The challenge of parenting in a consumer culture


#1

The challenge of parenting in a consumer culture

Written by Carolyn Girard, The Catholic Register,

TORONTO - When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 entered her teenage son’s vocabulary this year, Mary hit the panic button. First, she didn’t like that “all his friends” were playing this game with a mature rating, and second, she worried about the impact a controversial terrorist mission within the game might have on his developing mind. The arguments began.

“I didn’t know what to do,” said Mary, who’s name has been changed for this story. “My son is a great kid, he does really well in school and he just wants to play the game to unwind.”

She talked to other parents, researched online and came to the table armed with a few points to back her up. Key to her stance was the game’s excessive and morally offensive violence. But she knew there was a risk he might play the game at the homes of classmates.

“I wanted him to know what values we’re against and why,” she said.

catholicregister.org/content/view/3930/858/


#2

My only gripe with this article is that the lady believes video game violence is automatically a bad thing when it actually depends on how impressionable the player’s mind is (which in turn is determined by age and maturity).

Other than that, it’s an okay article I guess. :shrug: My parents wouldn’t let me play T-rated games till I was twelve and I turned out pretty well.


#3

Personally, I don’t like the idea of preventing teens from playing any video games. I don’t think games influence behavior. Otherwise, to use a game like Modern Warfare in this argument isn’t the best example in my mind. I haven’t played the game, but I have seen others play it, so I am familiar with the context. I don’t think it is that bad at all, but that is just me. It is the bad language from other players you will hear on xbox live and other online gaming venues that I would be more concerned with than the actual game.

A video game like Modern Warfare 2 also helps build teamwork/communication when you play it online. Parents probably never think of this aspect of a video game. But you do work in small teams with people you never met, all of which have to perform some sort of role or action in order for your team to perform the objective or win. You need to devise a plan/strategy. Then make adjustments as needed. Kids will learn that if you try to be selfish and don’t act in line with the good of the team, you will lose. Video games, while the subject matter may be violent, have some positive side effects.

Furthermore, I don’t have a source on this, but I have read things about how people who play video games periodically have better reaction time because they constantly have to be scanning the screen for changes and react to anything that occurs suddenly. As a result, this helps them when they are learning to drive a car.


#4

Just games? Hardly. They promote violence and instill the ideology that violent actions are necessary in conflicts. Responsible parents would not permit such games to be in their homes.


#5

[quote="anglicanmale, post:4, topic:189557"]
Just games? Hardly. They promote violence and instill the ideology that violent actions are necessary in conflicts. Responsible parents would not permit such games to be in their homes.

[/quote]

Uh, hello? It's fiction. Playing a violent game is no different than going to a shooting range or hitting a dummy... except it's all within the confines of a digital reality with your controller as your weapon. :p


#6

I think this article has a lot more to do with how to parent a teenager than it does with video games. This mother has a problem with a particular video game, rightly or wrongly. I think she’s doing a great job explain herself to her son, and helping him learn how to judge different kinds of entertainment on moral grounds. It doesn’t sound like she’s being all ‘video games are evil, therefore you’re not allowed to touch them, ever!’ She being quite reasonable. Perhaps they’ll be able to work out a different game for him to play, or maybe he’ll be able to really think about why he wants to play this game and why it’s not bad for him to play it, and she might be convinced.

Long story short: Communication between parents and their teens is awesome. :thumbsup:


#7

[quote="pumpkinbeast, post:6, topic:189557"]
Long story short: Communication between parents and their teens is awesome. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Hear, hear! :D


#8

[quote="Lost_Wanderer, post:5, topic:189557"]
Uh, hello? It's fiction. Playing a violent game is no different than going to a shooting range or hitting a dummy... except it's all within the confines of a digital reality with your controller as your weapon. :p

[/quote]

Uhmm hello, any violent activity promotes violence. Give peace a chance. I am a pacifist.


#9

Oh I see so people who go at punching bags (boxers) and go to the shooting range (soldiers) promote violence. :rolleyes: Why don’t we all just sit quietly and knit mittens? (Assuming my mind doesn’t fall asleep first. :rolleyes:)


#10

Heeeey, I like knitting! :stuck_out_tongue: I also like video games, so there. xD


#11

[quote="pumpkinbeast, post:10, topic:189557"]
Heeeey, I like knitting! :P I also like video games, so there. xD

[/quote]

Oh darn! To think someone would actually say that. My bad. XD
Okay then how about uh... oh! Sitting in rocking chairs all day. Yeah. :p


#12

I agree in part, disagree in part. For most people, yes, it’s just a game. For others, it’s a murder simulator. Unstable people need to stay away from those games. It also depends on contents. If your killing Nazi troopers-that’s one thing. If your killing innocent civillians, totally different.

I love video games and play them more than I should, so I am the LAST thing from anti-video game.

It’s a comlicated issue. I don’t think it’s black and white at all. Having said that, many times I think a game is just a game.


#13

Of course, I agree. That’s why I said video game violence is actually dependent on how impressionable a person’s mind is. Still, just because there are some loons out there, it doesn’t mean it’s bad for all of us. Saying otherwise would be like saying we should stop drinking milk because there are lactose intolerant people around.

And yeah, killing innocents is always a bad thing. It’s why I find stuff like Manhunt and GTA to be mindless trash. :rolleyes:


#14

I like computer games, but I play mostly rpg’s and strategy games. I played GTA for a bit a while back (I didn’t enjoy it that much so I stopped), but honestly I don’t see what it has to do with killing innocents. The characters in GTA are not people, they’re just code!


#15

Actually it’s less to do with whether they’re real or not and more with the complete pointlessness of the whole game. Then again, maybe they play it differently over there. Down here, every time I see someone play GTA all they do is just punch in a few weapon codes and do all sorts of dumb stuff. “Story mode? What that?” :rolleyes:


#16

Oh please…:rolleyes:

ANY violent activity? Boxing? Tae Kwon Do? Karate? Martial arts? Hockey?

My kids play COD and CODMOD2 - most peaceful teens you’ve met. They play video games for the strategy. My 2 oldest have each played GTA once, and both did not like it, because it was just violence, with no real strategy.

It is a way for them to unwind after stressful school days, and a way for them to be rewarded for jobs well done (all honor roll students, job holding, and extracurricular involved teens). So they do not have a lot of down time, but when they get a chance, they enjoy this.

Outside of video games, in life, Pacifists usually get their behinds kicked. I teach my kids to not START a fight, do not be an aggressor, but if someone ever starts one with them or bullies them, they have my full permission and blessing to FINISH it. (they have all been trained in martial arts, so they can handle themselves well). It’s never been a problem, except one time, when an older kid shoved my younger son into a locker. My son got up, shoved back harder, and the other kid got a bloody nose. A teacher witnessed the whole event, congratulated my son for standing up for himself, and he was never bothered again.


#17

Anglicanmale-

There is an immorality in pacifism. Anyone who declares themselves such would be against the Allied involvement in World War 2.

Would a true pacifist watch while his neighbors get robbed? (I'm just asking) Would they say, "Hey! You stop that...or I'll say stop again..." if there child is getting raped?


#18

If I may say so, I’m proud of you as a parent. Never, ever start a fight, but stand up for yourself and your friends.

Violence isn’t pretty, but it’s sometimes mandatory.


#19

Thank you.


#20

[quote="anglicanmale, post:8, topic:189557"]
Uhmm hello, any violent activity promotes violence.

[/quote]

A "violent activity" like sitting still pushing buttons on a video game controller? :rolleyes:


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