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. :/
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 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. Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 2:44
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    I think this youtube video tell you all you need to know. *8')
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 12:58
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    @MarkBooth Maybe this video will tell you all you need to know !!
    – Mars
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 18:21

9 Answers 9


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
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 14:13

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
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 at 20:54
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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
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 2:10
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    Gore, Intense Violence and Sexual Themes? Sounds like fun, I should get this game after all.
    – magnattic
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 4:31
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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.
    – AnnanFay
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 12:53

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
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 21:17

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
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 19:10
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    The link is dead.
    – Amy B
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:46

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
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 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. Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 15:28

My 16 year 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.

  • "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
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 6:38

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.


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. Commented Dec 3, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 at 22:09
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    So the decapitations aren't a red flag?
    – Kaz Dragon
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 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
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 15:05

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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