How one mom decided to say no to 'Black Ops'

Kristy Quist

June 29, 2011

It's easy for us to "flow" with worldly things and to allow our children to do as others do to fit in. I'm glad to hear that you are modeling "all to the glory of God" in your relationship with your son. He'll make his own choices -- good or bad -- soon enough. Thank you for showing him the right one in this instance.

June 29, 2011

It's a brave new world out there when it comes to entertainment. I almost feel like its a tsanami and our kids just get swept up, despite our attempts to sheild them. wisdom. Prayer. Vigilance.

June 29, 2011

The thing I find fascinating is that if there were even a hint of a woman's nipple in the video game, it would be the Scandal of the Year. Nobody would ever suggest that it was in any way appropriate for kids under 18, and some would even suggest that it wasn't appropriate for anyone. Look what happened with the Grand Theft Auto game when it was revealed that there was an R-rated sex-related minigame with no nudity that wasn't even accessible without hacking.

And yet, in that very same game, shooting people and running them over with cars is not just commonplace but encouraged... and in Black Ops, the player is a soldier who kills their enemies in gruesome ways. The blood and violence of contemporary video games makes the brouhaha over Mortal Kombat—the big video game violence fight of my youth—seem almost comical in comparison. And some Christian parents think that's totally okay to give to their kids.

So nipples or simulated sex—depictions of a part of every person's body or of acts that, in the proper context, are edifying and positive—would absolutely not be considered okay for anyone under 18, but killing someone gruesomely by shooting them, sniping them, knifing them, running them over with a car—things that are certainly not part of God's desired order for the world—are up for debate as to whether our children should be emulating and putting themselves in these practices?
Please keep in mind that I'm not in any way indicting you in this, Ms. Quist; this is more a reflection on our culture and the comparative taboos we have for sex and violence. You appear to have made a serious and conscientious choice, based on your understanding of Christ's message as well as your own experiences of the pain and suffering caused by violence, and I applaud your choice—not just because I agree with it, but because you made it in a way that takes the question of redemptive violence seriously and asks what the real-world consequences are of those attitudes. But I challenge you to ask yourself: How quickly would your answer have been "no way, Jose" if he'd wanted a video game that had sex in it?

Brian Murphy
June 29, 2011

A lot of my Christian friends play this game. It's tough for me because I don't like the premise of the game but I want to be able to connect with them. For some reason the games that are the biggest hits are killing games. I've tried to get them to do something else but they love playing those games. 

Should we play these types of games in moderation or should we just leave those who play them to themselves?

June 29, 2011

I remember within a similar period of time taking my three kids, young teens at the time, to see both films "Amistad" and "Saving Private Ryan", to supplement their studies of history and culture in school, and in a personal way with "Saving" to have them connect with their grandfathers' stories, who as young men served in WWII and Korea.  We prepped them ahead of time for the violence; we held on to each other, having to look away at times, shedding some tears during the stories---and what sticks most profoundly with me was to hear my youngest son's remark as we left the theater via a big lobby area, where older teens were playing a violent shooting video game---"Dad, that's sick!"   I think he understood the difference between viewing, understanding, learning v. participating in and enjoying violence, albeit "virtual."

June 29, 2011

Way to go. As for you having to go through that with "Starwars" yourself when you grew up, how does that make you feel doing it to your son? Shame on you. Now, not only are you disrupting his normal teenage life with this preposterous ban on a simple game, but your also turning sin into his everyday life w/out even noticing it. He is now more than ever aware that there is your way of seeing things, and the worlds way of seeing things. If God's way is in the equation, who knows, but I can assure you that this will not end in your favor. If you try and keep the world away from your children they will sprint into action before you can blink. Your making it look forbidden and gasp.. more attractive. When it's wrong to indulge, enjoying it is so much more fun when you get to. Unlike the other kids who will be through and over with it and new things to come at them down the line, your son will be behind and stuck in things that you disapprove of and you will be hurting him and yourselves in the long run.  I'm telling you, you cannot, no matter how hard you may try, shield your child from the world. The world devours us all, and it's up to us as individuals to fend for ourselves and decide what's right and wrong, and what to do about it.

June 29, 2011

Black Ops is rated M for Mature, meaning that it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 17.  Not sure why they pick that age for mature, but if they are anything like the average teenager, they are mature enough at that age to decide what is "bearable" for them.  Of course there are 17+ who are not mature enough to decipher the level of violence which is "bearable", enter the parents. 
When my adult(18+) children decided to buy and participate in the game, in my home, I watched and asked questions.  It's not my bag of chips, but I know that my kids have good brains, good reasoning skills, and a good, deep rooted faith.  They know that it is a game.  Needless to say, they may not play the game when my grandson is around.
Ultimately, when they are adults, whether we like it or not, they get to make their own decisions.  We can only trust, as believers who have raised our children as believers, that God is in control of their lives, that God will be in their minds, and hearts, and lives from beginning to end.

June 29, 2011

It doesn't sound at all like she's shielding her son from the world; rather, it sounds like she's engaging her son with the reality of the thing that the video games simulate. 

It sounds like she's trying to get him to take seriously the broken and bruised lives that result from real violence, the trauma that doesn't end when you turn the XBox's power off, and the people who stay dead rather than just hitting the Continue button.Avoidance would be if she just pretended that Call of Duty didn't exist, or banned it from her home without explaining why.Engagement is relating the violence in the video game, violent acts that the player is asked to put themselves in the role of performing, to the Lost Boys of Sudan and the violence that has killed so many people close to them and set them on the run from their home. Do you think those boys would be so flippant in pulling the trigger on a "terrorist" in Call of Duty?

