A short rant about age inappropriate video games

I know that I’m not always the best of parents – Belle eats more chocolate chip brioche than is probably good for her, and I’m not known for my consistency – but there are some things I just think of as wrong. Kids playing adult video games is one of these things.

children playing adult video games

Belle likes video games as much as the next 12 year old, but she plays games that involve her designing a stable for a pony and racing it to win rosettes, she isn’t on the streets of America, raping and shooting prostitutes – she is 12 years old.

I was appalled to read today that a shocking 30% of parents admit to buying adult video games for their childrenThirty percent?? Let’s think for a minute and put that into perspective – that’s nearly a third of parents happily letting their impressionable children arm themselves to the hilt, take on the best game booster and spend their spare time being violent and abusive. I know it’s not real life, but the whole point is that at that age, how easy is it for you to make that distinction? How can we possibly be sure that exposure to violence like this isn’t going to have an impact on our children’s growing minds?

The research was conducted by My Voucher Codes and some of the other findings are just as scary – only 23% of parents would stop a child going to a friend’s house where they knew they would have access to adult video games and only 64% would stop a visiting child playing age inappropriate games in their own home; it seems our children aren’t safe anywhere.

These games have age ratings for a reason – they have been looked at by experts and deemed unsuitable for children. What parent would deliberately want to let their children immerse themselves in these worlds?

How do you feel about children playing adult video games?

Photo credit – video games from file404/shutterstock



  1. 20 April, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    Nope- not in ny house and not my kid. In fact My young adult kids, one of whom is still ridiculiusly spending hours of free time gaming have firmly backed up my husband and I with messages against violent games with their younger sister.

  2. 20 April, 2015 / 1:04 pm

    I personally think that parents should at least have a go at playing these games before they give them to their kids. I think a lot of the problem is that this has become the norm and parents don’t understand that the games their kids play differ greatly from games they might have played when they were younger. Every child is different, and age ratings are only a guide and aren’t strictly the law, but I think before parents let their kids play something with an older age rating they should really look at it themselves and they will probably end up deeming it inappropriate, same as with films.

  3. Collette
    20 April, 2015 / 1:20 pm

    This is a rant that seems to have been written by somebody who knows very little about video games. Of course I agree that it’s irresponsible to allow children to play any game they like – there are games out there that are truly inappropriate for children.

    However the age rating system for video games doesn’t work and there are plenty of 18 games that I’d let my 15yr old daughter play. Parents need to vet games before allowing children to play. The comment about raping and shooting prostitutes is a lazy platitude dating back to controversy over Grand Theft Auto. That’s just one game, and whilst I wouldn’t allow a 12yr old to play it’s useful to have a look at the game to understand the context and irony in the game.

    On the other hand each parent needs to make a judgement regarding the level of violence they should expose their children to. Personally I don’t think there’s too much danger in stylized or cartoon type violence in games especially if you discuss with your child what this means.

  4. 20 April, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    I won’t let my girls play games which are not appropriate for them….I don’t get why people do let their children play these games….Grr!

  5. Louise Bassett
    20 April, 2015 / 3:23 pm

    You do have to look at each game individually and make your own judgements as a parent. My son begged for Call of Duty when he was 14 and we kept saying no, but he had played it at his friend’s house. When we asked about it in one of the games shops, we were shown how to turn of the really inappropriate bits, which then brings the rating down to a 15. We did then buy it for him on that basis. It’s sometimes very hard to reach a suitable compromise.

  6. 20 April, 2015 / 3:23 pm

    I think I agree with Collette to an extent. I have a problem being dictated to by an ‘expert’ what is or isn’t appropriate for my child. Surely I am the best judge of this? When the time comes I think I would be willing to play a game myself and witness the degree and type of violence before I decide if this is suitable for my child. My parents weren’t big on censorship and we often watched films with them which were for an older certificate rating. They talked to us about what we were watching which I think was more beneficial than a blanket ban. I wouldn’t let somebody else’s child play an adult game in my house without discussing it with their parents first. Would I ban my kid from visiting a friend who had those games? Probably not but that would be something for us to discuss further down the line. I certainly don’t have a black and white opinion!

  7. 20 April, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    I’m with you on this one – we check everything out before we buy it on commonsensemedia.org – movies, games etc are all given an age rating and a review; I can’t believe more people don”t use it, it’s such a useful tool. It’s also great for the kids to see that it’s not just mum or dad saying something isn’t appropriate, too; when my boys want something that I’m not sure of I get them to check it out on there, and they’re happy to abide with the advice it gives. I recommend you check it out.

    Mind you, all of this is said from the perspective of being an expat parent who’s kids currently live in a bubble; I know that when we return to the UK the gloves will be off and it will be quite a different situation. Not looking forward to that bit, obviously…

    (Not a sponsored comment, btw!)

