Brother and sister playing video games

Ask Rene:
These Violent Video Games Are Freaking Me Out!


Hello Rene,

I wonder if you could help me?

My son Peter is 12 years old and I’m genuinely worried about some of the shows, video games and movies he’s being exposed to.

He loves the Saw and Resident Evil movies and he and his friends play games that are full of violence, guns and suggestive sex. I can’t believe some of the things I’ve seen him watching and playing! And he also listens to some pretty explicit rap music.

The thing is, both myself and my husband Paul consider ourselves liberal and the last thing we want to do is tell him what he can and can’t watch. I’m a believer that when you tell kids they can’t do something it makes it even more attractive. But I just don’t approve of some of these forms of entertainment and hate that he likes them.

How can I get my son to change his tastes? And do you think there’s any possible long- term harm from all this sex and violence?

Thanks Rene

Pam, DC.


Hi Pam:

I can relate to what you’re saying because I also have a 12-year-old boy and I can tell you they need a firm and guiding hand. There are a couple of things that jump out to me about your letter and since you wrote me asking for advice, I have permission to be truthful. So here goes, both barrels.


1. Movies

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YOU LET HIM WATCH SAW AND RESIDENT EVIL?! REALLY? You must have never wanted him to sleep alone in his room again! Saw is rated R for “Strong, GRISLY violence and language”! And a look at the parent guide for Resident Evil on will tell you everything you need to know. Those movies are rated R for a reason and no one under 17 is to see them without a parent or guardian. Were you with Peter?  And even if you were, the National Institute for Mental Health says that children who view these types of movies can experience anxiety, avoidance behavior and obsess about some situations. Not good.