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Survey: Parents More Concerned About Games Than Alcohol, Porn

Evidently, when you become a parent, a selective belief system snaps into place, which basically causes you to believe exaggerated and ill-informed media reports and kills off any last shred of common sense or logic. We don't mean offense to all you parents out there, but you have to admit this survey is most disappointing.

According to a recent poll over at What They Play, it seems parents are far more concerned about video games than they are about alcohol or pornography when it comes to their children. ...no, we're not making it up; read the article. Furthermore, the majority of parents were more offended by sexual content in a game than by gratuitous violence, as 37% were offended by a man and woman having sex in a video game, and only 25% were offended by a decapitated head. Interestingly enough, more people were offended by a man and woman having sex than two men kissing, which came in at 27%, and swearing barely registers on the meter.  So as far as we can tell, sexual content is worse than violence, pornography and alcohol are apparently accepted and less damaging (potentially) than video games, and sadly, the stereotypes the media helps to keep alive clearly haven't died yet.  But these results are extremely disheartening; good thing it was a relatively small sample (1,266).

Deaths related to alcohol in any given year- go. How many gazillion? Deaths related to video games in any given year- go. ...three? Somebody fried by a system? The PS3 dropped on someone's head? Any number of media-driven "GTA-told-me-to-do-it!" crimes by teenagers? Maybe you'll get up to like, 10. Porn? The entertainment venue that is limited to those 18 years of age or older for a variety of psychological reasons? Sure, our children can sit there with a bottle of Jack Daniels and watch a six-woman orgy, but the responsible parents will be damned if their kids are gonna play Metal Gear Solid 4! Good God.

8/12/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (46 posts)

Troy Powers
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 11:15:30 AM
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Disheartening, but not surprising. America is a pretty sexually repressed place (at the moment). I'd be interested to see the results of a similar poll in other countries like Germany, France, Brazil.

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danr
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:03:35 PM

Well tbh, the french wouldn't be too fussed about dangers of alcohol...

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snglbck26
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 11:23:41 AM
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I agree with what you're saying Ben. I think it's pretty pathetic. As an avid gamer myself and a father of a teenage boy I am concerned about how much time he plays(or would like to play video games) but for the most part I'm in control of that. He doesn't have a PSP or a DS so I know where he is when he's playing. He and I play COD 4 against each other a lot but he knows the violence is not real. He has no desire to go out and shoot anyone. My bigger concern is that he isn't playing twelve hours a day during the summer and that he's active.

Last edited by snglbck26 on 8/12/2008 11:24:39 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 12:31:11 PM

Wow...that sounds FAR too reasonable for the typical American parent in my experience. Guess you weren't one of the ones who took the poll. ;)

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snglbck26
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 12:40:22 PM

To your comment Ben: Wow...that sounds FAR too reasonable for the typical American parent in my experience.....I'm probably more reasonable than most parents as I have a passion for gaming. I'm also involved in my sons life and want to know what he's up to but I try not to be too obtrusive. I agree with Nightshade386's comment as more people get involved with games over time. There are far bigger concerns in life than the harm that video games may cause. I started playing games when Pong came out and have turned out alright.....I think.

Last edited by snglbck26 on 8/12/2008 12:41:07 PM

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Nightshade386
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 11:37:16 AM
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I can only hope that as more gamers have children of thier own, that the ignorance surrounding video games by the majority of the population will slowly fade away. My wife and I are both gamers, and we know how we'll handle it when our son is old enough to realize that the controller isn't a chew toy.

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firehahahahaha
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 11:37:51 AM
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That's pretty funny, but it'd definetely believe it. I'd have to say that my dad is one of the big exceptions to that.

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cr67
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 11:47:33 AM
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Troy is right. America isn't "pretty" but VERY sexually repressed country. I've lived in Brazil and compared to them, we're still living in the 50's. Even in places like South Florida where there's a huge latin population, people there are much more open than say middle america is. Sad survey.

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www
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 12:02:10 PM
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This is ridiculous!

