Do you know as a parent, who your kids are playing online with? Do you even know they're online? Let me paint you a picture or in this case a scenario. A loving family buys their 12 or 13 year old a Wii. Lucky kid. One would think that kid was very lucky indeed but while that may be true, the majority of owners of the Wii will probably fit that age group. That's the golden age that Nintendo , as a whole, sell their consoles to. Oh sure before I get bombarded with I own a Wii and I'm 25 or something, take a poll at any Middle School and chances are if you ask them what Console they own the Wii will be on the top of that list. Casual gamers may be purchasing them in hordes but never forget that age group also takes a sizable chunk of those sales.
Back to the scenario. This kid overjoyed with the Wii is ecstatic beyond belief. Their Mom & Dad have just graduated from old Mom & Dad, to the best parents in the known universe. Now if little Johnny Doe has responsible parents, they'll hook everything up for them, make sure everything is working as it should and immediately go to the Parental Settings on the console to lock out certain online attributes..i.e. the browser. Nothing says porno lovin' like a web browser open to a curious child with plenty of uninterrupted time on his hands.
Now that that's done you leave, feeling good about the gift you gave your child and yourself for doing your part curbing any open source for a said pornographic encounter and the obligatory talk
that would of followed if such an incident would of occurred. At this stage in the scenario you don't worry about them jumping online because:
A. They need a friend code to play anybody online. Or to even send messages and or pictures too.
B. There is no voice chat for the child to employ. That right there also closes the door shut for any lurking pedophiles trying to lure or seduce your child. While that sounds melodramatic, unfortunately it's a sad fact of life. Will most Parents do what was described above?
I'm going to have to say a hearty Hell No
. But because Nintendo has their stringent online strategy they are basically policing and covering their parents back as much as they can. If the kid downloads the browser, it's wholeheartedly the parents bag and they still need points to boot now.
End of Scenario
Let's try another one now. This time with the xbox 360.
If you were to apply that same circumstance to the 360, parents not setting up any Parental Settings or lockout of rated games, things are going to be a helluva lot different. The Xbox 360's architecture is simplicity itself getting online because just about every game is online. A kid can pick up a 360 controller and join any game like Halo3, COD4, and any other game you can think of. While most of the time we as adults are assaulted by these kids more than we do them, the fact is it is just too easy for any sick fuck to put a bug in our kids ear
Now I know what your going to say. That's the responsibility of the parents. And you are 100% correct. It is
the responsibility of the parents but unfortunately most parents are either too busy with work and use these game systems as babysitters, fall into the single parent demographic with the same babysitting technique or they're just too fucking ignorant of what these consoles with Internet access can do. Most dumb ass parents don't even hear the colorful metaphors, that are the usual medium online, because the kids have the headset on. To them the kids are having a blast, which they are, oblivious to the pretty anti-social rants distributed to them in their head. I'm not going to jump on the Jack Thompson bandwagon here, but I'm quite sure eventually, at the very least, kids will pick up on the more gregarious lingo of online and incorporate it in their vocabulary.
It would be nice if on Xbox Live you could report kids playing online Mature rated games like Halo and COD4, among others. You can report people for specific things like being a cheater, or an asshole, but to have a section to pick from saying kid in a game they are not supposed to be in
, would be a godsend as a parent and a gamer. Nothing turns me away more then playing a game I'm all into..get online and a 10 year old is gabbing on the other end. It not just feels wrong..but annoying as hell. I know I don't want to curb my language cause Skippy just joined my squadron. Consequences being their account voided. Harsh especially if it's their Dad's account but I'll bet he'll be more diligent about his kid playing said game.
I could add another scenario for the PSN network but let's get real. Adults have enough trouble syncing their bluetooth headset, let alone finding someone who has figured out how to talk on most of their games online. I think kids are safe on the PS3..lol. But it would be about the same experience as the 360 if everything gelled the way it's supposed to.
My point? Well earlier today a post was put on the front page about Mario Kart not having voice chat
and EVERYBODY was at arms about it. As a gamer
I agree with the people that said Voice Chat takes away from the camaraderie and enjoyment that feature adds to the gameplay. I also agree as a gamer
that Nintendo's online strategy sucks ass.
But as a parent of three children, it made me reevaluate my original opinion, and made me come to a conclusion. Nintendo may very well have the safest
online out of the three. And it took some Big Ass Donkey Balls
for Nintendo to stick to their guns, and still try to cover the slack of parents that aren't doing what they need to do for their kids. For Nintendo to recognize their base and look out for them, they get huge props from me and additionally more of my support.