I am HONOURED and utterly excited beyond words to host this sublime and very funny guest post by the wonderful @Pols80.
Whoah… it’s big in here, innit? Big and bright here, inside Spencer’s AWARD WINNING blog. Bear with me a sec while I compose myself and check my skirt isn’t tucked into my knickers or anything.
I’m no prude; my modest number of Twitter followers will attest to this. No, I am a woman of the world and am no stranger to the odd F-word or mention of The Sex. Nor am I a perfect parent; all of my children will attest to that. We won’t mention the Baby On Top Of The Wardrobe incident, or the Knocking The Boy Out With The Car Door incident. Nope, we’ll gloss over those. Also, I’m 32 years old, which means I’m old enough t do pretty much anything I want, except wear corduroy or take my teeth out at night. This means I can drink alcohol (anyone familiar with Drunk Pols might say this is no good thing), drive, vote and do The Sex. It also means I’m old enough to make educated(ish) choices… I’m mature enough to understand the complexities of relationships, to choose not to take drugs, and to be strong enough in character not to be easily led. Most of these things, I reckon, have come with age.
That’s really why I’m here – age, age appropriateness and parenting. This week, my nine year old has been teased mercilessly because I won’t allow him to have any of the Grand Theft Auto games for his PS3. This game is an 18 certificate so he can’t go into a shop and buy it for himself, his dad and I were his only chance. I have to be honest and say I’ve never played any of these games, but I’ve done a bit of reading about them. The 18 rating, it seems, is there because the game features adult content. A lot of adult content. At the beginning of the newest game, one of the characters catches his wife in bed with her tennis coach. The games also feature drug deals, prostitutes and violence. Apparently there are extra points for killing women, and there’s even a special “up skirt” section. All in all, it’s fair to say it’s not a game for children.
Except my son is the only one of his group of friends who doesn’t have any of the games. Every one of his eight, nine and ten year old friends have at least one of them. Every one. Given that none of them are unnaturally tall or growing beards, we kind of have to assume that it was bought for them by an adult. Why would you do that? Why would any parent actively encourage their child to immerse themselves in this stuff? “Hold your horses, Pols” I hear you say. “Maybe they don’t realise what’s in it.” And that would be a fair point, Except, of course, that it’s pretty clear that it’s an 18 rating. Surely if you were going to buy something with an age rating like that you’d want to know exactly why it was intended for grown up eyes only? I mean, it’s probably safe to assume that it’s not so rated because it contains big long words and references to complex astrophysics type stuff. And then there’s the actual playing of the game. Unless these kids are left entirely to their own devices while they’re gaming (check me out, I’m so damn HIP with my jargon) then it’s likely you’ll catch the odd F-bomb at least. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t perch on the end of my little darlings’ beds while they zap aliens and build entire towns from bricks, but I do pop my head in and see what they’re up to.
So, that leaves us with the possibility that parents just choose to overlook all of that. I’m not really a judgey pants kind of parent. Probably because I’m usually too busy hiding the evidence of my own parenting disasters, but really… Why? I don’t see anyone taking their nine year old for a beer down the pub, or shopping in IKEA for some bits for their new bachelor(ette) pad, or helping them choose a wedding dress for their impending nuptials. Course they’re not. Those kids are too young for that. So why let them loose on a game that makes Trainspotting look like a Disney movie? I just don’t get it.
Meanwhile, instead of listing a Parent of the Year trophy, my kids are plotting my untimely demise for making them the odd ones out. Am I being a bit precious? Or would you be horrified to find your little darling racking up the points for a particularly slick drug deal? What say you? Would you let your 9 year old play the 18 rated Grand Theft Auto?
Update: September 26th.
Thanks for all the comments and RT’s of this post. It has stirred some debate which is wonderful, so for some other opinions and views, you might like to read these posts by @MyLifeAsAMummyx and @Dakegra
Thanks for reading.