Is this game appropriate for a 14 year old?

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Initial post: Apr 6, 2008 5:17:43 PM PDT
My son is 14 and he has played the Halo games, Call of Duty 4, etc., now he wants GFA IV, but I am worried that it will be worse then the games he has played so far. He says that this new GTA game is not as bad as the previous ones. What do you think?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2008 5:30:04 PM PDT
Brian Lee says:
i read somewhere that therapists let kids play gta and such games for them to get there angst out..also to bond with the patient more... its a way for them to vent and do all those things.. lol something like that

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2008 7:42:11 PM PDT
B. Farmer says:
If you don't mind letting your son run over and/or shooting/killing innocent pedestrians, shoot at the police/FBI/Army, kill hookers before or after paying them for services, go to strip clubs which could contain partial nudity, get drunk AND DRIVE, watch people do drugs, steal various vehicles (including breaking into cars), play as a underground crook, have multiple girlfriends at the same time, do assassination style missions for the police, pretty much have free reign over the city as a crook. This game will be rated M, meaning 18+. Your choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2008 6:24:52 AM PDT
T. Pop says:
This game is rated M but so are the other 2 you named so....

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2008 6:32:12 AM PDT
IceAndrews says:
It's rated M. Would you let your kid go to a rated R movie?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2008 4:17:31 PM PDT
John Clabby says:
It is probably the same as all other GTA games, but you're kid is fine. Hopefully you don't think if he kills people in a video game he's going to become a homicidal maniac and go on a killing rampage. There's nothing in it that will be new to him either, it's not like 14 year olds don't know anything about sex or violence. It's based on a mafia character, so it'll be pretty violent, but nothing you don't see in movies or even just plain cable TV. Sure, you can shoot at cops, but it's a video game. All of these crazy 40 year old mothers try to keep their children protected by keeping them away from anything bad in the world but what they're really doing is preparing them to become 30 year old single guys still living at home. If they can't do non-realistic fun things in a video game, they'll go do something fun(and dangerous/illegal) outside. Unless the person playing the games has no idea what a gun is and would want to kill someone, then played this and gained the knowledge to do so with a gun, they'll be perfectly fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2008 6:44:50 PM PDT
MightyMad says:
Basically, use your common sense - the game is too violent for most kids, but if you think your son is mature enough to watch films like "Scarface" or "Goodfellas", GTA should be nothing for him - yeah, yeah, you can kill pretty much everything in sight, have sex with hookers and pretty much be a public nuisance, but it doesn't mean that you HAVE to be one while playing it (not completely, anyway...)
There's also little chance that your kid will turn into a juvenile delinquant playing this game (if GTA had any real-life impact on its players, I probably would be a serial-killing/raping, drug-dealing, big-pimpin' kingpin by now!) If anything, this game will probably tame down evil/stupid impulse your teen may have (I like thinking of GTA as a virtual punching bag for the suckiness of real life!)
But here's a suggestion you should probably do anyway to make sure that the game is appropriate for your kid: PLAY IT WITH HIM! Granted, GTA isn't everybody's cup of tea, but to really get this series, you have to check it out for yourself. Better yet, watch it with your son and talk about it with him after a few hours of gaming. I know , it sounds like something right out of an 'After-School Special', but I don't have to tell you that part of being a good, responsible parent is to just get a little bit involve in the interests of your child. You can check out the game for yourself and, at the same time, get some quality time with your son.
Hey, if you can bond a little bit more over running away from the cops and/or the mafia over a drug deal gone bad, you can't bond over anything!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2008 3:53:11 AM PDT
Nail on the head, M.M. It's all reletive to the 14 year old. When I was 14, I was doing things MUCH worse than playing a video game. If the parent spends time with the kid and tries to understand his interests it will lead to a much more bonding relationship.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2008 7:31:02 PM PDT
I'm a gamer, have been for over 24 years, and am an elementary school teacher.

Not everyone parents the same, but when I have kids, they definitely won't be playing GTA. Not all M-Rated games are equal, and this is definitely one that I feel is inappropriate for minors.

