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12/07/2010 at 12:00 PM ET

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Naughty Cal on

There should really be no problem with kids playing the games on this list. I don’t like to tell people how to raise their children, so if you don’t like your kids playing these games, don’t buy them for them, and if you are concerned about it, the ESRB ratings are a helpful tool. But it’s not the end of the world if they do play games with some violence, as long as they know the difference between fantasy and reality. I grew up playing the most violent games of my day (Mortal Kombat, Doom, Quake, the first few Grand Theft Auto games), and I was a top student, an athlete, and went on to become a lawyer. The only violence I ever committed as a child was one incident in first grade in self-defense. In some of the games on this list like Halo and Dead Rising, the violence is not against humans, but zombies or aliens, and in others like Assassin’s Creed, the players use weapons like swords that are almost impossible to obtain and thus not easy to imitate.

It’s natural for children, boys especially, to like to pretend to kill and fight. I recommend the book “Grand Theft Childhood” by Cheryl Olson, a Harvard professor who has studied the media violence issue, and has shown that violent video games and other media do not produce violent behavior, and in some ways, are helpful in letting children get their anger out. It also debunks the studies that show that violent games are linked to violent behavior, and points out the multiple flaws they suffer from-they are conducted in an artificial laboratory setting with no validity in the real world, use proxies for aggression rather than having the subjects engage in actual violence, demonstrate correlation rather than causation, etc.

Once again, if you feel a game is inappropriate for your child, you have the right not to buy it for them. But if your 10-11-year-old is interested in a game that involves shooting and has some blood, don’t think it will turn your little angel into a soulless degenerate, either. Personally, I believe that if you teach your kids that what they see in a game or movie isn’t real, it will not have a negative effect on them. The violent game controversy is no different from the moral panic over comic books in the 50’s or heavy metal in the 80’s.

mary on

Ten violent video games to avoid this holiday season

I have to agree with Naughty Cal. If you don’t want your child playing these games then don’t get them, period! My 16 year old has Halo, he is all honors and is also into sports. And hopefully with enough fundraising will be going overseas on a mission trip. He is a good kid. He also has an even temper and knows fact from fiction. In fact he is also writing a book, on fantasy/fiction/fighting. However I also have a soon to be 10 year old boy who cannot be in the same room when the 16 year old is playing his games. He is quick tempered, and impulsive so he needs to ‘grow up’ a lot more before he sees or plays that kind of game. The rate he’s going not till he is 18. Lol

I believe that it’s all about the child and their temper and maturity. Or if you just don’t want them to play it then so be it.