  8. 20 April, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    I totally agree and think it’s awful too. Mr C has never been into computer games and has never owned a console so I’m not sure we will ever get one although to be honest I am quite a fan myself (not the horrible games, just ones like Crash Bandicoot!) I guess at some point the kids will discover them and want one though x

  9. 20 April, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    That is so shocking, especially as anything screen based can be addictive not to mention the fact that it’s inappropriate and beyond their age. I’m a stickler for this and have even taught F the U and PG code on DVD boxes so if i’m not with him he knows to choose appropriate stuff and he does say no if it’s a PG unless he can ask me first. Children are so impressionable and sensitive to imagery. I think it’s crazy that any adult would go and BUY their kid something like that. I remember talking to a 12 year old boy who actually did have grand theft auto and I was ‘ You do realise that you can kill and rape people in this??’ and they were like ‘oh really?’ Crazy.

  10. 20 April, 2015 / 10:57 pm

    I totally agree and for that reason I am fairly against video games – luckily my two are still very young and have never played any and we don’t have any in the house but I am sure when I have two teenage boys that will be different but Adult games are for Adults and should in now way be allowed to be played by children.

    Laura x

  11. 21 April, 2015 / 9:28 am

    I definitely agree kids shouldn’t be playing the horrifically violent games. It’s almost accepted now though that they will. Remember back in the day when you wanted to watch an 18 so you had to go round for a sleepover at the house of a friend with very relaxed parents? x

  12. 21 April, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    I totally agree with you, I find it really strange that my huband’s cousins are allowed to play 18 games, but they would never in a million years be allowed to watch an 18 certificated film.

  13. 22 April, 2015 / 11:18 am

    totally agree, it’s really odd that parents might be OK with killing games but then not let children watch horror movies. When I was growing up I remember watching an 18 violent movie at about 14 and it really shaking me up so I think it’s really dangerous to allow young kids to play video games which are essentially the same x

  14. 25 April, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    I’m one of those kids that grew up with adult games in 90s, however now games for adults are more real, so I can’t be 100% correct on my opinion.

    It’s a tough world to live in recently. Self control, humbleness and proper education should be enough to lead the kids the proper way, but games deliver unparalleled amounts of endorphin.

    It’s a tough thing to be a parent these days. Sacrificing our own comfort can change things.

  15. 9 May, 2015 / 11:55 am

    Good Lord, I’m glad to read this. Despite only being mum to toddler at present, this weighs on my mind quite a bit. I feel that for most parents it comes down to a lack of understanding of exactly what is in these games – there’s a tendency for people to mentally compare them to 15+ or 18+ movies from our own childhood, which many people think of as tame by modern standards.
    I am disturbed and frightened at the thought of young children playing at murdering prostitutes, beating women and graphically shooting and killing anything, human or otherwise. I often wonder what the young men who died in actual bloody warfare would make of the millions of people playing at terror and pain for light entertainment. It makes me want to grab Orla and run for the hills.

  16. 20 August, 2015 / 3:22 pm

    I agree that kids should not be allowed to play adult games, they might learn something that they shouldn’t learn at their current age.

  17. 13 October, 2015 / 5:10 pm

    I agree that some parents do ignore the age ratings on games, without any regard for the content. On the other hand, some parents decide for themselves, after considering the rating, the content and their individual child.

    It’s a shame that some parents decide to just rule out games altogether. It’s an exciting storytelling medium that can actually expand a child’s vocabulary and also open up a new career, with lots of scope to use writing, maths, physics, art, music and computer programming.

    It’s a shame to cut games out. It would be like not letting your kids watch films because The Godfather is violent. Most games aren’t violent, killathons. I’m a games journalist and I haven’t shot a gun for over a year because there are just so many other kinds of games out there.

    • Jo Middleton
      15 October, 2015 / 3:17 pm

      I think you’re very right Chella, we shouldn’t but a blanket ban on anything because of one worrying aspect.

  18. 10 February, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    For me playing video games is fine, just make sure that what your kid is playing is educational, that way while your kids is playing they also learn. Make a schedule time for playing games that is the way it should be.

  19. 14 February, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    First of all I’m 16 and I’ve been playing inappropriate games from the beginning.I played grand theft auto when I was 7or 8 years old and I have never touched a video game which is not R rated except for sports games and after reading all your comments I have to say playing video games inappropriate for my age did not affect me one bit

  20. 11 April, 2016 / 6:15 am

    Very good information about a short rant video games.

  21. 5 January, 2017 / 3:22 am

    Hello Jo,

    I just became a dad a month ago, I’ve been passing to much time on reading parenting related blogs.
    I can relate to this subject because when I was very young my parents let me play any kind of video games, I remember playing doom and duke nukem.

    It didn’t make me a “troubled” kid, but I can understand it’s not a good thing. I have to thank my parents for showing me what not to do!

  22. 4 December, 2017 / 11:40 am

    I think such adult games should be banned or the government has to be strict so the companies will not sell such games to kids or as another option you need a license for buying such game or after some age only you can buy it. Such rules help parents and they will not buy.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.