My 2 eldest sons are both at middle school, that fabulous age where life is a mix of innocence and a desire to get older quickly.
Many of their friends have gaming gadgets and gizmos; x-boxes, play stations, ds etc, as do we.
A couple of years ago, the boys only played the games we suggested and bought for them. And as is our responsibility as parents, we bought and borrowed fairly innocuous games of build its, racing etc.
However, these days, playground conversations seem to revolve around the latest game the ‘cool kids’ are playing.
Recently, this was Modern Warfare.
I hold my hands up (and my husband’s on his behalf) to not doing any research first, as I would normally do, and off Chris went with the boys and bought a copy.
Again, to my shame, I only watched them play a small portion, and while the 18 certificate did worry me, there was no obvious bloodshed of graphic violence, and I put the certification down to the odd ‘bloody hell’ in the dialogue.
I however went up the wall, back down again, and actually snapped the disk into 4 pieces when I happened to watch my 9 year old complete the game yesterday.
The final ‘win’ comes about by controlling a player with the handheld console to firstly shoot the baddie, wrap a noose around his neck to choke him, them drop him through a glass ceiling. Finishing with his neck and head snapping back, and left dangling.
All with sound effects and blood splattering the screen.
Now apart from spending the rest of the afternoon explaining to my children that this is not entertainment, but reality for soldiers all over the world, I also felt I needed to defend my actions for breaking the game.
Absolutely you could argue that it DID have an 18 certificate, and absolutely I should have done research as I do every other damn time, but what kind of sick, twisted individual creates a game for ENTERTAINMENT purposes that portrays such things, and includes graphics that were scarily realistic.
I’m not going to comment on who does or should play such games, there’s obviously a market for such things, and yes, I’ve watched scary movies (scream and jagged edge had nothing on this), but as an adult of 38 who is relatively worldly wise, I was shocked, and horrified that there were such games on the market where you as the game player are in control of the level of violence to be inflicted.
I snapped the game because I would never want to have such things in my house, and equally would never want to pass it to someone else. The one I snapped is one less game out there. A piddling drop in the ocean, but it felt good to destroy such a thing.
I’ve put a blanket ban on any game coming into the house with anything more than a pg certificate, and whether their friends are playing the games or not, the boys understand just how angry, upset, disgusted and frightened for their innocent minds I am.
As parents it is our responsibility to grow and nurture our children. They don’t have to be desensitised to violence, they need to be aware that it is real life for some people, that we live in a scary world and that is something they need to learn later. Not now.
And to the sick idiots who created the game, you are deranged.