Worst Mother Ever? Video Games, Blood, and My Kids

…and here’s the part where I get dead.

I’m cutting his head off!

Dad! Remember! We were going to get new weapons today!

Serious gamer

Somehow we went from benign, educational, age-appropriate games to Castle Crashers. And I’m not sure how and when we made this leap or how I let it slip by.

My husband thinks it’s no worse than watching Star Wars. So not really paying attention I defaulted to his logic and failed to really take a look at this new game the kids and their Dad were playing.

Then I hear:

I chopped my brother’s head off! And there is blood!

Mamma ain’t happy.

But I keep defaulting to Dad. I mean, I’m supposed to do that right?

He says cartoony blood is ok. It’s not real blood. Which I get, I do. But… I dunno. I just don’t know.

Should I put my foot down and ban this game? Should I trust their father… who I know wouldn’t let them do anything inappropriate.

Sigh. Confused. This is either my biggest parent fail yet or my Mother-anxiety kicking in. I can’t decide.


  1. Yeah. My husband has okayed video games I would never let my kids play. It’s probably not the end of the world.
    .-= Stimey´s last blog ..Still Here =-.

  2. or so they will have us THINK it’s not the end of the world. Maybe it is. If my kids turn out to be serial killers I”m blaming their Dad.

  3. I don’t think it makes kids grow up to be violent to let them play games with killing and blood. I would let my kids watch a movie about the Civil War and there’s all kinds of killing and shootings in it. I would even let the kids watch a movie about the Vietnam war and I am sure there would be killing in that. If kids are brought up to know that chopping someone’s head off in real life causes them to die and causes you to go to prison for doing it, I doubt very seriously that video game is going to affect them in any negative way. It’s either in you or not to be violent. You can take a 2 yr old child who has never been hit and never seen violence and when they get mad they will still hit another kid. It’s in us already. Games don’t do that.

  4. However, that’s just my opinion having to do with my own kids. Everybody feels differently about what they are willing to expose their kids to.
    .-= Peggy Brister´s last blog ..Long Boring Weekend =-.

  5. It’s a tough call. I have a dear friend who is what most people would call an extreme pacifist. He and his wife have been working hard to raise the children to also be pacifists. But he adores the Star Wars movies and cartoons (and we all know how violent some of the best cartoons can be). He let the kids play the original LEGO Star Wars video game, but then he thought the youngest (at age 5) was getting a little carried away more often and reacting more hyper and more likely to strike out. He took the game away for two weeks … everyone settled back down. Gave them the game back … too revved up again.

    In his case, he wasn’t sure if the *game* was actually teaching or encouraging violence … or if they were just so hyper after playing that they were more out of control.

    Frankly, I loved the way he handled it. “We’ll try it, but here are the ground rules: if you’re getting too hyper, out-of-control or violent with each other, I’m taking it away.” He tried it, gave them a chance to revise their behaviours and when it became clear that at least the youngest couldn’t control himself, then he took it away.

    That just makes so much sense to me – some kids can recognize it’s all just a game and can leave it there. Others are more sensitive or susceptible or whatever and need more guidance. So I don’t think it’s either a parent-fail or mom-anxiety … it’s an experiment to watch is all.

  6. Ender that is nearly exactly what I’m doing. If I notice any hyper or mean behavior the game gets taken away. I know they know better, and I do not ‘blame’ the game…per say, but I also know it influences them to a degree.

  7. We use the ratings system on games. E for everyone I okay for Thomas and I won’t let Dylan (now nearly 12) buy/rent anything above T for Teen and even those I have to approve. What’s the rating on the castle game?
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..karensugarpants- @Badass-Bunny ha You wish =-.

  8. *is okay for Thomas*. Silly iPhone. 🙂
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..The more things change- the more they stay the same =-.

  9. It’s a T for Teen. But Aaron swears it’s only cartoony violence so that makes it fine.

  10. This is such a tired topic already. These games, when properly monitored for intake are not dangerous to kids at all. Parents so often want to blame these violent games and the media for the lack of other parenting present in their lives from preventing a child to grow up and do something detrimental.

    It’s ridiculous.

    Today’s children take in so much violence that is not a video game as it is if they watch television at all. Why is violence on the news or in a movie any different?

    If you are really that conserned about monitoring your child’s intake of these games, the ESRB has a rating system specifically to assist parents:

    It will tell you just what you can expect in the game as far as violence, and age demographic specific materials. Look on the link above to get fully versed more about it. It was created specifically for parents like you who are resistant and “fearful” about this media. The parents that freaked out and tried to ground their kids for playing games like Mortal Kombat at home (only for the kids to sneak out to arcades and play them when their parents weren’t looking).

    I have personally raised my children all on video games of varying forms and have found that the things they have learned from the digital interaction has improved their grades actually. My oldest son, for example, scored the highest among his classmates when he first entered Kindergarten, despite being the youngest. He is a well behaved, well rounded intelligent little man. He also reads comic books…
    ::insert fear of crime bosses and a caped vigilante coming to save the day::

    The key, like anything is moderation and positive reinforcement. Talking with the child about what’s going on, explaining the differences between the real world and the game world, etc etc.

    Welcome to the digital age… a Draconian society that’s not all bad but forces the parents make an effort.

