Porn, Violence, and Parental Responsibility

Posted: December 9, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Game Shirt

A few days ago Destructoid ran a story regarding porn searches and usage on a per console basis. The data was compiled by a porn site that I will not link to here, and was based on traffic at their site specifically. You can find the story here, and it’s quite entertaining:

http://www.destructoid.com/the-ps3-is-porn-console-king-360-is-indeed-for-teens-266917.phtml

As much as I’d love to make jokes about the search results, I’m trying to maintain a certain atmosphere at this blog and having fun with hentai and MILF jokes would probably detract from that…though I do find it particularly amusing that porn surfers on the Wii were the only ones to boast a search for a “large endowment” in their top 10 search terms. Yes, I still find Wii/Penis jokes funny.

Oddly, units sold were inversely related to porn usage...I guess there's a positive in that somewhere.

The PS3 sold the least units of last generation, but those users were dedicated in making sure it was the porn king. Congrats!

Seriously though, I bring this up because I feel it ties directly into the use of consoles by non-adults and how there is very little supervision, or even an understanding of the consoles, by many of their parents. Now, I’m not saying all of this porn searching was done by kids or teenagers. I’m certain that a decent percentage of it, possibly even the majority, was by adults, especially give the average age of game players and console owners being in the 20’s or early 30’s on based on many reports. Still, there is a large enough portion of this being done by those that are not yet adults that I feel it warrants this discussion.

To detract just a bit, those of us that play games are used to them being used as scapegoats for violent acts, usually because the person involved might have played a video game once. Not to divert from my main point, but my stance on this is that while the games may serve as some point of influence, a person has to already be broken somewhere to resort to violent acts. The key is identify that and treat it accordingly. Anyway, the scapegoating then leads to an outcry about violence in newer games, be it the latest Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. This outcry almost universally ignores the fact that a rating system is in place to prevent juveniles from buying these games. I myself was carded when buying Resident Evil 6 a few weeks ago, and I’m 32.

If only some kind of game rating system actually existed...

If only some kind of game rating system actually existed…

So, if the rating system is in place, how do they (non-adults, young kids, etc…) get their hands on these games? Easy, their parents buy them. See, far too many parents fail to educate themselves on the video games their kids play. It’s not like a movie where you can watch a preview and know almost immediately if it’s appropriate. No, games require more effort. You have to actually read up on them to be fully educated on their content, and all too often, this isn’t done. Then, the games are cited as a cause of violence and as being too easy for under-aged people to get their hands on. What’s ignored in all of this? The fact that too many parents don’t take the responsibility required to govern what their children are doing on gaming consoles.

This ties right back into the porn usage. Parents might lock their computer or put safety barriers in place to prevent a visit to the more illicit areas of the internet, but many are completely ignorant to the fact that all current consoles and handhelds can visit those same sites. The porn usage isn’t the sickness, so to speak, it’s only a symptom, much like 10 year-olds playing something like GTA V or a game like Manhunt. Again, this is a failure on the parent’s part to fully understand what their children have access to, and it is incumbent on them, as parents, to be educated on such matters. I’m being a bit harsh here because I believe it is this same ignorance that is at the forefront of outcries against violent video games, be it the latest “shocking” revelation that GTA V has violence and prostitutes (seriously, who knew?!), or the latest iteration of Call of Duty or any other game depicting realistic killing of other people.

Family fun for all ages.

Family fun for all ages.

At the end of the day, it’s always easier to find a scapegoat to blame, and that makes me extremely angry. Like I wrote earlier, it’s a case of treating a symptom instead of the root cause. You may eliminate one symptom, but so long as the root cause of that symptom remains, a new symptom will show up. In our current society, it seems that a loud segment has decided on video games as the root cause they wish to target. So long as that’s the focus, the true cause (mental instability?) for people’s actions will have to take a back seat.

I feel it’s important to note that I’m coming at this from experience. I have a seven year old son that adores video games, much like I do. I’m extremely careful about what he plays or sees me play. Since he’s been three or older, I’ve played through Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil: The Umbrella & Darkside Chronicles, Resident Evil 5, Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Bioshock, and Bioshock 2, just to name a few off of the top of my head. He has seen none of the gameplay from any of those, because I only played them while he was asleep or not home. I realize that not all parents have my level of interest in games, but I do the same type of monitoring on the YouTube videos he watches (he loves Let’s Play type videos). Once I hear one swear word, it is either muted or turned off, and he knows that. It’s why he only watches them when my wife or I are present to monitor them to some degree.

I don’t think it’s unfair to ask that other parents exercise the same level of caution with their children when it comes to the medium of video games. I’m sure more are doing so as the systems have advanced and they (the parents) are becoming more familiar with them, but unfortunately, there are still far too many that would pick up GTA V or Dead Space 3 for their 8 year old without blinking an eye.

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Comments
  1. I love what you wrote here, man. Here’s a link to a piece I did on Nintendojo that I think you’d appreciate http://www.nintendojo.com/features/editorials/toys-video-games-and-mixed-messages I personally find it frustrating how people will slam games for sexual or violent content, yet find it acceptable in EVERY OTHER MEDIUM of art and entertainment. TV, fine, movies, fine, books, fine, but video games? Oh, certainly not! It’s a wicked double standard that needs to be addressed. Seriously, the average episode of CSI is more gory than a multiplayer match in CoD. Thanks for being a true, responsible parent that monitors their kid’s media intake. You are one of few.

  2. JAVGB says:

    That’s an amazing article man. I’d never thought about the implications of M-rated games being promoted via toys, backpacks, and the like, but the point you made is a great one. I just looked at it from a parental perspective, but failed to see how many developers are de-legitimizing themselves when it comes to this issue.

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