Discussion: Am I a bad parent for letting my kid watch The Walking Dead

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  • TheBlackDog 8 Jul 2013 10:31:19 259 posts
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    This isn't really a discussion about video game violence and whether it might encourage a child to behave in a violent manner, or normalise violence. More about parental responsibility generally relating to video game exposure for children.

    I got thinking about this when I recently felt bad about letting my younger daughter (nearly 12) watch my 18 year old play The Walking Dead the other day. We don't let the little one watch anything like horror or adult drama, but her watching something like a 15 comedy is OK with us (most of it goes over her head).

    But, as the older girl was playing TWD I kinda just let the little one hang around and watch her. I kept asking if she was OK and in the end she watched the whole first chapter. Thing is, I know TWD can be very heavy in parts, but its also a moral tale and I think there is a lot of good stuff in there about choice, responsibility, etc.

    As I'm writing this, I'm wondering why I'm making a distinction between films and video games. And I think thats partly the point. I would never let the little one watch The Walking Dead series, so why did I relax that rule for the video game version ?? I reckon there is an assumption that video games are somehow not as 'real' but of course, they are getting pretty realistic now, both in visual terms and with the storytelling.

    I just read someone post on EG just now, saying they played through Ravenholme in Half Life 2 with their 7 year old and lol'ed because that section was pretty scary but I think thats probably OK for most kids (not sure about at what age its OK) because its more cartoony and 'preposterous' as a proposition. But TWD, even though its obviously animated drawings, just got me thinking I'd gone a bit far and maybe I shouldn't let her watch the subsequent chapters.

    Having said all that, I read The Exorcist when I was around 9 or 10, plus a bunch of Stephen King and James Herbert stuff at around the same age, and I don't think it affected me in a bad way. But of course, the same things affect people differently.

    Edit: Oh, thread title should be 'my' kid not 'me' kid.

    Edited by TheBlackDog at 10:33:14 08-07-2013

    Edited by TheBlackDog at 10:34:42 08-07-2013
  • smoothpete 8 Jul 2013 10:33:16 31,017 posts
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    Yes
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 8 Jul 2013 10:34:17 36,282 posts
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    I dunno man, have YOU played TWD all the way through? It gets pretty intense by the time you get to Chapter 3 and is relentlessly dark from then on.

    Not that the events of Chapter 2 were a fucking picnic, but still.

    I totally called it.
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  • atomicjuicer 8 Jul 2013 10:35:04 274 posts
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    Yes
  • Tomo 8 Jul 2013 10:38:01 13,841 posts
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    Hmm. My parents let me watch all sorts as a tot and I like to think I've turned out okay. I haven't shot anyone yet.

    That said, giving in to my request to watch Predator when I was about 7 years old was probably not the wisest idea. Perhaps inevitably I didn't get beyond the bit with the commandos hanging in the trees...
  • robthehermit 8 Jul 2013 10:38:42 3,831 posts
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    Nope. Kids need to know how to survive the zombie apocalypse. You'd feel a lot worse if they got their face bitten off because they didn't know that poking sleeping zombies with sticks was a bad idea.

    GT: robthehermit

    Velim esset mundus iustus futuis procul et mori.

  • TheBlackDog 8 Jul 2013 10:39:26 259 posts
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    I played up to the end of chapter 3.
  • dominalien 8 Jul 2013 10:44:32 6,742 posts
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    I'm pretty sure it depends on the kid in question. You know best (heh), being their parent.

    I don't have kids, but I think games can have a much deeper impact if you're the one playing them. Then there's the whole cartoon-vs-live action thing, of course.

    That said, as I was growing up there was no social consciousness that certain things are inappropriate for minors (except for the sexual stuff, that was really taboo), so I watched all kinds of things and with my parents' permission, too. I did turn out OK... but only just.

    So, yeah, your call. But considering you're having doubts and are thinking about it, I'd say you'll be OK.

    PSN: DonOsito

  • kalel 8 Jul 2013 10:46:54 83,875 posts
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    "Bad parent" is a very emotive and accusatory term. I'd lean to wards phrases like "naive" or something.

    The big mistake people make with video games is they forget that it's the "themes" that are as adult as any amount of graphical representation. There's stuff raised in there that is simply not for kids.
  • SolidSCB 8 Jul 2013 10:57:03 5,826 posts
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    I think you have to look at it on an individual level with the content if you are going to allow it. As a kid, my parents were fairly relaxed with the sort of stuff I could watch/play but there were certain cases where a film/game absolutely terrified me and caused me a bit of distress. It's certainly not as black and white as going "Right, I'm going to allow my kid to watch all adult rated stuff" if you are going to have a relaxed stance on it. You still have to filter the content on an individual level IMO.
  • imamazed 8 Jul 2013 10:59:35 5,455 posts
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    I remember watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest as an 8 year old.

    Most if, ahem, flew right over my head at the time. Hard to say what, if any, impact it had but when I watched it again as a teenager/young adult I could barely remember any of it anyway. I certainly wouldn't have understood the themes.

    Not sure if that's relevant actually; it's certainly not interesting really is it.
  • kalel 8 Jul 2013 11:00:13 83,875 posts
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    Actually the game is a 15, not an 18 as I thought.

    I think letting a mature 11 year old watch a 15 while you're providing guidance is probably fine.
  • graysonavich 8 Jul 2013 11:05:24 6,802 posts
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    4 years to go! \o/
  • jonsaan 8 Jul 2013 11:15:12 25,252 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    Actually the game is a 15, not an 18 as I thought.

    I think letting a mature 11 year old watch a 15 while you're providing guidance is probably fine.
    This. As a parent it's all about knowing the content of what they are playing and making an informed decision. It also depends on the child, and as Kalel says, provide guidance and be a chaperone.

