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Help! Understanding Age Ratings!

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posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 03:30 PM
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I am deeply confused. Firstly, I am not a gamer, never really progressed beyond the Atari, my son, like any normal child these days, is. This Christmas he wanted Halo4, I said 'No' after checking it out and finding that it had a '16' rating. He is 9. Now back at school after the holidays, and many of his friends did get Halo4 in their stockings and I am left feeling as though I am over-protective Mummy. Sooooo...I have tried to work out what it is that determines the age ratings and whether I am perhaps being over zealous. No help whatsoever! In fact, I am more confused than ever.

I have allowed him to watch some programmes and one or two films rated as '15', BUT, I can watch those first and determine whether they are suitable, and as importantly whether I am ready to address the kind of questions the subject matter and content may raise. For example, I let him watch the 'Life of Brian'...having seen it myself several hundred times, I knew it had variations of the 'F' word (frequently) and full-frontal nudity, but was otherwise not going to harm him in any way. I watched a couple of demos of Halo4...it didn't help.

Next, I tried to research how the video games were classified, but this made me even more confused. The classification seems highly subjective, and the official statements as to how the classification is ascertained leans towards parental discretion, and encourages parents to play games with their children in order to understand them. How does that work? I fork out £35 for a game, play it with him, and find that it is grossly unsuitable...too late!

Therefore, in short, is a '16' rated game, specifically Halo4, suitable for 9/10 year olds? Or how can I 'screen' games for their suitability, when I am not a gamer myself?

Any advice and guidance would be beyond appreciated.

Thank you




posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 03:43 PM
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Now in one way it depends on your son, you know him best and you will be able to tell If he is an older 9 year old.
BUT to be safe go with the ratings they are there for a reason.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 03:45 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 

Depends on what you consider suitable. A first person shooter like that when my Son was younger is what I saw as a bit much because it taught the thought process of small unit combat tactics and overcoming simulated intelligence by the comp or actual people in multi-player, to shoot them.

He's a bit older now so allowed to play a bit more at 12... but still not a ton of it. That's my personal opinion. So, it depends on your definition of suitable. (hides in hole from flames sure to come from other gamers)



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 03:45 PM
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Games are generally rated by ESRB so you can find more info there.

One of these signs appear in all games rated by ESRB :-


For more country specific rating details visit this Wikipedia article..



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by boymonkey74
 


That is how I look at it, but how can I ascertain that when I can't actually 'watch it' first? Know what I mean? He is a very sweet little boy, but loves a little violence, as every boy does...and he is very interested in sex
...so I am more concerned about context. For example, I don't mind him hearing swear words, but only if they are used in 'jest'...not derogatory, or as value judgements.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 

Depends on what you consider suitable. A first person shooter like that when my Son was younger is what I saw as a bit much because it taught the thought process of small unit combat tactics and overcoming simulated intelligence by the comp or actual people in multi-player, to shoot them.

He's a bit older now so allowed to play a bit more at 12... but still not a ton of it. That's my personal opinion. So, it depends on your definition of suitable. (hides in hole from flames sure to come from other gamers)



BUT how do determine what is suitable? I have to admit, for various reasons, I am opposed to first person shooter games because the player, from my perspective as an outside observer, get in a 'zone'....which I do not think is healthy in a developing brain...but then, on the other hand, I worry that I am allowing my prejudice to get in the way of his developing normally alongside his peers. *Sigh* I am still erring on the side of caution on this one, but it is so difficult when he is the only one with a no-ing parent. Some of his classmates play 'Grand Theft Auto'...that's an easy one to deal with and say if your friends jumped off a cliff etc...but I seem to be in the minority when it come to the Halo thing.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 

If you're serious on that, Youtube has Demo segments. Here's a pretty good shot of the game for understanding how it plays and story line.




posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:08 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Thanks. I've watched that one. And about a hundred others. That is why I am so confused. No swearing. No blood and guts. Just intensity. And that is what I am afraid of to be honest. What is it doing to his hard wiring? And if that is the issue, why are they not intimating that with the classification system?



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:15 PM
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reply to post by shivaX
 


We've just moved onto the PEGI system in Europe...this is their official stance...


Some readers said that they ignored them due to their own age and lack of dependants; others said that they wouldn't want their children playing content sensitive material, while some believe that age ratings are pointless without parental education.

The latter response echoes a poll carried out by PEGI, which revealed that one in three parents have purchased an age-restricted game for their children.

