4 Video Games to Have Your Children Avoid
- Jaime Jo Wright Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 9 Aug
Video games. As a parent, you either hate them or have simply grown accustomed to their existence in your world. I'm probably of the latter group, although I've learned that there is a definite balance to strike when considering video games, apps, VR (virtual reality), and other options available to my kids. There are different camps as to the dangers of gaming. They range from the impact of gaming on the educational welfare of a child, to mental and emotional influences, to accessibility to strangers and pedophiles, and also whether they impede a child's attention span and ability to remain focused on something that isn't visual, fast-moving, or stimulating only one part of the brain.
While all of those are important things to consider when looking at how gaming will influence your children and your family, we want to focus here on what to look out for regarding dangerous content that your children may run into. Keep in mind that dangerous content can be disguised as very appealing toward youngsters, and not always does the game rating scale accurately align with personal values.
Let's look at a few video games you may want your children to avoid, or you may want to reconsider the amount of access they have to them.
This one pains me a bit, only because I've played it myself, and I can totally see the attraction for kids. There are a lot of virtual worlds in this gaming app, and so many are perfectly harmless. The dangerous elements are the access to others who are also logged in playing the game and the chat options that can easily entice kids to trust and obey total strangers.
The chat option can be used to ask questions and gather information from your child as to how old they are, where they live, etc. It can quickly become sexually explicit, and the game can even serve as a platform for virtual sexual abuse between characters.
Now, I've not entirely removed Roblox from my child's phone, but you can go in and set privacy controls. Be aware, though, these privacy controls are loose, and unless you completely turn off the chat option, there are still open doors for potential issues. My child is not happy having the chat option turned off because, with Roblox, you can also connect and play with real-life friends. For example, I will play the same game as my son, and we can chat back and forth as we do so. If I turn off his chat option, I protect him from creepers but also eliminate the chance to interact with him during a game.
You have to decide what you, as a parent, prefer, but be very cautious with this otherwise innocent-looking platform.
This was one of the most popular video games in 2020. While not overtly visually graphic in violence, parents should know that the primary goal of the player is to kill or be killed. It is a survival game, pure and simple. Granted, you can argue that it is limited on gore, but the underlying purpose doesn't change. Hunt, kill, and you live.
Again, this will require your parental discretion. Not every parent is going to have an issue with this game. Kids even as young as 6 or 7 are having Fortnite-themed birthday parties, playing parties, etc. It's available as an app on tablets and phones. It's easy to play, easily accessible, and frankly, addictive. Because surviving, plainly put, is addictive.
If an underlying primary theme of killing doesn't sit well with you, you will want to avoid this game for your kids. You may be unpopular with your children—be warned—since the game itself is so popular. So be prepared to have a chat with your kids because arguing against violent graphics in video games probably won't be the best angle to take on this one since its graphics are relatively tame.
3. Grand Theft Auto
The name pretty much implies what this game is all about. And it's been popular for a long time with various versions, availability across platforms, and more. If stealing cars doesn't bother you, be forewarned that the game itself is even rated Mature due to the graphic violence in the game.
I have personally watched it being played. I can see why it's addictive as players work to complete missions, steal better vehicles, and get away with it. It's Fast and Furious meets Oceans Eleven meets John Wayne shoot-outs 21st-century style. Meaning there is blood—a lot of it. Lots of gunfire, hand-to-hand combat, exploding heads and limbs, explosions, and—shall I go on?
While an adult may be able to sift through the gruesome competitiveness of the game, a child, for sure, will quickly be bothered or grow desensitized to the bloody nature of the crime. And, though murder and mayhem aren't necessarily advertised as the game's primary purpose—rather, that being auto theft—don't be deceived that it is a pivotal and central part of it.
4. League of Legends
This game is a competitive, online strategy game. That means it requires a streaming service to play, is a live-action game that can't be paused, and includes a lot of interaction with "team members." Let's break down this popular game a bit more.
Violence—not unlike many other video games, it is rated T for Teen due to its violence. The purpose of the game is, in short, team strategy to battle others. Again, the kill or be killed premise. Granted, that's breaking it down very simply for a rather complex game.
Social interaction—it's in this game for sure. If your child wants, they can join forces with any number of people to form a league. These people, ideally, would be their friends, but as in Roblox, this game opens up to an almost inevitable mixing with random people they will not know. Continual chatting is a part of the game. You can turn on a profanity filter—but please note, your kids can just as easily turn it on.
There is a lot of positive feedback about this game due to the way it causes the gamer to strategize, compete, think, and team play. So, some parents may have no problem allowing their kids to play LoL. But do be aware of the underlying themes, and more importantly, the access of strangers to your children during the live play of the game. These are just four games of a myriad of video games available for your kids today. In the end, there is a reoccurring theme that I've found to be critical when considering what to let your kids play. That is: BE INVOLVED.
Most video games and apps today can gain access to your children. It is not a one-sided game anymore. With chat functions, YouTube tutorials and demonstrations, and interactive verbal platforms, video games have been another social platform that many parents underestimate. This isn't saying they're all bad. This is simply a strong reminder to stay involved, be aware of the pitfalls of your kids' games, and define your personal standards for games. Unfortunately, nothing is 100% trustworthy anymore—and with the video game buffet of options everchanging, it isn't something you can remain passive about.
Photo credit: ©Pexels/lalesh aldarwish
Jaime Jo Wright is the winner of the Carol, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. The Christy Award-Winning author of “The House on Foster Hill”, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful mysteries stained with history's secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!