I viewed a post a while ago on Reddit about a father (mother?) who did a video game themed party for their 9-year-old child. The games featured were Minecraft, Portal, and The Binding of Isaac. Wait, The Binding of Isaac? Well, apparently, yeah. And while a heated discussion of the choice of the parents to allow their child to play BoI, I wondered, where does one draw the line?
First, a disclaimer. I’m only 16. I do not qualify as a parent under any meaning of the word. In fact, I’m still a child. So take everything I am about to say with something smaller than a grain of salt.
Binding of Isaac is a bloody, gory game that handles tons of controversial and mature themes. The two most notable being child abuse and religious fanaticism. For those of you who haven’t played BoI or are unfamiliar with the story, it goes as follows. Isaac’s mother hears a voice from God one day, and it commands her to take away all things evil from Isaac’s world. God speaks again and tells Isaac’s mom she needs to isolate Isaac from the world. As a last request, God tells Isaac’s mom to kill him as a sacrifice. Isaac flees to the basement as a last resort to save his own life. At this point, you travel through several levels of the basement to kill your mom, fighting nightmarish creatures along the way. So, in summary, mot a very child-appropriate game, and I think everyone can agree on this.
These parents on Reddit explained to their daughter the difference between reality and fantasy, and then commented on how well adjusted she was. Fair enough. And, as I expected Reddit to do, everyone praised her as an awesome parent. Heck, she even got Reddit Gold! Okay, I don’t know if the decision deserved praise that much. In fact, I don’t know that that decision deserved any praise. While this specific child may have very well been able to handle BoI, I don’t feel like most kids can, so you cant just say, “you explained the nature of games to your child? You win the Best Parent of the Year Award! Yay!”
So, this nicely segways into the main topic of discussion on this post. Where, as a parent, do you decide too much is too much? The answer to that question is neither a simple one nor a a static one. What you allow your child to play should be mostly dependent on the child, but it also may lean on what you will allow. Some children understand at a very young age that what they see on the TV and play in games is not in any way indicative of real life. They understand that concepts in video games do apply in the real world. In those cases, it may be appropriate to allow leniency in what they play. Other children, on the other hand, may need a little more guidance in their young years to solidify the aforementioned realization. In those cases, you might not want to expose something like, say, Indigo Prophecy, into their malleable minds.
Also to consider is the content of the game. This is an obvious point, but probably no child should play Mad World, or Postal 2. Minecraft, on the other hand, is perfectly fine. It’s not like a 5 year old boy is going to go on a killing spree just because he hit some giant spiders with a sword. And while there may be no evidence supporting the claim that video games makes people violent, you can never be too cautious.
So, followers of mine that may be parents, what do you do about your children and video games? Often seeing an outsiders perspective on the topic can change your thoughts on it. I’m probably missing on a lot of intricacies and things to consider when dealing with this.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.