PEGI has subsequently developed the Control.Collaborate.Create campaign, which includes a video hosted by TV and radio presenter Jo Whiley.

The aim of the campaign is to help parents make the best choices when purchasing video games for children.

Meanwhile, retailers face a possible £5,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence for selling age-restricted material to minors.


Read more: www.digitalspy.co.uk...

It tells me NOTHING!


edit on 12-1-2013 by KilgoreTrout because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


Use your own judgement,no-one knows your child better than you.

My son played games and watched films way beyond his years because he was mentally mature enough, certain friends of his were playing the same games and if they were my kids i would not have let them anywhere near them.
My son is a massive fan of call of duty and knows the name of every weapon in existence and claimed he knew the difference between firing a real gun and the virtual world, which he did to a degree but when we visited Florida 2 years ago i took him to a gun range, full newbie training and an hours worth of target practice which really opened his eyes (still loves the game but understands the reality more).
He turns 18 in 2 weeks and i couldn't be more proud of him, in our case there is no link between game violence and real life, not saying the same for others.
Good luck.
edit on 12-1-2013 by jack burton because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:20 PM
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Here are the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) ratings that are used in the UK. Very similiar to the ESRB ratings we use in the US, as posted by Shiva. My take is that it depends on the child and their ability to separate reality from fiction. If you would let him watch a war movie, or R-rated sci-fi flick, let him play some Halo. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who think 'it's just a video game' and assume they're all meant for kids. Halo is pretty tame compared to a lot of other M-rated or 16+ rated games, but it's still killing other people and creatures, just with less blood and swearing than some.

I sell video games for a living and am always amazed by the double standards of some parents. They are completely fine with their children massacring entire platoons of digital soldiers with all the blood and gore you could imagine, but throw in a digital boob and it's suddenly inappropriate and offensive. One of these things is very natural, the other is not....

PEGI 3.svg PEGI 7.svg PEGI 12.svg PEGI 16.svg PEGI 18.svg
3: Suitable for ages 3 and older. May contain mild violence in an appropriate context for younger children, but no bad language is allowed. Similar to BBFC's U rating and ESRB's Early Childhood and the Everyone (low end) ratings.

7: Suitable for ages 7 and older. May contain mild, cartoon violence, sports, or elements that can be frightening to younger children. Similar to BBFC's PG rating and ESRB's Everyone (high end) and Everyone 10+ rating (low end) ratings.

12: Suitable for ages 12 and older. May contain violence in a fantasy setting, coarse language, mild sexual references or innuendo, or gambling. Similar to BBFC's 12 rating and ESRB's Everyone 10+ (high end) and Teen (low end) ratings.

16: Suitable for ages 16 and older. May contain explicit violence, strong language, sexual references or content, gambling, or drug use (encouragement). Similar to BBFC's 15 rating and ESRB's Teen (high end) and the Mature (low end) ratings.

18: Suitable for ages 18 and older. May contain graphic violence, including "violence towards defenseless people" and "multiple, motiveless killing", strong language, strong sexual content, gambling, drug use (glamorisation), or discrimination. Similar to BBFC's 18 rating and the ESRB's Mature (high end) and Adults Only ratings.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:25 PM
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Originally posted by jack burton
reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


Use your own judgement,no-one knows your child better than you.


I totally agree, but my difficulty is that I don't 'do' games. It is a whole world that exists beyond my understanding, so I cannot judge one little bit. With films, as I said, it is easy. I have either seen them, or screen them before he does. Either way, I am there when he watches them, and can answer questions as they arise...but with a game, it is more about experience rather than simply viewing. You are in there, part of the action, that is a whole different ball game in my opinion.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by skyturnedgrey
16: Suitable for ages 16 and older. May contain explicit violence, strong language, sexual references or content, gambling, or drug use (encouragement). Similar to BBFC's 15 rating and ESRB's Teen (high end) and the Mature (low end) ratings.


As I have said, I have allowed him to watch some '15' films on the basis that he is not going to be disturbed by the content and I am just going to have to deal with some awkward questioning. If we take Black Adder, for example, I can explain to him what 'shag' means, and what a 'prostitute' is...but, watching the Halo4 demos, I am not sure what it is that is getting it classified as a '16'.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:35 PM
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The ratings agencies are a cult and really political as far as choosing what movies and games deserve what kind of rating.

Mainly from a conservative stand point these people give ratings of M and T to games they have an ideological issue with, not really the content necessarily.

