Q&A: How Can I Limit My Teen's Exposure to Violent Video Games?
Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on how far you can go in preventing your gamer son from playing graphic titles.
Q. My 15-year-old and his friends love video games, especially Madden, which is fine, and Call of Duty, which I don't like because it's so violent. But COD is everywhere—so, short of cutting him off from his buddies, what are my options? —KellyJohnson
A. I completely get why you hate COD. But please be careful not to lump it with other games that are hyperviolent, because if you do, you'll come across to your son as too extreme to be taken seriously. This is the way I look at it: There's a big difference between games like Madden, Halo, and even COD, where players can do battle and be heroes, and ones like Grand Theft Auto, which glorify revenge, depravity, and the degradation of women. That is the point I suggest you make to your son. Of course, you can and should limit what comes into your home, but you're not a fool. So be straight up with him and say, "I know you may play these games in other places, but I want you to understand why I'm opposed to them and won't allow them in my house."
Originally published in the March 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.