Should Kids Be Allowed to Buy Violent Video Games?

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by RebeccaPollard
A ban on the sale of violent video games to minors is headed to the Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of the California law. 

Parents: This is a big one.

If the Supreme Court OKs this one, they'll be allowing store owners to weigh in on our parenting decisions.

But more so -- the fact that this issue has gotten this far shows we've already ceded some of that responsibility.

I'm not a big fan of violent video games, but with a husband who's part of the generation of 30-somethings who now hang out with their old friends via an XBox modem while their kids are asleep (which I'd prefer to him hanging at the bar), I've accepted their place in the society.

I'd even go so far as to agree with the 2005 study that determined the violent games didn't necessarily cause aggression in kids (a study that has been contradicted recently by other studies, it's true). People aren't all affected the same way by the same media.

That said, I don't want my child playing violent video games, and I won't be sending her into a store to buy one.

But that's my choice. I shouldn't be leaving it up to some pimply store clerk to look her up and down and say, "Nah, this kid isn't ready for blowing up civilizations."

I liken the video game issue to that of books. I don't want my kid reading some of the books that line the shelves at the local library, but it's my job to accompany her into the facility and keep an eye on what she checks out. It's not the librarian's.

And when we reach the point where she wants it, I dare say I'll allow her on the grounds that I get to read it first or with her, and that there's a discussion period after the culmination of the book. Or in this case, the game.

Letting another adult make the decision about our kids isn't a means of protecting our kids. It's letting parents off the hook. If the store's not selling that game to your kid, suddenly you feel as though you never have to broach the discussion of violence and shoot -'em-ups and what have you.

Sorry -- it doesn't work that way. These games exist, just as racial epithets exist in Huck Finn. You can burrow your head in the sand or you can stand up and take your responsibility as a parent.

Deal with them on your own -- don't let somebody else do it for you.

Do you want someone else deciding whether your kid can buy a video game?

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