I'm a parent, and I NEVER look at ratings. I go online and research the game. I look at trailers, read the wikipedia pages for synopsis etc..

Do not limit your child to 'age' appropriate content. Just becuase he's 9 doesn't mean he doesn't understand the concepts being presented in a game rated for teens. As long as you've raised him with sound principles and that he understands the difference between reality and fantasy, than he'll be fine.

You may think that gaming is outside your realm of things, but remember that these days, games are just interactive films. They use the same tactics in story telling, advertising etc, to build these games these days.

~Tenth
edit on 1/12/2013 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


I know, real hard one, my advice for what its worth is to get involved as there's plenty of multi player games.
Not only will you understand the games themselves better but you can spend some quality time with your child (before anyone comments i know it doesn't replace outdoor activities but it is another tool for bonding).
My ex had no interest what so ever, she really wants to connect with my son now but and as hard as i try he always says she never bothered to be interested in what he liked.

P.S Hope you like 2000ad as well as tank girl.
edit on 12-1-2013 by jack burton because: (no reason given)
edit on 12-1-2013 by jack burton because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:44 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


I feel exactly the same way about classification which is why I have allowed him to watch some and not others. I was recently totally tripped up when I watched Casino Royale with him and we had to switch it off because the violence was too intense for him, and that is a 12A. Life of Brian is a 15, and that just has bad language and nudity. I have tried to research it, but I feel impotent because I can't screen it first. And I do, admittedly, have a prejudice against first person shooter games due to the intensity of some.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:50 PM
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reply to post by jack burton
 


Haha...loved 2000AD...Strot Dog, Slaine, and my all time favourite DR and Quinch (I still have the free badge somewhere)...who couldn't love it!

I do sit with him and watch him play, share the experience if you will, and I have tried to play some of them with him, and bought some games especially for that purpose...I am trying at the present to get into Minecraft...but it is an expensive media to experiment with...



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:51 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


And you have every right to keep him away from things that you think will harm his brian, like violence.

My kids, I don't mind if my 15 year old plays Call Of Duty and he had halo when he was 9. Shooting aliens, way different than shooting humans if you ask me.

What I look for is a change in their behavior or speech after they've been playing. If my son started making light of death and murder and walking around talking all though, you can bet that I would rip that crap right out of him and he'd have to live under my roof, without that content.

But he knows what is real and what isn't and because I've sat down and explaiend it to him, knows how media can effect the way he thinks.

Vigilance is key I suppose.

And to be honest, violence these days, well Casino Royale isn't violent if you ask me. I reserve that title for the gore porn like Saw and such
.

ETA: And I would suggest, because he is going to get exposed to that stuff, whether you want him to, or not, that he gets that exposure when you are around. So that you can educate him on the proper line of thinking.

~Tenth
edit on 1/12/2013 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


Expensive! Ha Ha tell me about it.

I don't think you have a problem at all as you seem like a good parent with your heart in the right place, continue doing what you do and make the wrong decisions now and again as we all do.
If you sit with him and watch him play his games and interact, that will be enough.

As much as i would like encourage you to buy Dredd 3d, don't let him watch that just yet



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 05:02 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


We stopped Casino Royale at his request. He didn't like the repeated hitting in face. Which tells me a lot about what he is ready for, violence wise. He thinks nothing of talking about killing 'things', but faced with 'realism', he doesn't like it.

I found it very interesting reading about the studies that have been, so far, conducted about the effect of video games on brain 'hard wiring'...


"Videogames change your brain," said University of Wisconsin psychologist C. Shawn Green, who studies how electronic games affect abilities. So does learning to read, playing the piano, or navigating the streets of London, which have all been shown to change the brain's physical structure. The powerful combination of concentration and rewarding surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine strengthen neural circuits in much the same the way that exercise builds muscles. But "games definitely hit the reward system in a way that not all activities do," he said.



Even so, researchers have yet to create educational software as engaging as most action games. Without such intense involvement, neural circuits won't change, they believe. "It happens that all the games that have the good learning effect happen to be violent. We don't know whether the violence is important or not," said Dr. Bavelier. "We hope not."


online.wsj.com...

It seems that violent video games are not necessarily creating violent attitudes but they are still changing the way the brain develops, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. What studies seem to suggest is that the gaming experience increases the ability to focus on single tasks while filtering out extraneous distractions. This worries me in other ways. Are we programming children to become factory workers?

edit on 12-1-2013 by KilgoreTrout because: (no reason given)






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