Both Nickie at Typecast and GeekMummy have blogged on this subject, as have some others and probably more I haven't had a chance to read. The opinions on these two blogs are both balanced and I can understand both points of view. However, I have a different approach to my own boys use of computer games.
This may shock, but the first game that my lads played was on PS1, way back when they were pre-school was Tekken, which was pre-PEGI but rated as T for Teen. They played under supervision with their dad. It never occurred to me that it would have any effect on them. Despite their young age, they knew it wasn't real. They never re-enacted the moves. I know this isn't a "gory" game, which I certainly wouldn't have let them play so young.
But as they got older, I never really paid any attention to the age limits on any games or movies. Up to the age of 12, I never let them watch anything or play any game that I didn't first research. To be honest, they weren't really big fans of shoot-em-up games back then. But when we discussed new games as they were realised, often among a flood of public outrage, I gave my opinion on what I thought was unnecessary and simply sensationalism. It would be then up to them to decide whether it suited them or not.
The reason I never paid any attention to age restriction guidelines is because I know my lads better than anyone else. I know that at the age of four, Andy was quite mature and knew the difference between right and wrong. I know that even now, at the age of 14, as much as Joe would love to watch a Saw movie, he simply can't sit through the whole thing. I know that, whatever game they play, they realise it's not reality and has no bearing on their real life. I know they communicate with people online, but they know the dangers. (I will be first to blog when the debate about kids online arises).
It's been 12 years since my lads fostered an infinite bond with games consoles. So what has been the effect of all this "delusional, lazy" parenting? Well, both my sons and straight A/B students. Their behaviour in school is exemplary. They've never had an ASBO, a caution or even a detention. They've never been in a fight - well, never a physical fight; both are quite prepared to voice their opinions vehemently. I couldn't be any more proud of them and people tell me often what fine young men they are turning into.
So you can say this makes me an irresponsible parent, makes me delusional and lazy. But it works for me.