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bobfather
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 12:59:24 PM
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ROFL

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Bugzbunny109
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 1:04:23 PM
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I think porn is better than alcohol because porn is harmless. In fact without porn many people wouldn't know what to do when its time to have sex, because their parents dont teach them what to do. But porn gives at least the idea. Alcohol on the other hand can become addictive, and cause problems. Video games are also harmless, when the person playing it knows its a VIDEO GAME instead of real life. Its up to parents to decide if there child can play video games, what i mean is that if the child is mentally unstable, they shouldn't play games because they can actually start killing people thinking its a video game.

Last edited by Bugzbunny109 on 8/12/2008 1:09:39 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 1:09:56 PM

Just to clarify, as I hold a degree in Psychology, I really can't say porn is "harmless" where children are concerned. In fact, it can be extraordinarily harmful, as many studies have proven. It's why porn is off-limits if you're under 18...that's not just an arbitrary law based on morality; it's very much based on hard facts.

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Bugzbunny109
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 1:19:20 PM

I get what you are saying, but it depends on the age of the child and his/her mental state, for example a 14 or 16 year old wont really have problems from seeing porn, because their minds are more mature, but a 6 year old kid will have problems, because their minds are still in its infantry. It also depends on if the person or child has mental issues. Just by seeing porn they could go crazy.

Last edited by Bugzbunny109 on 8/12/2008 1:24:06 PM

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Troy Powers
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 3:09:37 PM

Wow, Ben's got a psych degree. That's awesome. I'm a psych major myself. A little late in the game, but better late than never.

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JPBooch
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 1:30:29 PM
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Degree in Psychology Ben? What are you doing worrying about video games....shouldn't you be talking someone off a building or something? ;)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 6:44:53 PM

I'd rather do something I love than participate in one of the most depressing professions on earth. ;)

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Odd Child
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 2:26:49 PM
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Kids, Who has time for kids these days? Glad I don't have any.

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NextGenGamer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 2:48:23 PM
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this is ridiculous, outrageous, and blasphomous! i can believe the idiocy that has enveloped this nation. so many people just believe in fallacies without doing any kind of research or having any prior experience

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cheng
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 2:52:07 PM
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the ps3 drops on someone's head! LOL

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Jed
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 7:28:37 PM

THAT IS DANGEROUS

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Aftab
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 2:52:23 PM
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Porn is immoral because it is dehumanizing. Religion or no religion, if one's mom or sister or someone close was involved in that stuff, only the most debased person would not be embarrassed. If one had a chance to see a "spectacle" in public, or through a neighbor's window, instead of through a camera, only the most debased person would take up the offer. Somehow for many, because it is through a camera and involving people they don't have anything to do with, makes it ok. This is the height of hypocrisy and mindlessness. Are these not pyschological diseases? Porn is nothing but widescale prostitution, and voyeurism, that is only legal because governments can make a tax dollar off of it.

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Killa_5150
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 3:28:57 PM
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Oh my, parents should really teach their children whats bad and good from the beginning, not till its too late (ages, 13 and up). Its like a program. But that's interesting.

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MirrorSoul
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 3:49:23 PM
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Aftab I think you have the right reasons in mind but are putting it out too harshly.I do believe many would not look through a window an look at the people in there "Activities" but to say its Immoral is a little too far. We as human beings are Animals and our natrual pull toward that "Activitie" I believe is biological and instilled in us from birth. If a man wants to resist that temptation to partake in those "Activities" because he wants to idk save himself for getting Married or Fear of Disease I urge him to watch that over doing it. It isnt Immoral in my eyes and Im only 18. But I do say I support ur opinion and if thats what you believe I will not say your right or wrong (No Hard fellings :)...............................................Now back to buisness.I truly think this pole on this subject might be a little Bias cause to be true there are not many parents that pay attention to the ESRB ratings nor SIGN UP FOR A SITE that helps them understand the system.So in my opinion most Parents who signed up for this site(52-63%) are the parents who regared videogames (Over a Teen Rating) as Denntramental to childen. Really and truly this saddens me to see parents believe alchohol is worse that videogames. An addiction to alchohol is alot worse than taking out flustration in a FANTASY! world such as Killzone 2 or Gears of War.

