Not A Review….
Should you cave in and buy a copy of the latest, call of Duty Black OpsII for your younger Teen?
I’ve seen a few Mum’s buying the newly released C.O.D Black Ops II down at our local gaming store this week…I really hope their kids are older teens, if not over 17 years of age at least. But I fear that there will be 12 and 10 year old’s playing C.O.D this weekend.
I haven’t played this game, and because I really don’t like first person shooter games, (don’t have anything against adults playing them, at all! just not my thing…) let alone horrifically violent ones, I doubt I will, ever. However I do trust the judgement of the three reviewers I’ve linked to below. Evidence of the level of violence and horror shown in this game can also easily be found on YouTube, (see clip below) I checked out some “game play” videos and the official C.O.D videos which gave me some idea of the level of violence.
If It’s All THAT Violent Why Is It Rated MA15+?
If your young-un has implored you to get a copy of this new video game rated MA15+ here in Australia, note: it’s rated 17+ in the U.S. you really should read the reviews I’ve linked to below before deciding if your child should play this game, especially if they are under 15 years of age. Keep in mind, as the reviewers below also point out, it is possible that this game might be rated R18+ next year here in Australia when the new video game classification ratings are introduced. From what I understand there won’t be a Mature 17+ coming out as they have in the U.S, the new Australian ratings will jump from MA15+ to R18+.
What New Gaming Classifications?
I support the new proposed gaming ratings. which are due to come into play next year 2013. I believe that consumers need to know what level of adult content is shown in video games, just as they are in films, particularly the games that their kids are playing. Right now the classifications are not very accurate. MA15+ ratings in gaming for example, covers everything from mild violence as in Halo 4 to intense violence, drug use and sexual references as can be seen in Black Ops 11. Ratings on video games and films will always be a little unreliable, each child has different levels of maturity and ability to cope with certain themes, so its always best to read a reliable review or watch it yourself first. Although children under 15 years of age in Australia are not allowed to buy MA15+ games online or over the counter, this of course doesn’t prevent an adult from buying this level of game, and allowing their child to play it. Perhaps if games could be labelled as R18+ (they can’t right now, MA15+ is the highest level of rating) it might give some parents pause before buying such a game.
This Is All Well And Good But How Do You Prevent Your Child From Playing These Games At A Friends House?
This is what has worked for us. If I know that a particular family has different rules from our family in regard to films and video games, I have just asked my kids to respect our rules no matter who’s house they are in, and so far as I know it hasn’t been an issue. In fact, that rule really goes right across the board, my kids have been taught to have respect for the rules of the house they visit, AND our rules, it does take some maturity sometimes for them to make good decisions. They often come home from one particular neighbour’s house telling me that their friend is playing a game they know they are not allowed to play, or watching a film they know is too adult for them, so they left.
For some kids though, they are going to want to play those type of games at their friends houses, and may not tell you about it. You have to decide if you allow your child then to play over at that families house or not. In the same way as you would have to make that call if you knew the family allowed their kids to smoke, take drugs, and drink in the home, and you didn’t allow that. (Been there done that with my older step kids when they were young, they are now 27 years and 29 years of age)
What Are They Going To Play Then? Aren’t All The Video Games Violent?
No not all…and there’s different levels of violence obviously. My boys are 12yrs and 16 years old, and they really aren’t attracted to really violent games at all right now, they like games that are more tactical or creative. I’ve asked them if they would like to play Black Ops II if they could, and they just don’t really. I suppose it’s my influence somewhat, but it means they have gravitated to other sorts of games, perhaps because of my guidelines. There are many games out there with less game violence, and you might have to help them find those games if you don’t want them to only be turned on by very graphic violence. I think if kids play violent video games from an early age, they just don’t get a kick out of less violent more tactical or creative games, so they just don’t try them. You really should supervise your kids gaming to really find out what is OK. I’ve confiscated my kids games after seeing them over their shoulder, or made them take them back…and yes my kids still love me 🙂 They do play some first person shooter games, but I encourage them to play the ones without all the constant gratuitous blood splatter, the less graphic ones, like Halo 4, Minecraft and Portal 2 for instance. Each child is different as to what they like. For the older teen Skyrim is amazing.
What If I Want My Child To Play Violent Video Games?
I am aware that there are some parents who don’t have any issues at all with their child watching incredibly violent films or playing games with adult themes. I’ve personally heard of 12 year old girls playing “Grand Theft Auto” with their parents consent, and kids around 14 yrs of age watching films that are R18+. I’m assuming of course the parents are aware of the adult content these video games and films contain, some parents may not be.
If you don’t mind your child playing what is essentially an adult video game, one important issue, as well as the on screen violence, swearing, drug use and sexual references, is to note: that C.O.D is also an online multi player game, meaning that your little darlings will be mixing it with adults if they play online, and the online gaming community can be brutal, especially if they find out there’s a child around. I don’t like the idea of my children playing online with adults, it’s incredibly risky, and I think completely inappropriate, and therefor I don’t allow it for my kids. Also adults generally dislike it when a child logs into their adult game to play, and some gamers will often tell the kids off in very brutal ways to try and get them to clear out.
Finally: There are some filters on this game which turn the violence down a little and different modes you can play. But in the end you need to supervise all of that if you have a problem with the more adult levels of the game.
What is your experience have you bought your child the latest Black Ops II? Have you played it?
See the ABC Tech and Gaming review from Editor Nick Ross Here: And from David Hollingworth Here: There’s also a very good review from Wired’s Geek Dad Anton Olson on the suitability of this game for kids. Here:
This official Video below from the game makers should give you a taste of how bloody the game can be.
Leonie Presents Cyber Safety Talks for schools, business, and community groups.