Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column addresses video gaming

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Unplugged Mom

Dear Unplugged: Did your husband and your father start their recreational lives as very young children playing violent video games intended for adults?

I’m going to guess not. I presume that when they were children these older men exercised their imaginations and bodies the old-fashioned way — out in the backyard, on the ball field, or down the block in the neighborhood.

Don’t they want the same for these kids?

I completely agree with you. Your children are way too young to play (or watch others play) these games.

It would be great if your kids had a dad and granddad who cared enough about them to get off the couch and take them outside to engage in play that is truly interactive. The number of letters I receive from parents of teens and young adults (mostly male, frankly), anguished over the hours, money and effort spent on video gaming would persuade any parent to delay this activity — or at least offer younger children something in the realm of age-appropriate.


These adults, who are basically co-opting the kiddies in order to do battle with you, are also providing an example of adolescent gamesmanship.

The kids should be left entirely out of this while the adults hash things out.

For more information on the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s rating system (including very helpful tips on how families can discuss this important issue), check The site includes information on how to install parental controls on various branded gaming systems.

It sounds as if you could use some “grandparental” controls, too. – June 2012


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