Last edited by MirrorSoul on 8/12/2008 3:54:39 PM

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Bugzbunny109
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 6:19:47 PM

thanks mirror soul! you make perfect sense, it is better to masterbate than actually go and have sex, and either get a disease, have an un wanted child, or have to get married

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 4:23:39 PM
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Dad: Son! get away from that diggy blox 3000, right now!



** Hands Jimny Bottle of Vodka **

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Minishmaru
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:13:40 PM
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Hmmm...I got porn on my psp and ps3...plus I like to drink sometimes when i'm playing the PS3...so I guess I'm just a bad seed all in all XD

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JPBooch
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:16:38 PM
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I think where the fear from adults about video games is what snglbk26 was alluding to. It takes up too much of their childs time and they wind up becoming too introverted or missing out on things that will benefit their growth and development.
Perhaps this survey was taken a little out of context? I checked the blog that the article was written about and it didn't mention what the exact question was or it's allowed responses. Therefore it could be taken way out of context, such as....
In what order are you concerned your child will become more addicted to ___ alcohol ___ sex ___ video games.....blah blah blah. While video games is the more innocuous choice, I think a parent would feel their son or daughter would NEVER be addicted to the other choices therefore worry more about their obsessive video game use.
Relax everybody, America might be sexually repressed, but it is far from being castrated where our women aren't allowed to show skin and get jobs.

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JPBooch
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:31:02 PM
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Actually, a closer look at that article lets you see the actual poll. The question was "What would you be MOST concerned about your under-17 year old child having indulged in while sleeping over at a friend’s house?"
Drank beer 14%
Smoked marijuana 50%
Watched pornography 17%
Played Grand Theft Auto 19%

Wow, I would be a hell of a lot more concerned if my kids were drinking beer and watching porn at a friends than playing GTA. It wasn't taken out of context, just a lot of ignorance.

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Skwidd
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:49:39 PM
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Parents offended by sexual content in a game... Now which game is that? I dont know of any that has pornographic content. So how can suggestive polygon sexuality be worse than real life pornography??
Also, I dont see much harm in sexuality if its portrayed in meaningful context. Part of a relationship and 2 caring for each other, love making is a beautiful thing. Europe is aware of this. However, America's view on sexuality is just a nono and its even less tolerated than violence. How is that possible? Maybe America has the wrong idea of what sex is.
Saying all this, I am concerned with videogames just showing badass characters doing drugs and having random sex for pleasure. It is demeaning and I dont like it. There is also no need for it other than controversy as its not much of a turn on anyway. If we have our heads fixed on right we'd see making love as the 'cool' way instead of paid for gratuitous sex. It definitely sends the wrong message and from a VG perspective is almost always demeaning to women.

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Blood_Haze
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:52:41 PM
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parents are so retarded. hahaha lol

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Zapix
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 5:54:19 PM
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Well, since I don't claim to run with the 'normal' pack, never did, never will...

WARNING! Insanely long post, on my own history and as a parent.

I for one grew up around parties of adults getting wasted, seeing people kneeling before the porcelin gods, and at the tender age of about 4 or 5, I was gifted with cable television in my bedroom. Yes, as an atari 2600 owner, my parents saw fit to stick a TV in my bedroom with me! WOOHOO! Little did they know, when the cable was installed, I got the playboy channel! To this day I remember discovering it, and I remember finding it interesting. Also remember digging up my dad's porn collection under the bed, which wasn't just a collection, it was more like a warehouse! LOL Probably the earliest signs of the wheels in my mind turning was the collection of cutouts I had from clothing store advertisements and fashion magazines! Well, that, and I wanted to sleep with my 3rd grade teacher, but then I think every boy did since I remember we all knew she was hot!

Played the latest fighting video games, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, etc. Never got into Doom or Wolfenstein though.

