’t think it’s bad to want to protect our children though — trying to shelter your child and give them age appropriate activities is no bad ting in my mind. These days, kids seem to be growing up so fast! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro |

  5. Until a child is in their teens, personally, I’d say it’s inappropriate but each to their own at the end of the day. My friend’s 10 years old is very mature and it always amazes me! I don’t think it’s bad to want to protect our children though — trying to shelter your child and give them age appropriate activities is no bad thing in my mind. These days, kids seem to be growing up so fast! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro |

  6. I am a great believer in following the guidelines for age, as I think a lot of consideration is taken when giving a game or a film a rating. I think it’s to protect the child. Obviously a parent can decide, some children may need to be even older than the rating because they are easily scared etc. But I really think that these guidelines are there for a reason and we should listen to them.

  7. Emma T says:

    My son’s nowhere near that age thankfully and although we have a wii, it’s not been used since I was on mat leave 4 years ago1 So until he gets into handheld games or progresses from kids app games, we’re probably pretty safe. But the peer pressure is hard. His older cousins are mostly outside, so apart from DS, they don’t really have a yearning for video games.

    I agree that I’d want to stick to age appropriate games. It’s probably hard to do so, but there’s so much risk in how they impact children.

  8. Jenny says:

    I can’t from a family that did not allow any violent games and also the generation as you said of Mario and Tetris which we happily played for our limited time allowance but mostly my parents made us play outside with our friends and that’s what we wanted to do. And this techno age is so different and I worry when my kids get old enough to want to play games is that what they always will want rather than what we used to do as kids. I hope not. Nor will we allow it in this house but at friends house I am sure it will happen. I hate all these killer shooting games. It gives me a bad taste in my mouth thinking about all the school shooting back home and how much these type of games have to answer for it all. Just a theory but a scary one. Great post. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. Happy Easter! #sharewithme

  9. From my experience, kids in their early years of secondary school are routinely playing 18 rated games. I have had to speak to the mother of a friend of my older son and explain that he wouldn’t be coming to a sleepover if age inappropriate games are being played. That mother is on the governing board of the secondary school. I think, in this area, there is a widespread neglect by parents of their fundamental role to care for their kids. Well done for raising the issue.
    Touchline Dad

  10. I have to agree with Becca on this one – I think it depends on the child and how they are parented. Although, I agree with the school too – especially if it means they are renacting things violently. A thought-provoking subject. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

  11. My husband has worked on games for over 10 years. You would think that would make us more lenient when it came to gaming but we’re not. There is no way on this earth that I would let my 10 year old son play Grand Theft Auto Five. The Hubby has played it, I’ve seen the kinds of violence in the game and it is not appropriate for someone who’s 16, never-mind 10!

    I’m not sure parents should be jailed for letting their children play these games but they should be aware of what they’re doing. For the most part I think they truly don’t know how violent these games are. They should be made to sit down and either play or watch someone play the games.

    Great discussion topic, great post. #PoCoLo

  12. Anna says:

    I totally agree with you on this. My step son is 16 and since he was 14 15 has played 18 rated games admittedly I don’t feel he is violent in way shape or form if he was kian or ollie my boys. I would not allow it. I feel like his generation is completely brainwashed by these games and I do think laws should be stricter re these games. Great post !

  13. Laila says:

    Ladies ! What can I do! My husband let our 5 years old play violent games. I have talked and fought about it but he doesn’t care. He only give me excuses . The other day my so. Painted a zombie killing a creature. I don’t know what to do!

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