Kids Playing 18-Rated Games? Neglect, Apparently

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Illustration for article titled Kids Playing 18-Rated Games? Neglect, Apparently

I've censored the above in case any under-18s from Cheshire are reading this.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK.

If you're under 18 and play GTA, Gears of War or Call of Duty in Cheshire, you might want to think again before loading it up next time.

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That is, at least, if the Nantwich Education Partnership gets its way - the group, comprised of 15 primary schools and one secondary academy has released a letter, penned by headteachers, warning parents against allowing underage access to games like these.

Part of the letter read: "If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+, we are advised to contact the police and children's social care as this is deemed neglectful."

No, you didn't read that wrong - the police and social services will be contacted, and the group deems parents allowing this as 'neglectful'.

My own parents were somewhat slack when it came to moderation of what I played (some are less slack). As long as we didn't start acting up in everyday life, it didn't matter much what we played. Is that neglect? I wouldn't have thought so.

Then again, modern gaming is a very different beast - and it's not just the content of the games themselves: there's a lot of interacting directly with other players. I say 'interacting', I mean 'swearing and threats of sexual violence'.

All the same - social services? Neglect? Taking parenting away from the parents? It seems a bit of a step further than you'd expect.

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Elaine Halligan of the Parent Practice said: "I absolutely get why they are doing it – it's because children do need to be protected from technology. But to get the social services involved is an absolute disaster, because it starts telling parents that we don't trust you to be responsible for your children."

What do you think?


Illustration for article titled Kids Playing 18-Rated Games? Neglect, Apparently
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This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour with a U from the British isles. Follow them on @Kotaku_UK.

DISCUSSION

shippoyasha
Shippoyasha

Absolutely can't agree with this. This idea that letting kids play risque games automatically makes it neglect is too shallow. It could be that the parents don't care on one hand, but on the other, it could be that the parents trust the maturity level of their children and has let them play games despite the age recommendation rating. I feel that age ratings on games shouldn't be some hard law, like one is dealing with dangerous substances, driving an automobile or wielding a gun. It should be a recommendation rating and the only person who can make the ultimate judgment call is the parents. While I can understand why some schools wants to do this, this is a serious breach of their authority and as much as they want to stand up for the kids, they still aren't the parents to those children.

I believe parents should be allowed to raise their children. Schools wanting to help? That is fine. Threatening parents on the grounds of neglect? Somewhere along the line, they have stepped beyond 'trust' and into pure authoritarian control and using an actual threat against the parents. That is NOT okay.