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Good news? Is it a trick?

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

It may seem weird, but I actually have some good news! Here's the news strait from Slashdot:

 Your Rights Online: Violent Video Game Restriction Struck Down
Posted by michael on Tuesday June 03, @06:13PM
from the GTA-shipments-resume dept.
Dave Gallagher was the first to submit news that a ban on selling violent video games to minors has been struck down, reversing an earlier decision in this case that held that video games were not a constitutionally protected form of speech. The decision (pdf) is available. Since the Federal government has been considering a national law along these lines, these decisions on local laws may be important soon.

Yay! Now, I'm all for keeping minors from violent games. I know first-hand that many of them are way to violent for kids. However, the ruling being based on games not being a form of speech was rediculous, and I'm very glad that madness was revoked. I think the judge should be revoked for such a rediculous bias (or maybe it was plain incompetance), and that's not my own computer/video game bias. If he were banning Eminem on the same principles, it would still be wrong, even though I personally think Eminem should be heavily restricted and not played on the radio or TV.

However, the problem with violent computer and video games getting to kids is not the fault of the industry, but the parents. Parents don't pay nearly enough attention to what input their kids are getting. People let their 12 year old kids watch rated R movies and rap along with Eminem and then turn around and say the industry has to regulate games! For one, the reality level of games is way below that of movies and even music. There's a million examples and arguments I could make for this, but I want to finish this news post tonight. Maybe some other time. Also, games already have a rating system - the ESRB. All games released these days have one of the following letter ratings (with explanatory subtext even): K (Kids), E (Everyone), T (Teen - 13+), M (Mature - 17+), AO (Adult Only - 18+). Most games are E, and there are many T and M. I've never seen anything labelled AO, or even heard of one, so I'm not sure if those actually exist yet. The point is, parents need to pay attention to the games their kids play, and it's really easy. Look at the ESRB rating, and ask yourself this: "Does little Johnny fit in to the category they say he should?" If the answer is "no", then don't let him have it. It's that simple, people.

And now, a related comic from Penny Arcade: