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Joined: 2007-05-15

I was talking to the mother-in-law a couple of weeks ago, just after I started reading GP, and the discussion came up about videogames being the scapegoat of the early 21st century. Her and my father-in-law are in their 50s and 60s, and she brought up an interesting point:

When my father-in-law was young, country western movies were the "cause of everything bad that young people do".

Around the time D&D first came out, the scapegoat was roleplaying and people were getting hurt over tabletop games.

For a brief period in that interlude, it was violent movies and music.

And now, it's video game violence.

There's always got to be a scapegoat but every single time, you've got to look at the parents. I won't say that every child is the perfect little angel, I know that most of them are little terrors who cause their parents to go grey at an early age...after all, I know I'm responsible for my mother's grey hairs and my dad had a full head of grey hair by the time I was five, I was a right little monster when I was growing up.

But it seems that with all the studies and political/legal types blaming video games for every bit of bad behaviour and childhood aggression, parents are taking up the banner instead of looking at how they raise their own children.

I've been told by both my parents and the in-laws that there's no handbook on how to be a good parent, kids don't come with manuals. And they're right on that, but parents in the last decade have seemed to use the flavour of the month reason to excuse their "perfect little angel"s bad behaviour instead of being responsible about what their children do.

Increasingly, I've heard of parents allowing their children everything from TVs to computers in their bedrooms and private living areas which the parents never bother going into, then they're shocked when something happens that they could've caught at an earlier stage and possibly prevented if they'd simply paid attention to what their child was doing online and in their gaming habits.

And I seriously can't understand why parents and politicians are blaming the rating system or the publishers for M/MA/R rated games getting into the hands of kids, when the rating system is there to help parents make an informed decision on whether a certain title is suitable for their child.

I think my tips for any parent that has a gaming child would be:

[*]Don't give into your son/daughter's begging for a game. Discuss the game with the child, find out the title and go online. Read reviews from many sites on the game, find screenshots of the game, maybe buy it and play it first to see if you think it's suitable. If it's not, just trade it in at your local EB for cash/credit/another game which you find more suitable. [B]Be informed![/B]

[*]Don't give into the sensationalist hype surrounding video games that's created by politicians and some legal types (I won't name names). Take two seconds to make your own informed opinion instead of picking up a banner or a sign.

[*]Keep the computers and consoles out with the rest of the family. Make it a family occasion for everyone to spend quality time together or just sit in the room and keep an eye on what your kid's up to. Hell, if you're the gaming type, help 'em out with parts of a new game that your kid's having trouble with. Being involved and there for your kid to turn to would mean it becomes a healthy pasttime rather than potentially turning into something dangerous.

And don't just treat gaming this way. Any hobby can be unhealthy, even sports or art classes or what have you.

I [I]wish[/I] that parents would stop for a second in their busy lives and take a moment to see what their kids are up to, I really do. I know when I was growing up, my mother would've seen a lot faster that roleplaying taught me a lot about how to deal with people and different situations where you need to act on instinct if she'd just taken five minutes out of her schedule to sit down and talk to me about it. That took a good five years to happen and now she realises that it helped me come out of my shell and online video games are a fun part of my socialising.

So what tips would you guys give?

Oh yeah and P.S. I tend to make fairly long winded occasionally opinionated posts because I am one of these people who wants to slap the occasional parent, politician and scientist upside the head because common sense seems to be lacking.


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