It wasn't until I was nearly 17 I started drinking at all, and wasn't until I was 20 I really drank outside of a holiday, in which case I ended up with a drinking problem, but noticed it for myself and stopped immediately of my own free will, no help or support needed.

My mother tried to keep me from the above consistantly, including the growingly popular music, rap. I managed to sneak in the New Jack City soundtrack, even though the store clerk warned my mother about it. Don't see that from clerks these days! I was never allowed to watch MTV, and Aerosmith's video for Rag Doll was on the top of the forbidden list had I even had a chance. By the time I was 14 or 15, I was allowed to rent Natural Born Killers with the condition she wanted to talk to me about it after it was over. Which didn't get far, I wasn't dumb. It was a movie, and it was more than obvious. It was also right about this time I got completely fed up with her mental control over me, and moved to live with my dad, whom had always been more relaxed. Heck, he rented me hentai! LOL

Fast forward 6 years later (or rewind to summer of 2006), and I find myself as a step father to two kids, 4 (boy) and 6 (girl). I don't keep non digital porn in today's digital world, and the kids weren't allowed on my computer for more than obvious reasons, it was never a problem. Had they been of age, I'd simply give them their own user name.

They were pretty much allowed to play through any of the games I had, aside from a selection I pulled which included the Resident Evil games, Halo, Ghost Recon, Mortal Kombat, any RPG games I had, and my prized classic, Night Trap. That left them with a collection of games between the NES and PS1 and PS2 that was large enough to keep them happy. At 4 and 6, the NES is still a good system!

I drank from time to time with my gf, but usually after the kids had gone to bed. When I did drink and they saw it, I was dubbed "silly-daddy" because I'm a happy drinker. Their mother on the other hand, a bartender, drank often, and time to time they would complain about it... In silence, so was I though.

Their mother had already let them watch movies like BLADE by the time I was involved, which I thought was poor judgement. Being in their life, I toned down their intake of movies, and introduced them to anime. I followed a sort Japanese early teenage level standard on what they were allowed and not allowed to watch, which gave them quite alot of access to my collection. I grew up with GI Joe, Transformers and Voltron, which looking back on it was senseless no story fighting and violence without blood. This worked out well and there was rarely fighting between the two what they watched. Remember, we're talking about a boy and a girl here, so this was great not having debates about what they watched. Only when US movies or cartoons went on was there a problem. <3 anime!

No longer together, but remaining friends, and I still see the kids time time to time, their mother has allowed them to leap ahead. The son, now 6 plays Halo, the daughter is 8, and has a fascination with looking like a french-whore, (which MY mom only aids by dressing her up like one, adding all the makeup and perfume to go with it) and she think she's pretty... Not quite understanding the fact she's gone from cute-8 to juliaroberts-8, and that's not a good thing. Ugh, I fear for her teenage years.

So in all that, I have to say all 3 things, alcohol, porn AND games are things parents should be concerned about equally, especially on an age basis. If you're 14 or 15 with porn of some kind, that's more than expected. The same with kids to be dipping into the beer or something by 15 or 16. Games are games, and they're there, they're a form of general entertainment like movies, music, porn, but interactive. I more than expect kids by 14 to be playing shooter games, or Metal Gear Solid 4, but parents should also be parents and know their kids. Kids are different kid to kid, and in if your kid acts out violently, or whatnot, then perhaps a shooter or fighting game is not a good idea. It all comes down to age and parenting though. Sadly, age is just a part of life, parenting has become a choice, few seem to take it seriously, muchless realize it's a responsibility and a full time job to take seriously.

