About two weeks ago, the boys went to a friend’s house to hang out. They were outside for awhile, and then ended up inside, to play video games. The friends they were with originally pulled out a game that was rated “M” (mature) — my boys said they weren’t allowed to play “M” games, and wondered if there was something else they could play. A “T” (for Teen) game was found, they played it, and everything was fine: and they even told me about the situation.
I was pretty proud of them, and told my Facebook friends about it.
They went over to the same friend’s house today and after being outside for awhile, they went in again…and this time, the friends refused to play any other game but the one rated M.
My boys were told “You’re just scared, your Mom will never find out.”
Guess who choose to come home instead of stay in that situation??
The friends were right, they could have stayed and could have chosen to lie to me later about what they did. It’s entirely possible that I would have never known. However: my boys are not very good liars. As soon as I asked what they did, they would have had to try to make something up, and they have faces like mine: I would have been able to read them like a book.
(It also turns out that they didn’t really care to play the game in question anyway…)
I want to make sure I’m fighting the right battles, but I’m pretty comfortable that this is a limit that’s appropriate to enforce. They are 12. The ESRB rating system says that games that are rated M are for audiences 17 and above. Even the Teen games they do play are supposedly “13 and up” — and I’m not always thrilled with the level of violence and language in those games. I can’t imagine what a game must be like in order to warrant the M rating.
I can’t help but think ahead and feel the tiniest bit hopeful about future situations, that if they are willing and able to follow the rules in a situation with video games, maybe they’ll be OK in harder circumstances. And believe me, we have talked about it: that the kind of response they had in this situation is the exact same kind of response they need to have some day when they are presented with drugs or alcohol or anything else illegal.
And I’m just fine if they blame it on me, I’m OK with being the bad guy. I think more parents need to be willing to set and enforce some limits on their kids.