“Mom, may I get this game?” a young child asks as he lifts up a game from the rack. The game is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
The game is rated M for Mature audiences, meaning only those 17 and older can buy it.
“Of course you can, sweetie,” the mother replies.
People have been witnesses to small events like this. It can include other forms of media as well, such as movies. I distinctly remember going to a horror movie where there was an infant in the audience with its guardians.
In our society and culture, we possess a nasty habit of putting the blame on our media. Kid becomes a serial killer? Scream influenced the child. Do they try to hijack cars and shoot people? Grand Theft Auto gets blamed. Does the kid have health problems? McDonald’s caused it. There is a trend here that is repeatedly shown. A number of parents do not embrace responsibility and that they believe that others should do their job for them. This is why multiple organizations exist. Notable examples included are the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). Each organization rates software and movies, respectively, for appropriate age groups. These organizations do everything in their power to let people know what games and movies contain unsuitable material for minors. The ratings are always located on the product’s box for everyone to see.
Despite the information being accessible, parents still blame these organizations and their industries for failing to control their kids. Even the government gets blame for not enacting enough restrictions to the media.
The governments and organizations may not be the sole source of blame here. The blame for behavioral problems in children as they get older lies heavily with the parents. The parents are the main external influences kids are introduced to every single day of their lives. As parents, they have an active duty of raising a child so that the child may become a functioning member of society. A major problem that is persisting in this day and age is that not only the parents are not fulfilling their duty, but are putting the blame towards forms of media if their children act out.
With the story of the mother buying her kid a M-rated game, possible reasons can be given as to why she does the deed. She could easily not care about what her child does. The mother may use as a distraction to keep her child occupied as she gets work done. The best scenario is that she does care, but she doesn’t know about ratings. She does have a potential excuse, but what about the guardians who took their infant into a horror movie? The guardians simply don’t care.
Parents should care. Parents need to take an active part in their child’s life. Parents shouldn’t rely on getting a game, a movie, or using the TV as a babysitter. The parents should also be willing to learn about what is acceptable to their children, accept the responsibility of a child’s actions, and not expect the media or government to provide guidance to their children. Only the parents and guardians can provide direction for their kids.