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Halo party for my 11 year old....


Carlucci
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My son, Matthew, is turning 11 this week.

He has asked to have a Halo Lan party on 4/23, but I have a dilemma...

 

Now, I consider myself a very responsible parent. Any PG-13 movie gets a screening from me before my kids are allowed to see it, and rated R movies are out of the question for them. I did take Matt to see tPotC, ONLY because he is deeply rooted in our Faith and understands fully the loving sacrifice of our Lord that this movie depicts. I still don't let Matt play many "T" rated games, like 007.

 

With Halo, I have made an exception for both Matt and my 8.5 year old. Something about the "feel" of playing the game doesn't equate to violence against fellow humans to me--at least not in the same way that 007 does. In halo, the MP Master Chiefs you go up against seem more like cyborgs than human, even though we all know they are human underneath (and at the controls). Still, it feels decidedly different to me to put the Master Chief in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle than it does putting a more typically rendered human in the crosshairs in 007.

 

Halo to us is like a team sport that happens to involve depictions of violence, not the other way around. We have had many discussions about the violence in the game, and I remain comfortable with my decision and their ability to handle it. Playing Halo MP together has led us to many bonding father-son moments as well.

 

Anyway, my parental hoop-jumping aside, (and I'm well aware that it is just that) here's my dilemma:

 

He says all the kids that he wants to invite already play Halo. At least that's what they tell him. But in this overly litigious world, I want to cover my ass a little better than taking the kids' word for it. Besides, I was quite upset one time when at a sleepover, Matt watched "Deep Blue Sea". Had a parent sought my permission on that movie before letting the kids watch it, I would have give an emphatic "NO".

 

So what do you feel about a little pre-invite letter in which I lay out to the parents that I will be hosting this event, and asking them to call me with the OK for their kids to join in? I want to keep the decision where it belongs - with the parents. How would you feel if you got such a letter? I would keep it simple, letting them know that the game is rated "M" and asking for their permission for their kid to play. I would not go into the same treatise I just gave you. ;)

 

Thoughts and opinions?

 

Carlos.

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I'd say a "pre-invite letter" would be a good idea. Maybe inform them about the game, or send a link to either reviews, or write-ups of the game as well. Maybe even include your thoughts about it, just to convey how you feel about your kids playing it.

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Living with an eleven year old myself (girlfriend's son) this situation is not unfamiliar. I would definitely want to talk with all the parents involved, be it by sending the letter or simply calling all the parents yourself. I find that in situations like this, the written word can be interpreted in many different ways by different people and a conversation can be worlds better at getting the right point accross. I agree about Halo and 007. Max has been playing Halo for a while (he plays with his dad as well) but I would not allow him to play 007 until he's at least 14.

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I like your idea of the letter, Carlos. You're already being much more considerate of each child's well-being than most others I'm sure.

 

You'll just have to make sure in that letter you are very clear about how you feel about the violence in HALO much like you did in your first post. Many parents would read the letter and as soon as they see "Mature", nothing else will matter. Now as you said, many of these kids already play HALO, so it may not be much of a concern, except to those parents whose kids don't already have it.

 

I like the approach you're taking though. I'm sure all the parents will appreciate the effort you're showing.

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If I was a parent I would be completely comfortable receiving a letter or taking a phone call from another concerned parent. Personally, I'd go with the phone calls. It would allow you to answer more specific questions with ease. Some parents will say, "Of course, my child lives to play Halo." But I imagine others will say, "Who are you and what the hell is Halo?"

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Nice idea! If one parent says no, are you going to cancel the whole Halo deal? I'd think that would be the best approach so as not to single any child out. If thats the case I'd also let the parents know they will remain anonymous so as not to burden their child with pressure from other kids.

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thoughts - first thing that came to mind was don't let your kid get anywhere near my house :D

 

secondly, I think the phone call would work out as it would give you a chance to explain to them Halo. Maybe if the parents have some issues or concerns with it, invite them over and let them see it....maybe an adult Halo party is in order.

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I think I would just send out invites to the parents that said it was a Halo LAN party and to call if they have any questions. If they care about ESRB ratings then they will know what Halo is (because they will have been asked to buy it 100 times) or will call. If they don't know about ESRB, they will probably need to stop their kid from playing Vice City long enough to ask them what Halo is :green:

 

I'm sure you'll do the right thing whatever you decide...

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I did take Matt to see tPotC, ONLY because he is deeply rooted in our Faith and understands fully the loving sacrifice of our Lord that this movie depicts

Please tell me that someone saw the most recent South Park episode where one of the child characters goes to the movie theater and the ticket guys says, "Sorry, this is an R rated movie and is incredibly violent....but.... it is about the most import person in the history of the world...so here you go."

