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I've heard much about Skyrim, and as I'm going to get an X-Box for Christmas, I'm taking a look at various games to see what might be of interest. I have 3 kids, ages 8-12, and I'm wondering about the appropriateness of this game for younger kids.

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I once showed my little sister Dragon Age (with similar level of violence), and the response was: "Are... are you the baddie?". So no, unless you want to feel judged. :/ –  Stuart Pegg Dec 3 '11 at 23:45
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Questions like this are hard because it becomes a matter of your own upbring and your own cultural influences. for example, myself not being religious, wouldnt care about my child doing (as David B said below) quests from god-like entities tell you to kill your friends, but i imagine a more religious would have massive issues with this. its the same with all aspects of sex, drugs and violence in the media, what one person finds palatable, another finds poisonous. –  TrewTzu Dec 4 '11 at 2:21
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@TrewTzu: True enough. The nice thing with the answers is I'm getting enough details to make a decision for myself as to if my kids can play it. –  PearsonArtPhoto Dec 4 '11 at 2:44
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I think this youtube video tell you all you need to know. *8') –  Mark Booth Dec 4 '11 at 12:58
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@MarkBooth Maybe this video will tell you all you need to know !! –  Mars Dec 4 '11 at 18:21

10 Answers 10

up vote 34 down vote accepted

The first thing you should do when trying to assess the suitability of a game for minors is look at the rating on the box, or if you haven't already bought it, seek out those rating on-line.

Whenever looking at video game ratings though, you need to consider them in the context of the agency producing the rating. The same goes for film as well as video games.

In Europe, we appear generally much less concerned about sex & drugs, while much more concerned about violence, whereas that situation appears reversed in the U.S. Elsewhere in the world you will find other priorities.

While the overall ratings are a good indication, you often have to drill down into the detail to find the real reason for a given rating:

  • The BBFC's 15 rating appears to be based solely on the games violence.
  • The 18+ rating from PEGi also concentrates solely on the violence, but is obviously much less tolerant of it.
  • The Mature rating from the ESRB obviously covers these topics of gore and violence, but also covers the issues of sex and drugs (nothing about rock & roll though *8').

As someone from the UK I think it is unsurprising that I share the opinion of BBFC. I wouldn't be comfortable with under 15's playing this game, but ultimately it is the decision of a parent to decide whether the themes presented are suitable for their children.

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very well said. and great comparison. –  TrewTzu Dec 4 '11 at 14:13

My 16 yr old son loves this game, and his attitude and behaviour have really tanked since he got it, and that's all he wants to do now is play this game. The other part to consider is the effects on others. My 5 year old looks up to her big brother(figuratively and literally) and I overheard her telling her big brother about wanting to chop his head off ... unintended side effect for sure, but something to consider.

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"My 16 yr old son loves this game, and his attitude and behaviour have really tanked since he got it, and that's all he wants to do now is play this game" Skyrim is an addicting game. This can happen with any game that a kid really likes. However, +1 for unintended side effect –  Earlz Apr 10 '12 at 6:38

I'm currently playing and loving it. I've only seen one decapitation; it was in the beginning of the game and it wasn't that bad. Not overly gory or bloody. Like others mentioned, religion would probably mean the difference in purchasing this game for children of age 12+. Anyone under 11-12 probably wouldn't know what's going on or care, so I'm fairly sure this would end up being a purchase for the 12 year old only. I'm 13 and definitely played worse, so I'd say the violence isn't really that big of a deal. There's been much more disturbing things on the news. Great game in a breathtaking world with some occasional heavy, and brutal violence. I've only heard one curse word.

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Mm I'd probably say a mature 13 year old could play it and not be damaged by it, but they would miss a lot of whats really going on.

Rather then just going off the rating (or how bad it is), I would probably say the games not the best option purely because it is likely to be too advanced for most 13 year olds, in both world, gameplay and content.

I would have no issue with a 15 year old playing it.

edit: I don't really mind the down votes, but before you do it would be nice to have a comment explaining why you disagree, just for the sake of discussion :)

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"Missing a lot" does not make up for the psychological damage. I bet you don't have kids. –  DrFish Dec 5 '11 at 7:52
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@Bora no i dont, but not that long ago i was one. and thats not to say i dont have experiance with them, i have quite a bit really. i get really sick of people just assuming that cos half there DNA went in to something they know whats best for it in every way and how it will react to the world. i was mainly talking about thins like "moon suger" that would go stright over a 10 year olds head. no damage done. –  TrewTzu Dec 5 '11 at 11:11
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@Bora People mature at different rates, and people react to stimuli differently. I played Mortal Kombat and Doom at a young age (think 7-8 years old) and turned out to be a perfectly normal adult and parent who has no psychological issues or anything. I was almost overly-mature for my age, however, so YMMV. –  Andy_Vulhop Dec 5 '11 at 15:28

Skyrim can teach your kid some valuable lessons, for example that People don't like to be sworded.

As mentioned this is ESRB 17+. It's probably okay as long as you monitor them*, and make sure they understand not just the in-game consequences of questionable activities, but what might happen IRL. Ultimately it will depend on the maturity of your kids, and how well they can differentiate between fantasy and reality.

