Qt3 Sense Media (aka Gaming for Kids aka not Common Sense Media)

Some of us have kids, we know a lot about games, through the transitive property of internet expertise, we are experts in gaming for kids.

So…

My kids are 7 and 9 years old. They have watched all of the Star Wars movies, all of the Indiana Jones movies (except Temple of Doom) and they play a variety of games. The most violent of these probably is Smash Bros. There are other games (Zelda, etc.) where they “defeat enemies,” but nothing gory or bloody. There are, of course, some gory and bloody moments in the Indiana Jones movies.

I’m starting to wonder when it’s ok to introduce them to some games. At the moment, I’m thinking about Diablo 3 b/c I’d like to play co-op with them. I’m also wondering about having them watch me play some other games, like the Uncharted ones (since they are free on the PS4 right now).

At what age is it ok to have kids watching and/or playing these games? While there is blood in Diablo 3 and lots of slaying of demons, are there any particularly inappropriate moments? What does that even mean? This seems sort of crazy - CSM says 18, parents say 15+, kids say 11+. What say you?

With the Uncharted games, if you were to just watch them, are they any worse gore-wise than the Tomb Raider movies? At what age would you allow your kids to watch you play them?

I think it’s kid specific. My kids, 9 and 13, haven’t seen any Star Wars movies (except the first one) or Indiana Jones movies. This isn’t because I won’t let them (I’ve encouraged SW), but because they 1) don’t really care much about films and 2) identify strongly with characters and are pretty sensitive to peril in media.

My 9 year-old isn’t allowed to play or watch games that feature a player protagonist killing humans in a realistic way. My 13 year old can make her own decisions about T-rated games. So, I’d let her play Uncharted, but not my 9 y/o. I’d actually be less concerned about Diablo, because it’s more strategic level and cartoonish, but I’d hestitate a bit due to the horror elements. I’d have to evaluate how well they tolerate it.

Agreed that it’s kid and family specific. I’d probably let my 9-year-old play it because he has a good grasp on fantasy v/ reality.

I wonder if part of the Diablo rating has to do with the heaven/hell content? It’s not an issue for me, but I’m sure there are some who would object.

My concerns for my little guy are almost always about whether someone is going to either say or chat something terrible to him. He wants to play Fortnite so badly. I think I need to check the parental control stuff more seriously than I have so far.

We are relative conservative when it comes to exposing our 12 year old son to violent games. He isn’t really interested in them much either, so that makes it easy. He has seen me play violent games. There have been some that made my uncomfortable and I stopped to talk to him. When he was a bit younger he saw me hacking away at some animal, like a wolf in Skyrim. I let him know I didn’t want to be killing the animal, but the thing attacked me and I had to defend myself.

I think something like Diablo, the bigger risk is that they will get spooked by the dark theme then exploding cartoonist demons. 18 years old is nuts. They probably view it as dealing with the occult or something and view it as sensitive material. I think 10-13 would be fine depending on the kid. I’m sure some people probably let their kids play something like this at 5, but I think it’s good to let kids be kids and hold onto some of their innocence for a while. You seem like a thoughtful parent and am sure you will do what is right for your particular kids.

I’m about to go drink a 1/2 bottle of gin and yell at my in-laws, and it’s not even noon yet. That’s how you do this correctly, right? I mean, in comparison, Diablo 3 can’t be that bad… 😂

send help

There’s a torture chamber level that is pretty not ok for kids, I think. Also a giant spider that tries to seduce you. But that’s just weird.

If I had to guess (and I guess I don’t have to but hey, I want to play along too!) the deal with kids and Diablo 3 would maybe be the fact that you have a companion throughout most of the game who ends up being possessed and destroyed by Diablo. I don’t think that would be a big deal for a teenager but might be for anyone younger. But yeah, that’s going to be a YMMV decision.

I let my son play Roblox because he’s obsessed with it, but I do worry sometimes about content available there. He has showed me a mini-game that has horror creatures, things like Pennywise and Freddy and Jason from their respective movies. I try to steer him away from that stuff, but if I took Roblox away completely he’d throw such a fit. And in these days of quarantine and social isolation, I feel like he needs it as a kind of lifeline - he plays with friends from school, for one thing. It’s a tough line to walk.

Oh man, Roblox is another one my son wants to play. Did you just create an account with your own email and info for your son and then set parental restrictions? It’s another one where I figure some rando will just shit all over the chat or whatnot.

Yeah, I believe I have my son’s account set up through my email address. I actually did set up my son with his own email but we keep a pretty careful eye on that (he’s 7 years old).

I don’t know if Roblox has parental controls you can set up, at least I haven’t found any like you can do with Xbox, for instance, to disallow contact with strangers that aren’t designated friends. So there does seem to be an element of risk, and we’ve asked him to let us know if he is approached by someone with ‘funny’ requests, like asking personal details. I can understand that might not be comfortable for a lot of parents.

Yeah my son this morning was making very sad faces about how he wants to play games with other people. My hard rule is no online gaming with strangers, so I said “suck it up.” But I get that it’s a way to socialize while closed in.

Roblox, if I remember right, has a ‘kid’ mode. It does not prevent your kid from talking to strangers. However, it does censor the chat, and it does it pretty strictly. It replace anything it thinks is bad with "#’ marks, including single letters, numbers, anything that might be a url, etc.

I was very concerned about it for a long while. But I spent some time looking over my kid’s shoulders, and they are a bit older now (11 & 13) and more or less understand what is ok and what is not ok online (at least I hope!). I still think Roblox is a terrible game and nobody should play it, but I’m less concerned about it being a vector for abuse than I used to be.

Oh yeah ok, we’re already doing that. As you mention, it’s pretty strict. My kid was trying to engage in some smack talk, I mean 7 year old level smack talk, and got censored.

Heh, fortunately my son has not asked about that, being more inclined to watching youtube.

As for options, I watched Star Wars with my kids young, my son loves them. Being 6 so are many of his classmates, and I do encourage it.

As for games I think Smash would be ok with him, but mot Diablo for sure. Because he would not deal well with that imagery. He tends towards sensitive to scary stuff. But as others mentioned it is kid specific.

For him the big question was, how would he do with something like the Bumblebee movie. He is Transformers obsessed, and if he knew it existed would ask to watch it. However he is oblivious. Its close, I think it would probably broadly be ok. Anything too intense would be able to talk about with him.

I’ve considered many times watching the first half of Jurassic Park with him, because he has asked. I want to, but he just ain’t ready for that! The t-rex scene would have him terrified. The rest would be ok.

I think I’d rather my kids that age play something like Bastion than Diablo.

I’ve read that children can identify with the victims (or see one of the equal participants as victims) of violent and sexual content, and thus can be disturbed by their parents’ indifference to it, even if they don’t show it outwardly. So I want to at least be sure I can explain what we’re looking at and why it’s okay, and be able to skip over the worst parts.

What’s the consensus about appropriate age for watching Men in Black?

The only stuff in Men in Black is the gross-out stuff. Bugs and people’s heads exploding in a gooey mess (well, not just people, Tony Shalhoub). If your kids are ok with gross-out stuff, go for it.

I watched it with my 9 and 11 year olds (at the time) but not the 5 year old. The older two handled it great.

Diablo has implied sexual violence too with BDSM style depictions of the female demons and such.

My son watches Player Select on Disney XD, and saw someone playing Sims 4 the other day. I see it’s only available through EA and not Steam but EA’s selling it for like 5 bucks, so I sense there’s some kind of trap. What’s the catch? Or is it a false alarm?

I would assume the catch is just in the"first hit’s free" sense, because they have a ton of DLC and expansions to sell you.