Engagement is asking one's son what he thinks it might do to his mind or heart to constantly be putting himself in the role of a person who engages in acts of violence, acts that in real life have real consequences. Does he think of the "terrorists" he shoots—who look more and more realistic with every passing generation of games—as real people, or just more pixels on a monitor? Do the people he's "shooting" in the game feel pain as the bullet enters their body, do their families feel loss, do their mothers attend their funerals? How does the son think that affects the way he looks at real people?

Engagement is allowing the Holy Spirit in oneself to get righteously angry that war and violence, things that have no place in the Kingdom and are a perversion of our humanity, things that leave nothing but death, destruction, and scarred lives, are glorified by these video games—and sharing that anger with one's son in hopes that his conscience might also be pricked by it.

June 29, 2011

"The closest I could come up with was a Christian Black Ops “clan”
looking for more members so that they could play against each other with
less of the usual exceedingly vulgar language that comes from random
online players. Epic fail."

I'm not sure what, exactly, you're referring to with your "Epic fail" remark.

Is it an epic fail, in your mind, that Christians are playing this game at all? Is it an epic fail that they're creating a separate subculture within the game? Is it an epic fail that others who play the game often use vulgar language?

I may be reading this paragraph wrong, but it seems to me that you're being offensively dismissive.

While I don't necessarily agree with the idea of creating a separate group (better to engage others than separate yourself from them), I certainly don't see harm in a group of people who enjoy playing a (very fun) game wanting to avoid some of the awful things that are often said via in-game voice chat.

June 29, 2011

Hopefully I'm reading that wrong, and your "Epic fail" comment was directed at your own search for insight.

Either way, I think your overall point is a good one, and, as a gamer, I completely respect the decision you made. I think you did an excellent job engaging the issue, rather than ignoring it (or worse, viewing it in black-and-white terms).

Kirk Fatool
June 29, 2011

I'm not a parent but I really appreciated this article. I like the fact that Ms. Quist's rules for her children are well though out and well explained rather than adherence to dogma.

June 29, 2011

You have it right the second time, Mgeertsma. I meant that in my search for insight as a parent, coming up with a clan looking for likeminded members told me nothing! I am not meaning to pass judgment on those clan members. I know too little about it all to have a real opinion on that.

June 29, 2011

What I mean to say is this: Let the child decide for his/herself. They will, and I've seen this happen all through my life, make the decision eventually themselves, either way. If parents make decisions for them, especially based on religion as being the root cause for disassociation with fellow childhood peeps, the child may very well retaliate. MOST of the time, if the parents leave the kids alone, the kids find out for themselves who they are and are generally better people for it. When a parent intrudes in the child's (social) life (especially) there is a major chance that that kid will in return make bad decisions purposefully, in retaliation to the parents poor decision making in the past. I've seen this happen case after case.. NO MATTER WHAT it is always best if the parent explains right from wrong and allows the child to use his/her MIND to decide for his/herself what they believe and choose to do, because in the end they will choose and have the final say anyhow.
Side Note: If any child/young adult cannot decipher for his/herself the difference between reality and fiction, or understand that there is real pain, in real war, in real life/or that murder is wrong and one cannot blame video games for real life decisions: They are too stupid to be protected from themselves to begin with and they will have a rocky path ahead of them. Allow the kid to be a kid and learn for themselves and become who they are born to be. Do not interfere, it only makes things worse. I've seen good kids turn into hellions over parental over protection, and vice-versa// You get the drill. Anyone who thinks they can argue with psychology, just wants to argue all together.

June 30, 2011

I've always found it somewhat ironic that many of these games are labeled "mature" when they are anything but.  It greatly disturbs me that human life is trivialized and objectified in such violence.

Scott Buchanan
June 30, 2011

I understood the author to be saying not that the clan was an epic fail but rather the fact there were no good Christian reviews (i.e., nobody offering a carefully weighed analysis).

David Edmisten
July 1, 2011

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go;even when he is old he will not depart from it."  It is completely irresponsible and against God's instruction to simply let a child decide everything for themselves.  The biggest problem facing our children, families and society is the lack of parents assuming and engaging responsibly in their God-given role as parents.

Children are immature, still growing and unable to exercise adult discernment.  That's why we are parents.  Our call does not mean we hide our children from the world nor tell them No to everything "because God said so".  It is an investment of our lives into understanding God's perspective, training them based on God's word, loving them, and helping them grow.  That means we will give them opportunities to make choices, but it also means we will restrict choices when they are clearly against God's word and His direction to us as parents.

Most times childhood rebellion is not caused by parental restriction; rather it is caused by the lack of love and compassion that accompanied that restriction.

July 5, 2011

ShanetisMO,Most people that (in your case, very obviously) don't have any experience raising children don't presume to be in a position to advise people that do.

Bev Sterk
July 11, 2011

hmmm.. to me the question is why is it that particularly boys get so engaged in this type of gaming?  imho, I think it's a hard wiring for the spiritual warfare that we, as believers r2b engaged in.  We know we are designed for meaningful work, to help defeat the enemy with God's help... so I would love to see this focus shifted to the spiritual realm, taking out the real enemy.  Our weapons are spiritual weapons, but powerful for pulling strongholds down (I Cor. 10:3-5)

That is how we explain it to our boys (11 & 7), that it is a picture of the spirit realm, and the warfare we are in...  but at this point, the violent games are not an issue, they still play lego.

A priceless comment from our 7 year old was when we were out working in our raspberry field, and he says, "this is more fun than xbox!"  that was a beautiful confirmation of the need to be engaged in meaningful activity.

October 1, 2011

That's a stupid decision. Black ops is amazingly fun!

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