ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Video Games: How Young Is Too Young

Updated on March 2, 2016

A few months back I saw an argument on Reddit (at least I think it was on Reddit) about whether small children should be allowed to play video games or not. The argument started when a site user posted a question asking other users what kind of games they would recommend for their 5 year old. Many users went on to suggest things such as Lego Star Wars and Little Big Planet, while other users began to berate the parent for allowing his small child to even think about playing video games.

I think what's odd about this whole scenario is that, for the longest, playing video games was considered to be a children's hobby. Even to this day I know many people who still cling to such ideologies. However with the rise of "Rated M for Mature" games, and the constant attack of ignorant politicians who'd like to blame all of society's evil on video games - regardless of their ESRB rating, we've begun to find ourselves entangled in a great debate over whether children should even be allowed to play games or not.

I myself was first introduced to gaming at the tender age of 3; Doom on the Sega Genesis 32X was the game. Nowadays if someone were to catch a 3 year old playing a game such as Doom they'd flip their wig. But back then, no one really seemed to give it a second thought. Now of course I played other games on my dad's Sega Genesis as well. There was my mom's copy of Ms. Pac-Man and my dad's X-Men and X-Men 2: Clone Wars games. And of course I can't forget Streets of Rage and Eternal Champions. I played these games on a regular and I think it's safe to say I turned out fine. However now that my son has taken a serious interest in video games (he's 7) and my husband and I have to welcome another child into the family (our 1 year old), I've been thinking a lot about what is and isn't age appropriate.

When I look back on a lot of the things I grew up on, most of it in today's day and age would be considered terribly inappropriate. I mean I grew up on those old animated Disney movies and not once did my parents or grandparents ever blink an eye when one of the many Disney villians was brutally murdered at the end. I used to ride all around town in my dad's red pick-up truck with no car/booster seat (sometimes no seat belt) while listening to 2pac music on the radio. In the summer I got to play outside until 9 o'clock (when I was just 5) as long as I stayed in the field in front of our home. My friends and I played Mortal Kombat together when were only 7 and his pastor father never had any objections. I regularly watched The X-Files and Tales from the Crypt with my dad. And my mother and I couldn't get enough of Xena (hence the profile pic) which was indeed pretty violent and had many lesbian undertones. And even though modern society says that these things are wrong, and admittedly even I wouldn't allow my children to do some of these things now, for arguments sake, I was a well-adjusted child.

While I do believe that some games just shouldn't be played by younger children, and while I do think that my dad was absolutely bonkers for letting me watch Tales from the Crypt (I had nightmares for years), I also think that modern society shelters children way too much. The reality of it all is that we do live in a war torn world where people die peacefully and violently every day. We do live in a society where not everyone is attracted to the opposite sex and regardless of where you stand on the issue, we should accept it and move on with our lives. We do live in a world where the unexplained happens and where government conspiracy has at different points in history been proven to be real; maybe not on the scale of The X-Files and Tales from the Crypt, but you get the point.

No, you won't be catching me letting my son play Doom or any of the Grand Theft Auto games any time soon. And for a few more years his primary gaming console will continue to be one created by Nintendo (sorry Sony and Microsoft). But as he and his little brother grow, I won't shelter them. I won't expose them to anything they're not ready for. But I also won't shy away from the hard hitting issues just because they're kids. The same goes for video games. Right now my 7 year old is not ready for anything outside of Nintendo games and a few racing and skateboarding games we have on other consoles. But when I feel he's mature enough I'll begin to introduce him to some of the games my husband and I love. Games like Kingdom Hearts (probably the first on the intro list), Skyrim, Heavy Rain, Gears of War, and Grand Theft Auto.

I think it's a huge stretch to say that kids shouldn't be allowed to play any kind of video games simply because they're kids. I think that the better answer would be to say that the parents should decide based upon that individual child's maturity level. I think that by placing the responsibility back on the parents instead of handing it over to the gaming community, society might begin to see a shift in consciousness. Perhaps we'll see parents actually taking the time out to research a game before buying it for their kids. Perhaps politicians will stop blaming every single atrocity that happens in this country on our beloved hobby. And perhaps we'll see more of the youth take an interest in actual mature games - because maturity isn't determined by how much blood, gore, profanity, and sexual innuendos you can pack into one game.

So anyway, thanks for reading! And as usual, I'll leave you all with a few questions. How young would you consider too young to play video games, and how young were you when you first started playing? How do you/would you approach introducing your children to video games, rated E or otherwise? And do you think society is sheltering our children and as a result is it placing a negative stigma on our hobby? Anyway, feel free to leave feedback in the comments section and happy gaming!

Previously posted at my blog at


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)