Courtesy of Dead or Alive Wikia

But Is There Titties?

Parents who overlook games with violence for sex may want to take a second look.


Parent: Hello, I would like to purchase this game for my child.
GameStop Employee: Sure thing. I do have to warn you that the game you are purchasing, “Call of Booty 4: Modern Gorefare” is rated M for mature. This game will allow your child to virtually participate in a constant shower of slaughter, blowing apart countless human bodies and watching their innards splatter across the walls, a lengthy torture mission where they will torment someone with weapons of their choice until they die, stealing a bus full of people and driving it into the ocean so that they may watch them all drown in a trapped vehicle, recreating scenes of terrorism by killing civilians in a crowded airport, and dismembering and disemboweling other players characters after victory to take a selfie with their corpse. Is that okay?
Parent: Yea that’s fine, they see that stuff outside all the time. They also play it at their friend’s house anyways.
GameStop Employee: Oh and there is a mild sex scene that shows a little bit of side boob.
Parent: AYE DIOS MIO! I can’t allow my child to see such whorish filth. Their minds will be corrupted forever, and they will become sexual deviants of the night! Put that game back Timmy and choose something as equally violent but without the “S” word.

The dialogue you just read is an amalgamation of a constant conversation I have with parents when they bring their children to my store to buy the latest rated “M” game. The “M” stands for mature, and is meant to notify the consumer that this title has content that is inappropriate for children under 17. Every gory scenario depicted in that conversation is from a real game, and are actions players participate in when playing major titles like Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, and the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

More often than not, parents disregard the warning of violent content their child is about to spend hundreds of hours participating in. But when depictions of sexual content is mentioned, parents become legal eagles who refuse their child to see something we humans do to make said child in the first place.

Some of the most mature games on the market

Take for example Lorena Salgado, a secretary for a local Southern California electrical contractor. She is a mother to a 10 year old boy who enjoys playing the very popular, and very mature, franchise “Call of Duty.” She usually checks the ratings of games before purchasing them for him.

When asked what goes into her decision making when choosing what she doesn’t like for him, she said, “Blood. Oh my god blood! Violence. Bad words, stuff like that.” Before she could finish her next sentence, her son interjects with, “It doesn’t matter.”

“You see? He tells me it doesn’t matter. Even if I tell him no you can’t, he just goes to his dad. And his dad tells him it is okay,” says Salgado

When presented with prospect of her 10 year old playing a different rated M for mature game with sex in it, she exclaims, “Oh no! Not in my home. It is too much. That is too much rated R… I’m not ready for him to know about it or see about it. He is only 10. I think that is worse than the violence.” Her reason being that violence is out there for him to see. It is something he sees during local news broadcasting and when he steps out his front door. “You don’t see sex, unless your looking for it,” said Salgado.

What is it about sex versus violence that makes parents so averse to their child experiencing in a video game. Is violence something they believe is more natural than sex? Do parents believe that an adolescents mind is only susceptible to the effects of sexual content and not the steady stream of blood and guts flashing across their child’s screen with the press of a button?

One of the missions from Grand Theft Auto V

It is true that sex can affect a child’s brain. In 2000, a study done by The Western Journal of Medicine found that, “Although sexual content in the media can affect any age group, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable. Adolescents may be exposed to sexual content in the media during a developmental period when gender roles, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors are being shaped. This group may be particularly at risk because the cognitive skills that allow them to critically analyze messages from the media and to make decisions based on possible future outcomes are not fully developed.”

However, contrary to the belief of many parents, violence can have just as much as an effect on the adolescent mind as sex does. Lisbeth Venegas is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in working with children and adolescents. In her line of work, she observes first hand the effects violent content can have on a child’s brain.

“Some kids spend up to 13 hours a day playing video games. Kids are spending a lot of time on video gaming. It’s like the new babysitter. Some kids, it affects them and they have nightmares. Especially the young ones, they are not supposed to be playing those kinds of games. They will be really stirred at night and can’t fall asleep, so they will want to sleep with the parents,” said Venegas.

The key thing to remember is that a child’s brain is still developing.The frontal lobe in particular, is key when it comes to why violent and sexual content is not appropriate for children to consume. Healthline, a peer-reviewed medical blog, states that, “ The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behavior. It is, in essence, the ‘control panel’ of our personality and our ability to communicate.”

Venegas says that exposure to copious amounts of violent media can have an adverse effect on a growing child's brain. “I think kids that play violent video games have more sympathy than empathy. Empathy is being able to be compassionate and nice to others, while someone with sympathy tends to minimize everything.

A short by Brene Brown that explains empathy vs. sympathy

These effects can carry over into the real world. Venegas notes different perceptions in children when they are faced with a violent situation. “Someone who is not exposed to violence when they see a fight at school, those kids will feel more shaken up than the ones who are desensitized. Sometimes, they’ll laugh about it and think its normal or think it is pretty cool. It does not allow them to develop empathy.”

Being as popular as games currently are with children, it is not a stretch to imagine an entire generation who grow up playing violent games from a young age becoming apathetic to the violence that occurs in the world. The effects of prolonged exposure is serious to say the least.

So with many parents allowing their kids to habitually play overtly violent games, despite the evidence that it can be harmful, why do parents discriminate against the sexual content as if it is somehow worse, even though it can have similar damaging effects?

Lisbeth Venegas believes it is tied to the way sex was approached to these parents when they were children growing up. Aside from being a therapist, she is also a parent, and noted a difference between her and her husband when it came to talking about sex with their daughters.

“He grew up with it as a taboo. My husband is uncomfortable with those things or even talking about those things with with our children. In my home, I grew up talking to my parents about different things to where we could joke around with those things. Till this day, he tells me he can’t believe I talk like that with my parents. He says he was never allowed to talk about anything with his parents, not even pregnancy,” said Venegas.

Maybe the way forward could be to have an open discussion with our kids about these topics. A parent who continues to think of sex as taboo will continue to focus on shielding their kids from that content, while they ignore the violent media that can be just as harmful.

Customer carefully choosing a game

Jason Alvarez is a parent who understands the importance of transparency with his kids. He is a father and a student at Spartan College. His kids love playing racing and role playing games. Like Salgado, he also checks the ratings and allows his kids to play mature games like the “Borderlands” franchise. “I try not to get (games) too bloody or to gory because it is not good for their well-being while they are growing up,” said Alvarez.

But Alvarez likes to keep a conversation going when it comes to the games his kids are playing. He recognizes that some of the games have sex in them, but he doesn’t shy away from explaining it to his kids. “Unfortunately some games have stuff like that. I guess if they ask, I don’t lie to my kids, I tell them the truth. Just like, if they see that type of stuff and point out questions about it, I’ll just tell them,” said Alvarez.


Because we as a society are saturated with violent imagery, parents forgo the sex in favor of their kids playing games where they can blow each other to gory little smithereens. Just because violence is “everywhere,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that parents should continue to allow kids to gobble it up at home. You don’t keep feeding your kids burgers and candy at home just because it is everywhere when they walk out their front doors.

As parents, it is important to pay attention to what kind of games your children play. Having an open, honest, discussion with your kids that allows for both sex and violence to be treated equally can be beneficial when they want to play rated “M” games.

But it is also important to remember that a child’s brain is still developing, and allowing them to consume a lot of violent and sexualized media before the recommended age can have adverse effects on their development. There is a reason why we don’t give kids flasks and cigarettes for their birthdays, as it will ruin their still developing organs. The brain is an organ too, and that is something we should all keep in mind when it comes to our kids.