Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Violent Video Games to Keep from your Kids

Your child's birthday is coming up, and he has asked you for a new game for his Xbox. With a title like "Mortal Kombat," you're pretty sure that the game isn't going to be cute and fuzzy, but he has assured you that he's played it over at his friend's house, and it's just a reboot of a game from the early '90s. Games weren't that bad back then, right?

Imagine your surprise when your little angel starts playing and shreds someone in the groin and then punches someone in the head so hard that the digital skin peels right off the bad guy's face. As it turns out, the original "Mortal Kombat," released in 1992, was so violent that it was actually the subject of a congressional hearing. That hearing led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, which rates video games in much the same way that movies are rated in order to provide parents with an idea of what kind of content the game contains.

Many parents are less involved in their kids' lives than you are. Some are involved but just don't see the harm in violent games. In some households, preschoolers are picking up virtual machine guns and killing untold virtual thousands. Before you let your child play at another home, find out if they allow their children to play violent games like those below:

1. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II"
It's a game about war, so you might have a pretty good idea of the concept already. However, some of the options available in this game are quite a bit more disturbing than your average war game. In "COD: MW II," players have the option to play on the terrorists' side and, in a particularly chilling twist, are even given the option to mow down innocent civilians.

2. "Postal II"
This game is not about delivering the mail. Its title is a play on the phrase "going postal," used casually to indicate a person who has snapped and gone on a murderous rampage. The game is rampant with over-the-top violence including the murdering of the town's citizens, using the heads of those civilians to play fetch with neighborhood dogs and silencing your gun with dead cats. Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there.

3. "Bioshock"
"Bioshock" and its sequel, "Bioshock 2," both feature sumptuous, stunning graphics and an intriguing storyline and are at the top of many gamers' lists of favorite games. This doesn't change the fact that one of your duties in the game is to kill little girls. While the game’s developers have stated that criticism of that feature misses the point, it's still a facet of the game that you, as a parent, need to be aware of.

4. "Splatterhouse"
Like "Mortal Combat," this is a reboot of a game from an earlier era. In the late 1980s, when the original was released, the 16-bit imagery, although advanced at the time, was very limiting, and players only got the slightest hint of the inherent violence in the game. Today's gaming graphics don't pull any punches, however. One of the bloodiest video games ever made, "Splatterhouse" allows players to dismember their enemies and beat them with their own limbs, brutally decapitate them and tear them in half. Realistic-looking blood splatters everywhere and gives the game a nauseating quality.

There are hundreds more that could be waiting at a friends' house for your child to play. Check with other parents first to be clear about games you don't want  your child playing.

This childcare advice comes from NannyBackgroundCheck.com, where parents can check a nanny is safe before they hire.

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