Does It Actually Matter if Kids Buy M Rated Videogames


CNet’s Digital Home asks a compelling question, “Does it matter who buys video games?” In this recent article, the author sites a survey that finds 17% of the GTAIV videogames sold were bought by or for kids ages 6-17. Given that 80% of the kids of the kids that didn’t buy it themselves got it from their parents or older siblings the author takes a stance against regulating the sale of M rated games. His point is that these kids’ parents are likely to go get it for them anyway.

The original intent of not allowing underage kids to buy video games was to stop them from picking up a violent title that their parents didn’t want them to play and bring it to a friend’s house where they wouldn’t know. And while that is an admirable idea, it simply doesn’t hold up.

To think that ID’ing kids for a video game will somehow stop violence and the proliferation of violent video games is extremely foolhardy. If they’re turned down, they’ll simply go to the next place and see if they can win someone over there. And if all else fails, they can enlist the help of an older person.

Stopping underage children from buying video games may be a great PR stunt, but that’s all it is. Children are getting their hands on M-rated games and there’s no changing it. So we have one of two options: ignore it or just forget about age limits altogether. I vote for the latter.

I have to say that I’m going to have to agree to disagree. As a father, I feel it’s important to have those ratings and prohibitions in place. I reserve the right to decide which mature rated videogames… if any my children can play. I also should have the right to purchase those titles which I approve of for my children.

Many parents seem not to be as involved with their children or aware of their activities as they should be. Having an age limit in place serves as a protection to children who might not be able to handle a mature title when parents fail to do their job.

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11 Comments on Does It Actually Matter if Kids Buy M Rated Videogames


On August 18, 2008 at 12:59 pm

I think it should always be up to the parents, not the store, to decide what games their child can and can not play. It’s good that the ratings are there, but trying to enforce them is useless.

The Twin

On August 18, 2008 at 1:37 pm

I used to avoid games when I was below the recommended age for the game. Of course, it doesn’t matter anymore, but, still, for the legalistic people who enforce the guidelines on themselves…

Leo Star Dragon 1

On August 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Hello! Uh, I thought the video game ratings were mere guidelines that serve to advise consumers on what the possible and/or probable content was. Not “laws” that need “enforcing”. I once saw a national neww report on TV about people buyinng movie tickets for one movie but then sneaking into another, to avoid the ratings stigma or whatever it is. (By the way, do the people that tally box office results take cheating like that into account?) Anyway, I wondered why didn’t those movie theaters implu hire police officers then to enforce the ratings, like they do in Norman. So I asked one of those Norman policemen about it, as he took my ticket, and he said the movie ratings are mere suggestions to help parents and legal adult guardians determine the style, etc., of the movie being shown so as they can best determine whether or not they want their child or children to see it bases on the contens. Some children being more mature than others. Plus some parents prefer sex over violence, and vice-a-versa. The exception of course, where it is a law and not a mere suggestive guideline, are titles that are indeed intended for mature adult consumption only, namely erotica be it a magazine, movie, or game. Well, that’s the gist of it for now.


On August 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Well, I suppose the idiots above me need to be told again why these ratings exist. No, they are not for the parent who should decide what their kids can play. As a father of four, I handle that job well, thank you. They are not reccomendations, either.

They exists so that my sons or daughters can’t go into the store and but it themselves. If they try to take it home and play it, then I WILL KNOW ABOUT IT and take that game back to the store and ask the snot-nosed, zit-faced teenager gaming nerd who sold the game to my kid wtf he was thinking.

That said, the rating system isn’t enforced well enough.



On August 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Maybe we should remove age restrictions from booze, cigarettes, and pornography too, because if kids want to get their hands on those things they will.


On August 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Forgetting the age limits would solve alot of problems. Just moving the markers on the back to the front to replace the age thing, they’d have the same “warning” but in a much more pleasant and understandable way. Look on a game like The Guild 2. It’s rated 7+, yet it has both sex and violence in it. Then on a game like Crysis, which has probably the least violence in a shooter, yet is rated 16+.


On August 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Kids/Children should never be allowed to buy “M” rated games. Ever.

I’ve seen what those kind of games do to young kids (GTA) and it isnt pretty…


On August 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm

I tell you what.. killing Nazis in Wolfenstein 3d and crazy demons in Doom ed me up for life.. I’ve personally strangled dozens of babies and punched several women in the face because i played violent games when i was young.

true story.


On August 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Why not just rent. It’s much harder to pry a game out of your kids hands once you have dropped $60 on it. Video games only get into our house through the mail – our family rents online from a company called a netflix-like company. It’s cheaper than buying and you can set up parental controls as well as get ESRB ratings and user reviews on the site.

If we receive a game we object to there’s no argument about it going back. It costs nothing to return and a new one will arrive in day or so, so there’s never much complaint. As has been mentioned above, you really don’t know what you’re getting into until you actually play the game. So buying them doesn’t make any sense if you’re concerned about content. Rent them first, and if you want them (at least this is true with Gamefly) you can buy them for a steeply discount rate. Stop complaining and start renting.


On August 18, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Psh. Anyone from the Doom era is a baby eater. Now we have the GTA era where we go around pimping and slapping es and hoes. Man, only if we had enforced this earlier there would be no gang bangers and hoes walking the streets. Lets face it, the rating system is a peice of crap and I only think its good in very rare occasions. I think they need to redo their system and orient it towards a teen group. Like Serio said about Crysis and Guild 2. Crysis in the hands of a 13 year old wont scar him, Cod4 in the hands of a 13 year old wont scar him, Playboy Mansion in the hands of a 13 year old would scar him. I really don’t think game violence poses any threat to our youth, its extreme games like GTA or sexually orientated games that we should be restricting, not the next great shooter that the kid is going to get from his parents anyway. Hell, if those games endanger our youth, we should stop airing movies on TV. Turn on USA,FX, or HBO and you find ACTUALLY REAL MOVIES with REAL VIOLENCE(real/fake -_-). You don’t see a guy asking for ID standing infront of your tv =|. Look around you, OMG INTERNET.


On August 20, 2008 at 9:47 am

I agree with Ben. Our family has been using Gamefly for over a year now. It’s a no brainer in my book. They have parental control features where you can password protect your account to prevent your kids from accessing mature content, full ESRB ratings, user reviews from both professional game reviewers as well as other Gamefly users and tons of membership perks. In a day and age where games run upwards of $60 a pop it’s the only option I’ll even consider. And, as a parent, one I can feel confident about.