  11. What Karen said.

    My kids have no T-rated games, and the oldest is 10.5. Meanwhile, friends and cousins are allowed to play M-rated games like Halo and CoD.

    There’s an entire world of violence out there waiting for them; why on earth do I need to expose them to it early under the guise of “entertainment?” If they want to whack someone’s head off, they can do it just as well playing the age-appropriate LEGO series games involving no people, no blood, and familiar toys they know will be popped back together.

    There seems to be this push to have kids grow up too soon. They aren’t our friends; they are our children, and they rely on us to protect them and give them an actual childhood.

  12. I am in the “video games don’t hurt, bad parenting does” camp. While I don’t see my kids playing Call of Duty anytime soon (or ever), the game you described does not seem that bad. I think your kids will be fine and I certainly wouldn’t describe you as the worst mother ever. Heh.. 🙂

  13. Jennifer we are a gaming family. I have zero issues with letting my kids game- but I do take a role in making sure what they play and what they see on tv or movies is age appropriate. I’m on the fence with this one because it’s violent. Not because I’m against them seeing violence but because I’m against them seeing it for play and to a degree that may be over their heads or not age appropriate.

    I don’t demonize video games, I love them. I love them for our family. I am simply questioning letting this game pass muster, as it were… because it’s something my husband and I aren’t seeing eye to eye on and I”m defaulting to him.

  14. Same here – my husband watches/plays things with the kids that I consider gruesome and inappropriate. The way it works around here is that when they are with me, they play by Mommy’s rules: no blood, even of the cartoon variety. If a stick figure gets smushed and there is a bloody cartoon puddle? Nope. But when Daddy is with them, they can play by Daddy’s rules. I think it’s actually a good lesson that different rules apply in different circumstances.
    .-= Velma´s last blog ..In Which I Humbly Ask Your Opinion About an Iffy Pair of Shoes =-.

  15. i believe its your mom anxiety kicking in, BTW i totally love that ender commented on a thread about children/violence/video games. so poetic!

    (just in case…. check the synopsis of Ender’s Game. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ender's_Game)
    .-= Nathan Eckenrode´s last blog ..All the pregnant ladies! =-.

  16. T for teen? Yeah I wouldn’t let him play it at J’s age. But every family is different.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..The more things change- the more they stay the same =-.

  17. Edwin Perello says:

    I grew up watching both violent cartoons (He-Man, G.I. Joe, Thundercats) and Tom & Jerry (which was even more violent). I don’t know about cutting people’s heads off but despite all the violent stuff I grew up with, I didn’t end up so ba…. excuse me *finishes closing up the body bag and stuffs it into the trunk of his car*… where was I? Oh yea. I’m not crazy.

  18. I fall on the extreme Luddite end of the range. I don’t have a TV. If I had kids, I DOUBLE would not have a TV. They call it “programming” for a reason, and I wouldn’t want people I am entrusted with programmed in the manner of what is on TV or in video games.

    I am willing to admit that I just don’t get it. But a lot of modern life confuses me.
    .-= Suebob´s last blog ..So important =-.

  19. “Should I trust their father… who I know wouldn’t let them do anything inappropriate.” Yup, I’d go with that. They’re less anxious than we are, and I’m saying that in a good way.

  20. What would the rating be on any video game based on a Grimm’s Fairy tale?
    Trust their father. He has an insight to the “make-believe” part of all this and can better explain to them than most parents about real and fake and cartoony.
    .-= Adrienne´s last blog ..UnderWAY =-.

  21. You can trust their dad to do the right thing, while you still have a right to the way you feel. My children always knew where I stood on certain issues and why. I was strongly opposed to any kind of violence, and my children still talk about that many years later.

  22. My husband just taught my 6-year-old how to play LEGO Star Wars. (I still have only let him watch two of the six movies because I think the other four are probably too violent and would give him nightmares — he is very prone to nightmares).

    At first I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal since the violence is so silly and cartoonish (as the previous commenter said, it involves breaking LEGO toys apart not actually killing people). But now the kid is going around playing pretend games in which he talks about chopping heads off with lightsabers.

    But you know, before he was ever exposed to LEGO Star Wars, he was already going around pretending to be a pirate with a giant magical pet snake that would eat people he didn’t like. Soooo . . . I am pretty sure all children like to incorporate fantasy violence into their play, and I think even if they never see anything violent they will figure out ways to imagine their own violent scenarios. I think it’s a human instinct — dealing with pretend violence in an imaginary world the children themselves can control and shut off at will is probably good mental practice for dealing for the real violence they will inevitably witness at some point in their lives.

    I think, when deciding what games, movies, etc. are appropriate, the key is just to watch your children closely and make sure they aren’t acting like they are overly frightened or disturbed by the experience.

    Anyway the fact that you are thinking about this at all is a fair sign you are not a failed parent 😉
    .-= Jaelithe´s last blog ..Days Before Yesterday =-.

  23. I tend to be over-anxious and Hubby balances me out. With four girls and no boys in the houses we don’t tend to get violent games, but Star Wars is fast becoming a favorite and that may change soon! Hubby lets the girls watch Dukes of Hazzard, which I HATE, but he is their dad and at times we must defer…weither we like it or not!

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