Ask Donnell: Are "M" Rated Video Games OK To Play?

Ask Donnell: Are Rated "M" Video Games OK To Play?  

We received the following question from J.J.;

"Hi Donnell, I'm 13 years old and would like to know what should I do in my free time. Is it a sin to play rated M games?"

J.J. thanks for your question. Let's start with the definition of a Rated M video game;

esrb ratings symbol for m-rated games MATURE Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

I visited the site for the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and that's the information they provided. Since you're 13 this is a very easy question to answer. You don't need to be playing any Rated "M" video games. It's rated for individuals who are 17 years and older. However, here's the rating that's suitable for your age group;

esrb ratings symbol for T-rated games TEEN Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.

Abiding by ratings is the simple approach. If you were not a Christian the discussion would end there because that answer applies to everyone. There are ratings for a reason and one of them is to protect the "innocence" of children. There are certain things you don't want to be continuously exposed to at such a young age because they will shape your life. As you enter your teenage years your mindset is being framed so ratings are there to provide a barrier from the worst that's out there.

If you are overly exposed while your mind is still being developed as an early teen you will struggle to shake those influences as you get older. You may not understand now but many adults wish they never saw, heard or experienced some of society's ills when they were children. They've been scarred for life as these images remain indelibly etched in their minds. Childhood exposure to real life experiences or entertainment of a violent, criminal or sexual nature doesn't just go away.

However, since you asked if it's a sin to play "M" rated video games I'll now address your question from a Christian perspective. Other than your age, why should you not spend your free time playing rated "M" video games? How does The Word of God address this?

Are Rated "M" video games OK to play according to The Bible?

Ask Donnell: Are "M" Rated Video Games OK To Play?

You Have To Protect Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23(NLT) - Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Philippians 4:8(KJV) - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Out of your heart comes your life. Therefore you have to protect it. Protecting your heart is your responsibility. You have the power to determine what goes in so use that power because whatever goes into your heart determines what comes out. What you see and hear today will affect how you think and act in the future. Don't fill your mind with anything that you don't want to see reflected in your own life. Video games are especially influential types of entertainment because not only do you observe what's going on, you are an active participant.

What should you do with your free time?

1 Corinthians 10:23(NLT) - You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.

I understand that you are 13 years old in 2013 so what's fun for you probably would be very different to what I did when I was your age. However, there is one thing we do have in common. We can both choose to do something productive with our time. I can't make the blanket statement that playing rated "M" video games is a sin.

Yet, whether or not something is a sin is not the only question you need to ask. There are many activities that may not be overtly described as sins in The Bible but they certainly are not profitable or beneficial to you. Killing people for fun in a virtual world is not a profitable activity. Don't waste your life! You get one chance to live it. Find something profitable to do with your time.

Ask Donnell: Are "M" Rated Video Games OK To Play?

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