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Video games today are much different from the way they were when my parents were growing up. Long gone are the days of Pong and Super Mario Bros. where everything was happy-go-lucky and innocent. Some games today are a lot like movies, and that means lots of violence, sex, and language. As a society, do we think it’s morally acceptable to let our children play Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row, and other games of the like?

I love Mature games, and I am very aware of what happens in these games, but I would not want my 12-year-old child playing Grand Theft Auto. This isn’t because I think the game will make him or her a mass-murderer or a prostitute, but because it has adult themes that children just shouldn’t be exposed to. However, that’s just my opinion. If you think your child is capable of handling these adult themes at such a young age, let them try it out.

A lot of parents and adults worry that children will act out the things they do in games in real life. The same has been said thousands of times about movies and television as well. Yet, since video games aren’t as understood or accepted by some of the adult crowd as movies and T.V. are, video games get more hate than they should. A normal, functioning human being is not going to go out and kill people because they did it in a video game. That’s absurd.

Is it fair to ban your child from playing Mature games without even letting them try them out? I was a goody-two-shoes growing up, so I didn’t want to play games with adult themes. But what if my future child wants to play Grand Theft Auto? Should I forbid him or her from playing, or I should I watch them play and see how they react?

A few years back, there was an article published on Bitmob about a four-year-old child who played GTA for the first time. Astonishingly, he chose to be the “good guy;” he didn’t want to steal cars or kill people. What does this say about me, the one who drives over the sidewalks?

I’m 20 years old, so I am fully aware of what’s right and wrong. I do things in games that I would never do in real life. Should I be ashamed? No–because they’re just games. Games are my escape from the harsh world of young adulthood, so if I want to run over people on the sidewalk, I’m going to do it. However, do I want my future child to kill innocent people in games? How would that make me feel? He or she would just be doing the same thing I do. The key, I feel, is to see how your child reacts to Mature games, if he or she expresses an interest in them.

I didn’t play a Mature game until I was 17, and that game was Heavy Rain. Although, I would’ve been fully capable of handling that game at a much younger age. What I’m trying to say is that every child is different, and not all children can handle mature themes…but some children can.

When I am a parent someday, I’m not going to be like the average, ignorant parent who walks into GameStop and doesn’t know Mario from Master Chief. I know pretty much all there is to know about video games, so I will know which games I think my child will be capable of playing. Still, the only way to know if our children are ready for these games is to let them find out for themselves.