Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Call of Duty or Duty calls?

Was tempted to give this post the title of my least favourite hymn: Onward Christian Soldiers. I know a lot has been said about the effects that computer games may or may not be having upon our kids. I'm not convinced they are as toxic as some people would suggest; nor do I think that immersing yourself in virtual violence and all the associated culture is entirely without effect.

My problem is this: we try and keep to age classifications. The previous Call of Duty games were rated 15. The latest is an 18. It's clear that there are already plenty of under-15s drawn into and hooked by the Call of Duty series, so they must have known that the same group of lads would want to get the latest game, and would get access to it by hook or by crook. So why did they make it 18 rated? It's a strategy guaranteed to ensure that even more people break the age classification.

I actually believe in ratings - they are there to give some recognition to the fact that personal, emotional and sexual development requires some filtering along the journey. They're not perfect, and different people mature at different rates, but they give some sense that not everything is for anyone of any age. You don't present 5 year olds with 18 rated sex scenes; they're not equipped to cope with them.

What intrigues me is that some of the keenest Christian families I know seem to be quie relaxed about games age ratings for their kids. Just wonder how they reconcile that with their faith - especially those with quite conservative ethical views. Maybe they just didn't read the box!
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