You can play Forumwarz if you’re under 18!
From time to time, people ask about the content of Forumwarz, and why we don’t ensure that our players are 18 years of age. I feel like it’s time to responsd.
Remember that Forumwarz Inc. is a Canadian corporation, so we are only concerned about our own local laws. Having said that, a lot of what I’m about to say applies in the US as well.
It is not illegal to produce a game that has sexual or violent material, nor is it illegal to let people under the age of 18 play such games. It’s true that a copy of Grand Theft Auto might have a Mature 17+ rating on it, but those ratings are voluntary and the stores you purchase them at don’t have to enforce them by law.
Forumwarz’s content is not rated by the ESRB, the institution that commonly rates games. Why? I don’t think it’s fair for a bunch of people to sit down and say “this content is okay for 18-year-olds, but not 16-year-olds,” when everybody is different.
I can say with a lot of certainty that when I was 14 I would have played and enjoyed Forumwarz, and not been any worse for it. That’s why instead of silly and exploitable drop down boxes, we simply ask people to type in ‘I am not offended easily.’
I think that people understand their limits. They know what they enjoy and what they don’t. We tell potential users right off the bat that if they don’t like offensive content, don’t play our game. We even make it so that you can’t accidentally click ahead without reading it, as it has to be typed in exactly.
Now, in terms of Canadian law, we are not allowed to sell hard core pornography to minors (and we don’t.) But even if we were, it’s not clear how an Internet site is supposed to protect that. Local television stations here show pornographic material after midnight, for example. Are you telling me a 16-year-old never stays up that late?
Anyway, to make a long story short, nobody is going to shut down Forumwarz because their 14-year-old son saw a pair of breasts in our Flamebate forums. They have no legal right to.
Now, having said that, the issue of child pornography is different. Canada has laws that are more stringent than the United States with respect to child pornography. We must make sure that people aren’t even posting sexualized illustrations of children, let alone actual photographs or anything like that. We are doing our best to make sure people who post things like that are banned and the content is removed, but it’s possible we’ve missed cases from time to time. If you find any sexual content involving someone who you believe is under the age of 18, please report it to us and we will try to get it removed quickly.