Perhaps you should do as the other poster mentioned and watch your son play it and discuss it with him. Or better yet, rent it first, play it yourself, and then decide.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 12:51:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2008 12:55:03 AM PDT
S. Gunnell says:
No it is not appropriate for a 14 year old. The GTA games not only allow you to kill inocents and police, but it is REQUIRED to play the game. The glorification of sex, drug use, gangs/organized crime, murder and just about any other illegal or immoral act is what the game is built around and based on. the M rating means it has already been decided by those with first hand experience viewing the game that this is not an appropriate game for a 14 yo.

Like others said, it is your decision, because you (or someone else) will ultimately have to buy it for him to get around the rating meant to keep this out of under-aged gamers hands. Not trying to be a goody-two-shoes or judgemental, but I would seriously consider it before buying this for him. It is good to see you care enough to do the research and find out about the game before buying it like so many other parents are doing.

Craig T.'s response is my favorite, if you have the time and money to spend time playing it yourself first. Good advice.
Anyway, good luck with the decision!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 4:31:24 PM PDT
"He says that this new GTA game is not as bad as the previous ones."

That is a flat out lie.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2008 12:36:12 PM PDT
Dubyac99 says:
I have played all the GTA games with my son who was around 2 when III came out. Just play with him and don't play any violent missions with him. If you're not a gamer, don't buy it for your 14 year old to play alone.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2008 5:41:15 PM PDT
The question is whether or not your son is mature enough to understand reality from fiction, and honestly you, or his mother or sister/brother will be the best judge of this. That being said the game is probably no different (violence wise) from the exsposure that he experiences from the T.V./Internet. The fact is that if your son is not an indivdual who is very impressional, has his own personallity and an appreciation to life as well as to you, then he most likely is mature agent with the ability to handle and understand this game as a game. The best answer is know the best answer. But, personally i have played violent video games all of my life and have a deep respect for life as well as others as well as the law. If you have done a good job as a parent than you probably not need to worry about the alleged negative implications of this game, and for that matte any game.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2008 11:03:33 PM PDT
B. Walsh says:
If I had a 14 year,there is no way I'd let him/her play any Grand Theft Auto game that is rated M for mature. I would suggest the 14 year old to play Bully. I think it would be disturbing to have any 14 year old play Grand Theft Auto. I even think that some adults shouldn't be allowed to play a GTA game. That however is another discussion. I'm in my 30's and I am so looking forward to GTA 4.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2008 9:32:49 AM PDT
K. Vinod says:
Well GTA 4 was build with adult players in mind. The other games he played were also rated M but thats mainly because of the gore and language. But GTA is going to take it a little further than that.This GTA game is going to be the same as the previous ones in terms of sexual content and violence. But it won't have the sex minigame like in the previous game. It's really upto you if you think that your son's will or won't be affected by being exposed to this kind of content. I think you should wait a little longer before you let your son play this game.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2008 6:47:32 PM PDT
Its rated mature, that means if you wouldn`t let your son watch an R rated movie, don`t let him play this game. It sounds like you`re a little more lax and you`re actually looking into this so that is encouraging. This all comes down to a judgment call on your part, is your kid able to handle random acts of violence, discussions and missions revolving around drug trafficking, strippers and "adult" language. If you know you`re son is mature enough to understand these things then get the game.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2008 12:58:00 PM PDT
I started playing the GTA series when I was 12(I'm 17 now), I'll admit I've had a ton of fun with it(and it's content) and I felt all video games should be this open ended and unrestricted(I mean who likes to play inside a box). Now I've played the last 3 games over the past 5-6 years and I can say with all honesty that I've never felt the urge to violently beat a prostitute and kill a cop(especially since I know there is real life repercussions for doing something so stupid, in the game you can just run away after you do it and all of a sudden it's all fine and dandy not to say I would do it either way cause I've built my own set of morals and ethics) I can clearly say the GTA series has been nothing, but entertainment for me and has never carried over any dangerous impression on my life and anyone who says it'll corrupt your child is just bsing you. ultimately though your kid is going to play it for a few months(hell of a lot more than any other game vegas 2 only took me 4 days to beat and get bored of) and he'll get bored of it and you'll probably never see any dangerous effects on his mind.