*And upload any hilarity to youtube.

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Different cultures tend to get antsy about different things - for example in the US references to drinking and smoking set off alarm bells, whereas in most of Europe that wouldn't even be an issue for a lot of parents.

At the end of the day the thing you need to consider in Skyrim is the violence. Take a look at a Skyrim Gore Montage, particularly around the 0:30 mark, and then decide if you're OK with your kids playing it.

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This is probably the best answer, because it's the only one containing a resource that will let the asker make an appropriate decision. –  user2640 Dec 5 '11 at 19:10

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Skyrim is currently listed in the ESRB as Mature 17+. It has Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes and Use of Alcohol and fictional drugs.

Please, if you are going to buy your kids video games, use the ESRB rating, it is printed on every video game box in the front, for more information check the ESRB website.

Good luck with your kids. :D

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+1 From me. And for those not in the US, the game also has a 18 PEGI rating (most of Europe + a few other places) and an 15 BBFC rating (UK), plus probably other local variants. Bottom line is, they're all quite a bit above the age range you're looking to buy for. –  DMA57361 Dec 3 '11 at 20:54
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+1 Great answer –  Wipqozn Dec 3 '11 at 20:55
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If the gel packets say "Don't Eat" then don't let your child eat them, and if the stove says "Hot" then don't let your child touch it. Companies aren't into printing April Fools jokes on packaging - believe them. –  jdk Dec 3 '11 at 23:43
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i dont know, i often find those rating systems quite overbearing and exaggerated. i geuss it depends on what you want your child to be exposed to. –  TrewTzu Dec 4 '11 at 2:10
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I see the rating systems as guidelines. A choice should be made taking into consideration the maturity of the person and the surrounding culture. I remember playing games that were above my age level and I don't believe they did me harm. However! The ratings are there for a reason and should always be taken into consideration. Person's Maturity + Culture + Rating = Make your own decision. –  Annan Dec 4 '11 at 12:53

Skyrim isn't appropriate for children of that age. There are multiple quests where god-like entities tell you to kill your friends (and then reward you for doing so).

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-1. I played Daggerfall at 12, it has all that and boobs, and to this day I have not yet killed a single one of my friends. –  user2640 Dec 5 '11 at 19:12
    
Oh sure, Daggerfall ( youtube.com/… ). It has no voice acting. –  David B Dec 6 '11 at 15:50
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Really? Voice acting is what's going to drive kids over the edge? I was literate at age 12, and Daggerfall's "A hush had fallen over the place. Even the bard had stilled. She felt both nausea and a hot burning desire. Her hands released his turgid penis and then it was inside her and she was screaming in both pain and ecstasy. Then everything went black." was way more more explicit than anything in a mainstream game before or since. –  user2640 Dec 6 '11 at 20:02
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Skyrim has some seriously messed up stuff, but so did Daggerfall, and so does other media, and so does life. Banning 12 year olds from participating in that just makes you a jerk, not some great protector of youthful innocence. –  user2640 Dec 6 '11 at 20:03
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@JoeWreschnig - Genitalia are serious business. –  Raven Dreamer Dec 28 '11 at 6:51

Skyrim isn't suitable for children. They don't have the patience to level Smithing and Alchemy up to 100.

You also said you had three children. Skyrim is single-player only, and if you get them an Xbox with a good non-multiplayer game like Skyrim, they'll fight over it, overwrite each other's save games by accident, and throw game controllers across the room. (Source: I grew up with one games console and three brothers.)

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+1 Good answer. No one else seemed to think about it from this angle, but it's just as important as how appropriate the content is. –  Wipqozn Dec 3 '11 at 23:42
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+1 but we are fortunate that new generation consoles have profiles and the ability to create more than 1 or 3 saves! –  Sydenam Dec 4 '11 at 17:30
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I tend to disagree. Just because it's a single player-game doesn't mean multiple people can't participate. I've often spent hours and hours playing single player games with friends. You take turns and help solve puzzles together. –  user606723 Dec 5 '11 at 21:17

Depends on how lenient you are with your children. For ages 8-12 the only red flag is the language that's used throughout the game. Other than that I don't really think there's any nudity or references to sex and you can't kill the children in the game, so all in all Skyrim's not bad just full of colorful language.

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And violence. Violence is kinda a big deal. Skyrim has a ton of it. –  Raven Dreamer Dec 3 '11 at 20:56
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The problem is that violence is often overrated in game/movies rating, many games that aren't that violent are often rated way higher than is necessary. For rating boards it's better to be safe than getting angry letters from parents. –  Lie Ryan Dec 3 '11 at 22:09
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So the decapitations aren't a red flag? –  Kaz Dragon Dec 4 '11 at 12:15
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@LieRyan It's been my observation that violence is often underrated in games and movies. Movies with non-violent sex get higher rating in general than movies with violence. Movies/films with violence get lower ratings if, say, they just make sure not to show any blood etc. –  ghoppe Dec 5 '11 at 15:05

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