Personally, taking my ex step kids into consideration for this... I'd rather my son be playing Halo 3 with me offline than playing Call of Duty 4 at all, or playing ANY game online until he's about 13 or 14 with the question of maturity in place as well. I would prefer him to have some porn at 15 than knocking up a girl. I would prefer he drink a beer or any alcohol at home at 16 than go to a party with a bunch of friends where I have no control. Not saying I'd buy the porn, or give him the liquor. If he was smart, he'd find a way to get the porn online (even if it means hacking security settings, to which that I would give props! That involves learning computer networking and security), and on holidays ask to have a drink with the adults (which was when I was drinking when I was that age. Never went to parties, didn't have many friends to begin with)

As for my girl... She has some interest in games, depending on the game. Shooters and fighting games are not on her list, so the problem is immediately solved. Girls are rarely into having porn for themselves in my own knowledge. She would NOT have a webcam at all, ever! I would definately lock down the online chat abilities, and have a frame of reference who she's talking to. No way in hell would I be letting her go to parties without adults I know, or be out late. As for alcohol, same as above... If it's a holiday, and you ask me, I might give in a little just as my own parents did. LOL, not to mention if she's talkative, I'll hopefully get to hear the juicy stuff to which I'll have a pen and paper ready so I know which of the boys to kill if not ban her from! :P Oh and, dressing up? I know her mother is not a fan of it either, my mom just likes to overstep her grounds and play dress-up-like-a-whore... To which, historically, she was one.

On that note... Ben, you asked about deaths over video games? I can't give you a number on that, but my favorite story was the one a few years ago in Florida where a bunch of people killed each other over who was the owner of an XBOX... That's just sheer stupidity, but hey, we're a few stupid people shorter because of it!

Last edited by Zapix on 8/12/2008 5:55:29 PM

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Bugzbunny109
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 6:35:05 PM

dude how long did it take you to type this comment?

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Zapix
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 6:09:25 PM

Little side note to this, (yes, something short!) I mentioned the article to my father whom is a child psychiatrist. He said of the three, he'd be most worried about the video games, since they're often fighting games of sorts and violent. Not holding such a degree, I understand his viewpoint as I've seen children act out violence as seen in game, but they also act out what is seen on TV... So to bring games into this alone is ignoring the fact television itself has become violent, and over years, more realistic in ways far superior to games.

and on the note of the kids again, I remember them hitting each other and fighting in the car on the way home one day. I told them to stop, and they can wait to take it Tekken 5, where nobody will get hurt for real! A point few people remember to push... There's a difference between reality and games/movies, and pushing that difference helps keep that line in place. Might cut down on stupid things like a little brother killing his sister performing wrestling moves he saw on TV with dad, or some stupid kid putting his baby brother into dryer because he saw it on Beavis and Butthead. Not everyone is wired the same, but pointing the finger to blame others has become the scapegoat to taking basic responsibility.

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MirrorSoul
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 9:28:47 PM
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Wow.....I though I laid down a good post..Zapix just "Knights of the Round Table" Slashed my comment lol

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Zapix
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 5:48:02 PM

I dunno about that, I just said what I had to say, lol, even if it did take a post bigger than the article which Ben wrote!

Bugz, lol, I dunno how long it took, I lost track as I was doing other things in the process. Multitasking 4tw!

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SpinningBeat
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 9:48:09 PM
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Ben, I was kinda laughing at your comment about getting a degree in psychology and not wanting to join a "depressing" profession. I talked to a few people that got degrees in psychology and don't work in the field cause they thought it was depressing as well. Alot of them went to do things like teach English instead.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 10:11:36 PM
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yeah.
my dad was the one who introduced me into gaming. sh** he was more psyched when half-life came out then i was. AND hes the one helping me set up my own gaming website.

ive turned out fine.

ill admit if i have a game i havnt finished i will spend most of my time trying to accomplish that. but that is simply due to an addictive behavioural trait of mine hahahaha.


i agree with the comment above, in the next few years, parents will not be as worried, because the majority of parents will be gamers or ex-gamers.

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MirrorSoul
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 10:26:57 PM
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Thats exactly right Paulno....and then They shall move on to another industry and blame them for corrupting the youth...I say Supermodles are next..they will most likley say "They are portaying a false image to little girls that u must look a certian way to be beautiful"

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 1:55:09 AM
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Sad
The differences between Japan/Europe and the US are really big.

Seriously beer and porn more dangerous than games?