If anything the biggest qualm you should have about this game(or any game for that matter) is that it's going to keep him inside and playing a video game and not outside(but who knows might be good for him depending on your area)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2008 8:32:34 PM PDT
It's really your call. This game isn't going to turn your otherwise stable son into a criminal or anything but if you don't mind your son being exposed to drugs, murder, car jacking, whores, cop killing, cursing, and whatever else you can imagine that you would find many R rated movies of the same tone. Halo is about a super solider fighting to save mankind from aliens and a virus(?) and Call or Duty 4 is a war game that while it's very violent, it's not exactly the same thing. I have a 4 year old son, and I wouldn't play GTA4 while he's about, but when he gets older I'd have to make the judgment call based on him as far as what media I want him exposed to.

I am sure your son is very bright, and understands right and wrong, and it's good that you have to ask yourself if he's ready for it or not, instead of just ignoring what your son is exposed to.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2008 2:05:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2008 2:10:04 PM PDT
G. Palait says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2008 2:12:36 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2008 3:05:43 PM PDT
I seriously do not see how playing a video game such as Grand Theft Auto could influence your 14 year old child to go out and commit crime. I started playing GTA3 when I was 13 years old (I'm 18 now). I've extensively played every GTA game released since then, and it has in no way made me a more violent person. I think that kids who go out and kill people after playing a game like this were already mentally unstable to begin with, and the lawyers defending them use games like GTA as a scapegoat. But as long as you trust your kid, and believe that he is smart enough to know the difference between real and make-believe, then there should be no problem at all with games like this one.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2008 1:27:05 PM PDT
P. gamache says:
if you are a good parent, it shouldn't matter what video game your kid plays. he'll see it all at school anyway. is he comfortable enough around you to tell you about it after he plays it? That is the question you should be asking.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2008 1:07:42 AM PDT
Farhad Badri says:
Simply put, that is a gross over-exaggeration. Blaming video games and other forms of pop culture has been a tactic used by the media and politicians for years, simply to try and sway those who don't pay attention to such things to their side. The media wants ratings and politicians want votes so they use scare tactics to create some sort of controversy when in reality the real questions shouldn't be "was this person playing violent games" and instead should be "how did this mentally unstable person get hold of a gun so easily, and why did security measures at school fail?" To buy into the hype that games are somehow behind things such as Columbine and Virginia Tech is nothing short of ignorance.

Mr. Shigematsu, ultimately you and the rest of your family are the judge as to whether your son is mature enough to handle a game like GTA. The game was indeed made for adults, but I know some kids your son's age that are more mature than working fathers with a family to support. If you feel that your son can handle the content that is in GTA then it is okay, but if you feel it would be best for him to wait a little while longer then that's okay too. It's very good that you are at least asking questions rather than blindly buying the game like many other parents do, and I commend you for staying on top of what your son is interested in and doing with his time.

As for your son's claim, I'd have to disagree. This game will probably be on the same level as the previous GTA titles, so if you feel that the last few titles like San Andreas or Vice City are appropriate then this one probably will be as well. If you can rent it first and play it yourself (or watch him play it at least) then you can see first-hand the content in the game and then decide whether or not it's worth spending the money to buy. I'd recommend doing that with all future games you're unsure about.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2008 5:28:43 PM PDT
Pohngean Loo says:
as long as you know that your son knows what is right and wrong. i think there shouldn't be a problem letting him play gta4.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2008 10:33:20 PM PDT
Pomona says:
It had been ten years since I played the first GTA game. I am going to graduate from College this year, so you may guess what was my age when I first play it.
To be honest, I believe your son is old enough to determine what is appropriate to act in the real world. Of course, it's up to you to let him play it or not. Some actions in the game (like gun shoot and all that) may seems crazy to parents, but kids are not stupid enough to try to act it in the real world.
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Participants:  48
Total posts:  60
Initial post:  Apr 6, 2008
Latest post:  May 3, 2008

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Grand Theft Auto IV - PlayStation 3
Grand Theft Auto IV - PlayStation 3 by Rockstar Games (PlayStation 3)
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