To play Call of Duty, 13-year-old Evan had to follow some unique rules.
We often wonder if we should let our sons play violent video games, especially ones that involve guns.
Dad Hugh Spencer came up with what we think is a brilliant solution.
When his 13-year-old son Evan wanted to play "Call of Duty," he was on the fence, since it involved guns.
"I looked at the game. I've done a lot of research for military museums so I could tell that the content was accurate -- but there was lots of shooting and blowing things up," he writes for Boing Boing. "But there was a fair bit of that during World War II. So it was undeniable that Evan was experiencing history and there was this teamwork factor."
So they compromised.
"I asked Evan to Google the Geneva Convention. Then he had to read it and then we had to discuss it. This we did. So the deal is that Evan has to fight according to the rules of the Geneva Convention. If his teammates violate the Convention, then play stops and Call of Duty goes away for a while."
Even if one follows the rules of the Geneva Convention, what effect do violent video games have on teens? A study has found that adolescents who play violent video games may exhibit lingering effects on brain function, including increased activity in the region of the brain that governs emotional arousal and decreased activity in the brain's executive function, which is associated with control, focus and concentration.
"Our study suggests that playing a certain type of violent video game may have different short-term effects on brain function than playing a nonviolent - but exciting - game," said Vincent P. Mathews, M.D., professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. "Based on our results, I think parents should be aware of the relationship between violent video-game playing and brain function."
"There's enough data that clearly indicates that [game violence] is a problem," he says. "And it's not just a problem for kids with behavior disorders. Let's quit using various Xboxes as babysitters instead of doing healthful activities."
Do you think this dad's solution is a good one, or are violent video games bad news for kids no matter if they honor the Geneva Convention or not?