Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: Parental Guidance Suggested .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Parental Guidance Suggested

The latest stink from the "decency" folks is the discovery that, with a certain download from the internet, players can alter the characters in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to appear without clothes and in suggestive positions.

I have issues with this. First of all, this game is rated M (for Mature, 17+ years of age). Yet I know of several pre-teenagers (as young as ten) who received this game for Christmas from their parents (er, sorry, Santa Claus). This, and several other games like it, enable players to acheive their goals by graphically killing police officers and innnocent bystanders for points using everything from rocket launchers to baseball bats.

Anyone who buys this game for a child needs serious parental counseling. It spells out right on the case why it's rated M.

  • Blood and Gore
  • Intense Violence
  • Strong Language
  • Strong Sexual Content
  • Use of Drugs
So even if the parents don't mind that their children are actively engaging in acts of intense violence, and experiencing the blood and gore produced by it, what about the the strong sexual content already inherent in the game? In the game, as described to me by a 12-year-old, "if you pull up next to the girls in the tight dresses, one will get in your car with you, the car will rock back and forth, and you get extra points". So apparently, if they don't understand what they're doing, it's okay.

Sexual innuendo has been in "juvenile" media for a long time. Fritz the Cat in the Seventies, Heavy Metal in the Eighties, and Tank Girl in the Nineties are all prime examples. Even in today's video games it's rampant. Just check out any beach vollyball game from the video store and you'll see racier footage than any that was considered risque in the past. So why is animated characters "gettin' nekked" so taboo all of a sudden? Is it because of the "values" being spewed by our corrupt politicians these days?

The issue here appears to be that nudity and "compromising positions" are available in a video game when extra steps are taken to activate them. Given the nature of R-rated movies (also rated for 17+), this is much less irresponsible than allowing your child to see Club Dread (also rated R for blood, gore, nudity and sexual content).

I say, if you're so adamant about your children not getting exposed to these concepts, then apply more parental supervision to your children's activities. Approve what they can watch on TV. Monitor what they view and download on the internet. Watch them play their video games occasionally, and let them know when you dissaprove of their actions ("Why are you smashing those people in the head with that golf club?"). Don't buy them age-inappropriate media (there's a reason why there are ratings on DVDs, CDs and video games). And pay attention to who they're hanging out with and what their views on the world are.

They're talking to you all the time, even if you don't realize it. They need your guidance, and your approval. Give them guidance all the time, and your approval when it's deserved. And your disapproval when necessary.

If you shirk this basic parental responsibility, still allow your children to partake of any media that comes along, and then whine about it's affect on them, you have no one to blame but yourself.


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