Shouldn't it be the other way around lol?

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Jed
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 5:04:47 AM
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The people who took this survey are irresponsible and ignorant. Everybody knows what alcohol can do to youngsters. If they dont know about the psychological affects of exposing children to porn, they should least know that it is wrong. But they know nothing about games. They hear reports from ignorant news reporters that portray videogames as some kind of evil demon possesion device. And people believe it because their own ignorance. Maybe if they payed attention to some of the games their kids were playing, they would get the idea that all games aren't "the devil". I think a lot of older parents are afraid of games and technology that they never knew during their lifetimes. Responsible parents that pay attention to their kids and what activities they participate in would never be afraid of video games because they would know which games are bad for their kids and keep them away. What can I say, knowledge is power.

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ceedot
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 7:26:44 AM
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Yes. Fu** the media. I have to say, games are probobly something that parents leave to babysit their children. Why don't they see the game first and decide what's right? And on the other hand, alcohol, and drugs, come the fuck on. They are what is destroying new generations. Kids who think they are cool because they do some stupid drug. And porn is ok, come on everyone knows that.
I've been gaming since I was... 5? People have to realise that games bring people together. Sure there are games that aren't meant for children, and that's exactly why there are ratings that specificly say 'Parental GUIDANCE is recommended', and all that. GUIDANCE being the key word. I think that the media portray games too harshly. I was watching that mass effect sex scandal crap and was disgusted on how they never let the professional game creator talk. They never even played the game and only go from what they hear. Ah fu** news.

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JPBooch
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 9:40:24 AM
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I got nothing but respect for you Ben. That profession and psychiatry, for that matter, have more loons in it than the people they are helping. Chaulk up a win for the gaming industry. :)

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Nightshade386
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 12:48:33 PM
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Parents are so lazy these days. I'm sorry, but my parents were busy as all hell, and they still found time to raise me the right way. Now parents expect television and video games to raise their children for them, and then cry foul when the child is exposed to content that they find objectionable. Perhaps if the parents found the time to raise their child in the first place, that wouldn't be a problem.

But the easiest thing is always to pass the buck and blame someone else for your own failings as a parent. It's quite sad really, and the children aren't being well served by it at all.

I personally think people oughta have to take some sort of competency test before they're allowed to breed. Kinda like getting your driver's license. But then again, judging by the poor driving I encounter on an almost daily basis, that probably wouldn't work either.

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Jed
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 7:32:00 PM
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I thought it was kind of strange how this came out right after the peice Ben wrote about porn in games

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Aftab
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 8:56:49 PM
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Ben, your comment put a smile on my face. And MirrorSoul: I appreciate your candor, but I rather speak the truth and sound wrong, then to appear right, only to side with the wrong. Moreover, many urges are natural. Hunger is natural, but would I let it drive me to eat from the garbage? And about this article, games kill time, but pornagraphy and alcoholism kill the soul. Problem is, a lot of parents can't tell the difference.

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shootu
Sunday, August 17, 2008 @ 2:52:55 AM
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Lets get back to reality. Parents are just too lazy to teach their kids from right and wrong. Parents are getting so lazy they are relying on schools and teachers to show them right and wrong. Witch is a small part of helping kids grow up and learn right from wrong. Instead of parents teaching them they just put them in front of a video game as a baby sitter.

In all reality how many people die from video games??? There is more people that die from porn (witch saves marriages and from getting STD's) then video games. Parents should be more worried about their kids dieing from a car crash, alcohol, drugs, guns, tobacco or even cancer. Cancer kills more kids then video games. What would kids do that are not good at sport or have no interest in sports or home work???? They get board!!!! And board kids get into crime, alcohol, drug and all kinds of trouble.

In real world its up to the parent to decide what the kids play and watch. Just like driving vehicles, movies, porn, alcohol, tobacco, guns and some counties drugs there is an age limit. Parents if video games are all you have to worry about its time to put down the controller, turn off the T.V and look outside into the real world cause thats the killer and its all going to SHIT!

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