Would You Let Your Child Play A 12, 16 or 18 Rated Video Game?

How Important Are Video Game Age-Ratings?

Help me, pennywise parents.

I'm shopping Black Friday bargains like mad tonight, ticking items off my kids' Christmas lists as if the world was about to end. But here's the thing.

One of my lads has a video game on his wish list that's an 18 rating. And he's only 11 years old. I know, I know, but hear me out.

I'm seriously strict about not allowing my kids to play games or watch movies that aren't age appropriate. They obviously think this makes me the un-coolest mother on the planet, but I don't care. As I'm forever saying, I'm not here to be their friend. They've got friends for that, but they've only got one mother.

But the older my lads get, the more I've started to wonder if I'm a little out of step. Do I wait until their 16th birthday to let them play 16-rating games? And if not, what's the difference between playing at 14 and playing at 12? Or even 11.

Maybe everyone else *is* allowed to play games like Battlefront and Call of Duty, and I'm being an over-protective parent by banning them?

But I don't think so – chatting with other mums, I'm definitely not the only who applies this 'No 12, 16 or 18-rated games' rule to what I let my kids play.

And on that basis, I'm sticking to my view that 11 is definitely way too young to play an 18-rated video game. I'm less sure about the 12 and 16 ratings. It's tricky, too, when one child is allowed to and the other isn't, based on the age differences between them.

But I want to know what you think. Do you stick rigidly to the video game age-rating rules and think it's absurd to even question them? Or do you think allowing your child access to games aimed at older children or even adults is a reasonable step, provided you're supervising their gaming closely and talking about what they're hearing and seeing?

I remember reading in the paper a few years ago about a group of primary school headteachers advising parents that they would be reported to police and social services for neglect if their children were allowed to play video games such as Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. At the time it was something I was very glad to hear. But at that stage those games seemed a long way off.

Ratings for video games are set by Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) and although it's illegal to sell 12, 16 and 18 rated games to people younger than those ages, it's not against the law for younger children to play them.

Intense violence and strong language obviously aren't things I wish to expose my kids to – although my 11-year-old is quick to point out that he could turn off the volume if it's the language that bothers me. Nice try, kid, but I'm still not convinced.

So, no matter how good the video game deals get this Black Friday, I'm sticking firmly to buying only those that are age-appropriate for my kids, much to their dismay. How about you?

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  • Vicki L.

    No they are that rating for a reason

  • Charmaine G.

    My 11yo would be allowed to play a 12. But It's all about a parents common sense for their individual children.

  • Sally M.

    Nope. They are ratings for a reason, a 6 year old couldnt rationlise a 18 game with violence / sexual scenes. Same goes for films!

  • Leah A.

    My daughter is 9.5 and I allow hef to play Terraria which is a 12 and also Super Mario Smash Bros which I feel are fine but she definitely would not be able to play a 16 or 18. She has friends and I know of children as young as 4 owning and playing games like GTA which I think is very wrong!

  • Jacqueline S.

    Depends on the game. Our eight year old isn't allowed to down load or play anything above his "pegi" until my hubby has checked it out and decided wether it's ok. Would definitely not allow him to play GTA etc.

  • Rebecca S.

    If I’ve played or watched something first then yes, we rented a 12 movie with our 13 year old and the language and imagery was disgusting! It was so bad we only watched the first 10 minutes. I think it’s the same as internet access you need to be checking yourself as opposed to relying on others as each child has a different level of comprehension.

  • Bev W.

    No... they have ratings for a reason....that reason being they are deemed unfit for anyone under that age..

  • Beccy C.

    Rebecca Shepherd nailed it with the phrase: 'you need to be checking yourself as opposed to relying on others as each child has a different level of comprehension.'

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