BEN WROTE: (Regarding a post from a reader named Jared) I don’t know of any parent (that actually knows what the big M on the box means) who would let there kid play that. I’m 14 and my parents are unwilling to let borrow halo 3 from a friend even though I have call of duty modern warefare 2.
Ok, that isn’t a question but I wanted to yank it out of a long buried article to make a point and to address the question hidden inside Ben’s post.
I’d estimate based on experiences like when I spoke at the American and Mississippi Librarian conventions and when I’ve done PTA or other work, that roughly 20% or so of parents do not understand* or care at all about the ESRB ratings.
* more likely haven’t tried to understand
The parents who understand the ratings best are the ones who care the most. They genuinely want to know if a game can hurt their kids, they haven’t made up their minds about media being harmful.
Most of my readers are the above.
That said, the VAST majority of parents in America, I believe, either don’t care or don’t worry about R rated movies or M rated games. Either because they’re too busy, or they’ve given up on making video games a “battleground” with their kids, or they were raised watching grown-up movies as kids themselves. They figure “It didn’t hurt me so it shouldn’t hurt them.”
My experience therefore is that the parents who I hear from most are the ones next-to-least likely to let their kids play M-rated games (the “least” likely are parents who already mistrust media) are a small but vocal number. Parents like yours Ben.
Most parents, for whatever reason, let videogames join DVDs, Internet and TV. They don’t have time, or enough fear/worry, to pay close attention. I don’t judge any parental decision.