 

That isn't an exact quote, but you get the idea. Very funny episode. A lot of irony.

 

As for the letter/phone call idea: great thread here. I suggest sending the letter, including your phone number, encouraging the parents to call you if they have any questions about Halo or the party.

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I bought Halo as a Christmas present for my nephews, and got in a bit of hot water since it was a "M" rated game. I smoothed it over by explaining what garnered the rating & why it was assinine. ;) But because of that, I would say a notification is a good idea. You might even want to let them know they could come over and check it out if they have any concerns. Who knows, you might end up with a deathmatch partner out of the deal.

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I have a cousin who comes by with her kids and always complains because I let them play "violent" games, she comes downstairs every 5 minutes to check on what they're playing. She complained once when they were playing Luigi's Mansion that the game was going to give them nightmares! Only game the poor kids are allowed to play here is Super Monkey Ball, funny thing is at a family function at my aunts house they were playing halflife on the PC, they were physically fighting each other for the keyboard but she never even checked on them once. For some reason she only likes being mom of the year at my house. Halo's not bad at all violence wise but you never know with some people nowadays, I'm sure either the phone call or letter will work fine, it's not like they're playing manhunt or anything.

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As a parent, I would highly appreciative of a phone call explaining that your son wants to have a Halo party. I would probably let my child go. I would be more upset had I found out afterwards.

 

Invite parents to preview the game before the party if they aren't familiar with it (either at your house or a store), then thay can make a decision if they want their children to attend or not.

 

I mean, you wouldn't take a group of kids that age to a theater to see Dawn of the Dead and not get permission from the parents, would you? Didn't think so.

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Living with an eleven year old myself (girlfriend's son) this situation is not unfamiliar. I would definitely want to talk with all the parents involved, be it by sending the letter or simply calling all the parents yourself.

 

Damn, a responsible videogame playing parent? Who'd a thought such a thing existed?! I'm not a parent, but an uncle & godfather if that helps my credentials, and I say phone round the parents - the personal touch of calling & being able to explain the situation without any misunderstanding is definitely the way to do it. I'm sure a good number of the parents will be familiar with the xbox & Halo, and I'm sure a handful won't be, which is why a phonecall will give you the chance to explain the ins & outs of it, and how it's not that big a deal.

 

Sounds like a great idea for a party BTW.

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I think you have a very good idea. And it will also let parents know who you are. I am sure at some time or another your son will want to have friends over again and even if it is not a party get together, the parents will know you are responsible and concerned over what kids play over at your house. :tu:

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Thanks all for you comments and advice. I haven't decided on the phone call or letter yet, but I'll definitely do one of them. Matt should have his list of invitees finalized soon, so I'll let you all know when it happens.

 

Mike, I don't think I'll cancel the whole idea if one parent says no, but I'll leave that up to Matt. He's a sensitive kid, and would probably not want to leave one of his close friends out. He may decide to go to laser tag instead! :) (another can of worms, maybe?)

 

 

I mean, you wouldn't take a group of kids that age to a theater to see Dawn of the Dead and not get permission from the parents, would you? Didn't think so.

 

Great point! Unfortunately, some parents just don't think that way when it comes to video games, and feel that since they've already given their kid permission to play Vice City, that any kid that comes into their house automatically gets permission too. But I bet they would think twice about taking another kid to see Dawn of the Dead without parental approval. Why is that?

 

I bought Halo as a Christmas present for my nephews, and got in a bit of hot water since it was a "M" rated game. I smoothed it over by explaining what garnered the rating & why it was assinine.

 

If not for the blood, Halo would probably be a "T" game, right? I recall a few choice words in the SP campaign, but I think it is just the red blood that got it an "M". Sometimes I cringe a little on Slayer free-for-alls when dead bodies and copious amount of blood litter the battlefield. Maybe I'll tinker with the tint a little to turn the blood pink. ;)

 

Carlos.

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Originally posted by Carlucci@Apr 7 2004, 06:02 AM

If not for the blood, Halo would probably be a "T" game, right? I recall a few choice words in the SP campaign, but I think it is just the red blood that got it an "M".

Blood, gore and violence are the officially cited reasons. There's no mention of language, oddly enough.

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I think contacting the parents first is an excellent idea. Personally the only thing I find wrong with the deathmatch in Halo is the non-descript blood splattering on the walls. Any character who gets killed in the deathmatch doesn't blow apart with Kill-Bill-level blood and body parts flying all over the place. He just flies in the air and lands with a thud. I've seen worse in T-rated games.

 

Hell, it's entirely possible that there are things in E-rated games that would give kids nightmares. When I was 11 my parents wouldn't let me play Pac-Man because they claimed I would get up at night and sleepwalk. </likeanyofyougiveacrap>

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