Scott Weiner, of Mansfield, said he buys some games with violent content because he knows his older son, who is 13, will be exposed to them anyway, and he wants to educate himself.
“You might as well deal with it, because it’s going to happen anyway,” Weiner said.
His line of thinking will be familiar to many parents. “The first time my son asked for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 I was like, ‘No way. It will never happen.’ Then you realize their friends are getting the games.”
Weiner, the chief technology officer of Blue Hill Partners, and the manager of a forum for parent-friendly apps, parentswithapps.com, plays the games first, then lets his son know which settings he can use. “This way we can have a conversation about it.”
Even as the games are a source of near-constant friction in some homes, they can also cause stress between families — even when children are just having a play date, said Sandie Angulo Chen, a senior reviewer for Common Sense Media .
“Parents of this generation have to deal with screen protocols,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a preschooler watching TV, or tweens and teens and “M” rated videos (which are for players 17 and older). There are a lot of considerations that parents have to deal with when they allow kids to go on sleepover or just to a kid’s house down the street.”
Elsa Oberg, a part-time math teacher from Framingham, said the tension she feels over “Call of Duty” has nothing to do with other parents, but rather herself. About a year ago, after her son’s intense lobbying efforts, she caved and bought him the game.
“I’m antigun,” Oberg said, “and I can’t stand the NRA. But then my own son is downstairs playing this extremely violent game.”
And yet, she tells herself, he’s an excellent student, an athlete, and a nice boy with clean-cut friends.
“The game depresses me,” she said, “but I guess I chalk [his enjoyment] up to him being a 15-year-old boy.”