Sunday, January 29, 2012

Adults' Responsibility

 I have always being one that defended that the responsibility of raising the children belongs to the parents or the adults responsible for them. It is their job to ensure the safety of the children and teach them their responsibility and morality. Therefore, it is the parents’ job to make sure the children are not exposed to content that may be classified as inappropriate.

I am not saying that the entertainment industry, like the game industry, don’t have their own responsibilities here. They have. They have the obligation to provide the parents with enough tools to make a conscious decision. In case of games, we have the ESRB in the US, PEGI in Europe, CERO in Japan and many others systems in other countries.

Those classification systems give enough information to the adults know what kind of game their kids will have. I am yet to see a game where the classification system is misleading. The gaming industry is making their part.

The second part is retailers. They must be trained in the classification system, not only so them can be aware what they are selling but also so they can explain this system to the consumers. And a good retailer will refuse to sell an inappropriate game to a minor without their parents consent.

The third part is the government, who must make sure that all guidelines is being respected and that the information is easy to understand and find.

But all that is null if the parent just don’t care. It is easier to just give the money to the children and make them shut up. Many parents I know don’t even look what their children are playing. They just want an electronic nanny. And that is not what being a parent means.

A parent must be aware of what their children play, what they think about it and how this affects the kid. If the child shows any sign of aggressiveness or any kind of change in their behavior because of a game, it is the parent who must make the child stop playing and look for help.

Talking with the children is important. Finding 15 minutes everyday to talk to them is not that hard and can make a big difference.

Australia finally is going to vote a R18 classification to games, allowing mature gamers to legally buy many games without censorship. And it will also give the power to the parents to decide themselves what is appropriate to their children. I think is always a good thing.

Being a parent is assuming responsibility. Yes, the industry of entertainment has its own responsibilities. And in most countries they are complying with them. But it is not them who have to raise the children, neither the government.

If you don’t have time for your children, create some. They are your responsibility. Nobody else.

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