    FCUTA!

  • SolidSCB 8 Jul 2013 11:23:18 5,826 posts
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    Funnily enough I played a large chunk of The Walking Dead with my 9-year-old nephew, and I didn't feel it was too much for him. I think the graphical style of the game helps a great deal TBH. The cartoony/comic style makes the violence and gore far less gritty than it should be.
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 11:56:55
    Not a bad parent, assuming you are conscious of what is going on and the effect it could have on your kid.
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 14:12:09
    imamazed wrote:
    I remember watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest as an 8 year old.

    Most if, ahem, flew right over my head at the time. Hard to say what, if any, impact it had but when I watched it again as a teenager/young adult I could barely remember any of it anyway. I certainly wouldn't have understood the themes.

    Not sure if that's relevant actually; it's certainly not interesting really is it.
    One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is an interesting case, because it has never really been deserving of the 18 certificate in the UK. One scene of suicide (not glorified in any way), some tits and some rather mature topics, and that's about it.

    It's a telling thing that even here in censorship-crazy Germany, the very same film is rated 12.

    I do agree with you about needing to be an adult though to really understand the themes, but that applies to so many films and series. Hell, that can even apply to Spongebob Squarepants.

    The most dangerous films/games for kids are those that present a dubious moral decision or a stereotype as an absolute - "drugs are good", "killing innocent people is perfectly acceptable", "black people are all pimps", and all that. I watched Braindead at the age of 12 and had no problems with it, because at that age I recognised it as special effects and comedy.

    If there's one area in which Cuckoo's Nest can be accused of having a corrupting influence, it is its negative portrayal of authority and its glorification of rebellion. Which, if I'm honest, is far worse than any blood and guts.
  • Folant 8 Jul 2013 14:59:35 1,143 posts
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    Surely the age ratings are there for guidance only. (and to enforce selling restrictions.)

    As a parent, surely it's your own discretion as to what is suitable for your own child or not. I mean, yeah, you're not gonna let a 7 year old watch something like 2 girls, 1 cup, but a game here, a film there, that just happens to have an age rating higher than your child's age... Blah blah... But do you think your child can handle the violence, language, themes, whatever...?

    Do you think you're a bad parent?

    Posted from my Nexus 4, not using Tapatalk 4.

  • TheBlackDog 8 Jul 2013 21:30:41 259 posts
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    No, I'm not a bad parent. We're really relaxed as parents in fact but it did make me wonder whether I'd done the right thing in letting her watch The Walking Dead just because its so full-on.

    Appreciate all the comments - as usual, EG hive mind is full of common-sense. As I understand it, if I'm thinking about stuff like this, questioning what I'm doing, etc, then its all good, within reason, etc. Sounds sensible to me.

    Not trying to put a comedy spin on my daughters naivety about rude words but it shows where we are at with parenting and her age: she just came in from the lounge after watching a documentary about the Louvre museum and asks what an erection is (apparently mentioned in a commentary about one of the paintings) and then catches me having put down "wanks" on the Scrabble Board and tells me it isn't allowed because it isn't a real word. I just agreed and said I'd made it up.
  • Syrette 8 Jul 2013 21:37:05 41,864 posts
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    it's a horribly dark, bleak, sad game. I wouldn't recommend a kid to watch it being played, but I don't think it'll influence them in any way.

  • President_Weasel 8 Jul 2013 21:41:01 8,604 posts
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    Sounds like you did it right. All the people saying "depends on the kid" are (in my layman's opinion) correct. All kids are different.
    You say you were keeping an eye on the kid and making sure she was all right, which to my mind sounds better than just a blanket ban on scary stuff.
  • superdelphinus 8 Jul 2013 22:33:53 7,268 posts
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    I'd say yes
  • superdelphinus 8 Jul 2013 22:34:38 7,268 posts
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    Though I've let my 6 year old watch the entire harry potter series so I probably deserve to be locked up as well
  • pacrifice 8 Jul 2013 22:46:31 959 posts
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    Maybe.
  • Folant 8 Jul 2013 22:48:01 1,143 posts
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    Harry Potter is pretty vile.

    Gay wizard and shit.

    Posted from my Nexus 4, not using Tapatalk 4.

  • Ged42 8 Jul 2013 23:05:51 7,642 posts
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    Depends on the kid and how well they understand the difference between pretend and real. You have much better idea of what your kid can handle and what they can't.

    Just don't come complaining when they've kept you up all night with nightmares or got in trouble at school for pretending to decapitate their 'zombie' friends in the playground.
  • bad09 8 Jul 2013 23:10:01 5,506 posts
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    Age ratings are a guide, they are not actually some magical age when we all finally understand media they merely serve to protect retailers and content makers and protect children from accessing something the might not understand on their own.

    The question is not "are you a bad parent", just because you let your daughter see media above her age doesn't make you a bad parent the question really is "does my daughter have the understanding to deal with the content she is seeing in the right context?" The answer to that is not on a forum and you should have it already.

    Edited by bad09 at 23:10:40 08-07-2013
  • JiveHound 8 Jul 2013 23:44:59 2,147 posts
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    jamyskis wrote:

    If there's one area in which Cuckoo's Nest can be accused of having a corrupting influence, it is its negative portrayal of authority and its glorification of rebellion. Which, if I'm honest, is far worse than any blood and guts.
    Hmm, I think it was more about highlighting the barbaric treatment of the mentally ill and how lots of conditions hadn't been identified at the time.

    You don't have to be underrage to misinterpret content.

    Live: Jive Hands
    PSN: Jive_Hands

  • rudedudejude 9 Jul 2013 01:23:37 2,101 posts
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    Drugs are all good though, so that message is ok.
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