Because video games and online play have become ubiquitous and extremely popular among young children and teenagers, it is only natural that parents will want to make sure that their children are not being exposed to any harmful content. As one of the most popular online games globally, Counter-Strike is often cited as a game that may have inappropriate content for young children.
Counter-Strike is rated “M” for mature in the United States of America and PEGI 18 in most countries. Therefore, Counter-Strike is not appropriate for young children and teenagers. The reasons cited are moderate violence and gore, partial nudity, and a toxic online community.
Although Counter-Strike may be inappropriate for young children and teenagers, there are ways you can monitor gameplay to reduce their risks of being exposed to harmful content, most of which was not intended by the developers. There are also some positives to Counter-Strike to explore.
1. Counter-Strike Is A First Person Shooter
Counter-Strike is a tactical first-person shooter. First-person shooters are a genre of video games that typically involves players using various weaponry to eliminate NPCs or an opposing team.
Therefore, because first-person shooters rely on weaponry and the simulation of killing hostile players or NPCs, the majority of first-person shooters are aimed at a mature audience and are not suitable for younger children.
2. Counter-Strike Is Extremely Popular
Despite being one of the older first-person shooters on the market, it remains one of the most popular games in the world!
Furthermore, Counter-Strike continues to have an active streaming community and competitive e-sports scene. Consequently, children who frequent streaming sites such as Twitch are likely to encounter Counter-Strike content, even if they are not playing it themselves.
Therefore, even if children are not playing Counter-Strike or other first-person shooters that may not be age-appropriate, there is ample content for these games online that are freely available.
Thus, parents are advised to closely monitor their children’s internet usage, even if it may appear at face value that the video game content is benign/harmless.
3. Counter-Strike Is An Online Game
Unlike some first-person shooters, such as the Call of Duty franchise that have single-player modes, Counter-Strike is strictly a multiple-player game. Although older versions of the game allowed for LAN connectivity and play, modern variations use services such as Steam to play and communicate with people online.
Although there are measures to make playing online a safer and more inviting space, children can still be exposed to unwanted content or communication with strangers via the in-game chat.
In conclusion, like all online interactions, it’s essential to educate children on the pros and cons of online interactions, as well as to have parental oversight of the content they view/engage with.
4. Counter-Strike Is Free With In-Game Purchases
Counter-Strike is a free-to-play game, meaning that children may be able to purchase the game without parental oversight or knowledge. However, you can enable passwords on platforms such as Steam to stop unwanted purchases, even if those purchases are for free products.
Furthermore, Counter-Strike offers in-game purchases such as weapon skins. These purchases can quickly run into hundreds of dollars if children’s online play and access to virtual wallets are not monitored!
5. Counter-Strike Is Very Difficult
Counter-Strike has a notoriously high skill ceiling and learning curve. The game’s difficulty is further compounded by the need for communication between team members, memorization of different maps, and the honed skills of seasoned Counter-Strike players.
Therefore, many children and teens may find Counter-Strike a challenging or frustrating game, as matchmaking seldom results in complete novices competing with and against each other. Furthermore, the lack of a single-player tutorial/campaign makes developing one’s skills at their own pace challenging to achieve success (although there is the option to play bot matches.)
6. Counter-Strike Is Rated Mature
In America, Counter-Strike is rated “M” for Mature. In other jurisdictions, Counter-Strike is rated PEGI 18.
These age restrictions are because Counter-Strike is a violent first-person shooter, which may showcase distressing visuals, imagery, and scenarios for young players. Furthermore, game developers do not regulate online play, meaning children may be exposed to inappropriate content online.
In conclusion, the general consensus is that Counter-Strike should only be played by adults, although it is a popular title among teenagers, which may be appropriate with parental supervision.
7. Counter-Strike Is Violent
The goal of Counter-Strike is to eliminate the enemy with a host of weaponry in an accurate tactical simulation; thus, the sound design and visuals of the game try to emulate the accuracy of modern combat.
Therefore, the game does feature moderate blood and gore, as well as sound design to emulate the sound of bullets hitting flesh, armor, organic matter, etc.
8. Counter-Strike May Expose Children To Bad Language
Although no foul language is programmed into the game by the developers, it is an online game that requires communication between players. Therefore, it is probable that your child will be exposed to foul language and/or offensive topics of conversation during online play.
Further to the above, Counter-Strike is known for having a “toxic” online community, meaning instances of cyberbullying are common.
9. Counter-Strike Has Semi-Nudity
While Counter-Strike does not feature any explicit sex or nudity, there are very moderate instances of semi-nude posters throughout specific maps (usually in the form of pin-up posters of lingerie models.)
Furthermore, certain game mods may pose the risk of more explicit content being installed and displayed during game sessions.
10. Counter-Strike Has No Drugs Or Drug Usage
While there are no drugs or drug usage in Counter-Strike, game mods have the potential to install and display the use of narcotics during game sessions.
11. Counter-Strike Can Be Addictive
Similar to other popular online games like League of Legends or Fortnite, Counter-Strike is highly competitive and includes a detailed ranking system. Therefore, Counter-Strike can be highly addictive for children and teens that want to remain competitive and improve their online ranking.
12. Counter-Strike Can Be Distressing
Because Counter-Strike seeks to emulate real-world tactical firefights, the game features sounds of gunfire, explosions, etc. Furthermore, the game is played at a high intensity, where simple mistakes can lead to in-game deaths and consequences.
Although the game settings allow for the reduction of in-game sounds, the default settings and violent nature of the game may be upsetting for younger children.
13. Counter-Strike Can Promote Sportsmanship
Counter-Strike can also teach teenagers essential life skills, despite its violent content. As a popular e-sport, the game encourages a certain level of professionalism and sportsmanship among its players.
14. Counter-Strike Promotes Financial Literacy
The game has a special economic system, which requires players to be aware of their budget, as well as their team’s. As a result, players need to have a strategy in place on how they spend their money on armor and weapons. This helps players understand the significance of budgeting and spending.
Although Counter-Strike does not actually promote, teach, or encourage real-world violence, the graphic content of simulation firefights is inappropriate for young children and teenagers.