I am a gamer. I enjoy getting home from work, sitting down on the couch and turning on my Xbox to relax a little.
As an adult gamer, I was very happy about the fact that the Australian Government introduced an R-18 rating into video games as this allow me, a responsible adult who has a developed understanding of right and wrong, morals and ethics, to have access to games which I wouldn’t have normally because of the old laws.
It took us a long time to get that rating, and mostly the reason for not having it was that ‘the system didn’t work’. Kids could still access these games because retailers would just hand over the game and not check for I.D.
Today, I have heard multiple students mentioning to each other, and to me, that they’re looking forward to the new Grand Theft Auto V game which was released today.
This game has an R-18 rating. It has themes, situations and incidents which are adult themed…just look at the name. Grand Theft Auto.
Kids are still kids. Yes, we can see, play and experience things a lot easier than ever these days, but that doesn’t mean we should. Kids are still learning, still young and experience counts for a lot of what you learn and what shapes you as an adult. An adult can look at a situation and think carefully about how their actions will affect the people around them, and perhaps how it can spiral on from that.
On average, kids can’t yet. That and playing a game is a lot different than watching something. You’re not just viewing the bad actions, you’re doing them. There is a reason why things are classified at certain ratings. The system is there for a reason.
So, if you want to grow up in a world which treats gamers responsibly, which allows us to have access to the games we want to play…then kids, lets follow the rules. Lets look at the rating and maybe say: I’m not 18 yet, maybe I shouldn’t play this game.
Parents: have the conversation with your child. Talk to them about what they like playing and why, and checking that separation between games and realities. Be aware, because if we do this right, gamers can continue to get more and more respect for our hobby, and more importantly, we can grow these kids into the responsible adults we want them to be.