Christmas is coming. That means parents are going to buy presents to their children. I think last year or the year before I scribbled some sort of recommendation guide to parents how to handle their game purchases, but that was more or less aimed for those who have younger children. Y’know, use common sense and know your kid.
This time I want to address those who intend to buy games for their teen children. There are two options; give them money to buy their own game, or learn what they might like or want. Long story short; if your teen wants to see boobies on a beach, be ready to talk about how both of you see it.
The recent news about Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 and some JRPG games not getting localised to the West because of sensibilities. Now, Street Fighter V got a self-buttslap edited out because it was thought it would hurt somebody’s feelings. Let those feelings be hurt, you can’t grow as a person otherwise. This is a rough way of saying It’s OK. A teenager with an access to the Internet most likely already knows all about sex appeal and such, and most likely masturbates. This is natural on both fronts, and as a parent there’s very little you can do without smothering the teen or forcing ideals. Yes, as a parent you have all the reason and rights to say what your underage child has access to, when and how, but it’s never that simple.
As a sidenote, DoA games have been for teens always. Who in their right minds would get a game with full of violence or sexual content under teenage years? Hell, if you’re going to do that you might as well let them play Drakengard and Nier while you’re at it.
I have friends and acquaintances that I’ve known since they were six or so while I’ve been the older. I’ve seen some of them coming from more or less broken homes with drunk parents, and some coming from completely and properly well establishes households with prim and proper parents. It always plays differently, but each of them changed when they hit teenage years. Some go awry, some seem to fight through the hard years. Some of them are pretty great guys, and few have become more or less people I don’t recognize anymore and resort to actions that I won’t discuss here.
Parenting is often about restrictions and teaching how to live. I admire my brother greatly in his current parenting. When my nephew jumped to a pool of water despite being told not to and got his shoes all wet, all he said “Can’t blame anyone but yourself.” My nephew understood it very well. He defied the instruction and knew very well what would happen in the end, but it was fun. It cost him his dry shoes. He didn’t cry or anything, but accepted it like cruel fate. We joked about that afterwards in the car on our way to drop them home with him, and he promised me that he’d wear waterproof boots next time. I love that kid.
The same things comes to teenagers and matters with sex and sex appeal. While the puritanical minority is loud as all hell when it comes to depicting female sexuality (male sexuality doesn’t seem to be none of their concern), each and every person and company should be able to choose to purchase or release whatever they wish. In legal limitations, of course. As a parent all you can really is to show them the world and give tools to work with, and then figure out how things work for them. This might sound odd, and it is. A game with bikini girls is not really any worse than seeing bikini girls on the beach, television or on anywhere else. You may wonder how your child will feel about seeing women under control, but remember that game characters are literal 3D objects. They’re not real. A game does not make a mass killer nor can it really train one. That requires something to be wrong with the psyche itself. Games can stir emotions and fetch response to what has happened on-screen, but that goes for every form of entertainment and expression out there, from music concertos to reading a book.
Guess what I’m trying to say is that it really doesn’t matter whether or not you gift them a game with any sort of sexual content in it, the tools you’ve given your child do. Life is all about learning from mistakes, after all, and all we can really do is to decide whether or not we take heed of our failures. We should allow people do mistakes to certain degree and allow them to become their own persona. Mistakes will always be made, be it late for a date because you stopped to buy a birthday present to a friend, or tell someone you love you’re through because of your own emotional mess. Video games don’t teach or put ideas in our heads. It’s the reality that does that, and entertainment is just the channel where those ideas are amused.
God this post was a mess.