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"Violent" video games make the news again

(29 Posts)
Kaloki Tue 02-Nov-10 16:21:15

Story here

Evidently, we are in the UK, and this isn't UK law. However it is making for interesting reading.

They are trying to force all "excessively violent" video games to be a 18 and therefore incur fines if sold to minors.

Which at first glance is totally reasonable.

However, it doesn't take into account that games already have age ratings (which they put there voluntarily!) and which retailers do, for the most part, stick to.

" In fact, the Federal Trade Commission last year found that 80 percent of stores that sell video games refused to sell violent games to minors, better than the movie industry."

Tbh, their argument would stand more ground if they were applying the same rules to video games as to movies. But movies, for some reason, are not being asked to only have two tiered ratings. And AFAIK, the punishment is not the same. The punishment proposed is most similar the ones for selling alcohol, cigarettes and porn. Are video games really in that league?

The other problem is the wording,
" appeal to a deviant or morbid interest of children and are patently offensive to prevailing community standards "

Appealing to morbid interest of children? Coming away from the games for the moment, if you were to apply this to other media, then wouldn't this include Lemony Snicket? Point horror? How about Grimm brother's fairy tales?

The other point about it, is it will not be illegal for a parent to buy a violent game for their child, just illegal to sell to children. Surely if it is dangerous for children, then it's still dangerous even when parents allow it?

What makes it even more interesting is that the Governer who really supported this, is he of so many sweet innocent child friendly films - Schwarzenegger!

It just seems to me, that they are still trying to scapegoat games.

TitsalinaBumSquash Tue 02-Nov-10 16:24:07

I am still in the camp of 'why the hell are parents letting thier kids play games that are volient'

I was in Gamestation the other day when a boy of about 10 came in and asked how much it was to pre order then new Call od Duty, i was expecting them to say, you cant preorder it your to young but they told him and he went off to get some money from his mum... hmm

It really is just common sense.

Kaloki Tue 02-Nov-10 16:27:56

It's insane isn't it? I know parents who will not allow their kids to watch violent films, but think violent games are ok. But then they seem to rely on the (deeply flawed) logic that all games are for kids.

TitsalinaBumSquash Tue 02-Nov-10 16:39:55

Its madness, MIL always let BIL (when he was 10) play the really violent games as long as the sound was off hmm as if that made it better.
DP says that when he goes on Xbox live there is always young kids chatting to strangers and playing the more adult games.

Kaloki Tue 02-Nov-10 16:41:24

Ah yes, it's obviously the sound that does it.. hmm How strange!

DH got rid of Xbox partly for that reason

FreudianSlimmery Tue 02-Nov-10 16:52:31

Makes me glad we only have a wii tbh! I'm with titsalina - I just don't get how people let their kids play these games. IMO they're far worse than movies as you're immersed in the violence.

Tbh I'd be happy if the really extreme games were banned full stop - I know thats an extreme view and heaven forbid we take away the choice for the manchild grown ups hmm

Kaloki Tue 02-Nov-10 16:56:11

Why do you want them banned? Why does it matter what other adults play? Do you want vilent movies banned too?

What about books?

FreudianSlimmery Tue 02-Nov-10 17:27:55

Like I said I think games are worse than movies (and therefore books)

I just don't like the games is all - as I said I know it's an extreme view but IMO games like that just glorify violence which can't be good.

TitsalinaBumSquash Tue 02-Nov-10 17:31:44

I wouldn't like to see them banned, DP plays some of these games and its his hobby, i don't think he is childish or sad or anything he just likes playing games but he is also interested in every aspect of it, how the console works ect...

I just think its bizarre that so many parents refuse to let thier children watch gory horro films yet they will let them play COD and things like that... and the ones that let thier kids play online and talk to strangers are even worse.

My children dont watch or play violent games and even when/if they do when they are older i will hopefully have instilled into them that it is a game and that is where it stops.

Kaloki Tue 02-Nov-10 17:57:54

"Like I said I think games are worse than movies"

But why?

FreudianSlimmery Tue 02-Nov-10 18:42:51

As I said before it's because in a game you are immersed in the violence, you're the perpetrator, as opposed to just watching or reading about it. Just my opinion though.

Kaloki Tue 02-Nov-10 18:45:41

Depends on if a book is written first person really. I've found most books are more immersive, but then that's opinion. And thankfully most laws are based on fact.

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 11:13:38

Just reading this, contains some of the transcripts from the court case.

See what you think.

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 11:34:26

Some quotes for you

"*Morazinni*: So this morning, California asks this Court to adopt a rule of law that permits States to restrict minors' ability to purchase deviant, violent video games that the legislature has determined can be harmful to the development -
Justice Antonin Scalia: What's a deviant — a deviant, violent video game? As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?
Morazzini: Yes, Your Honor. Deviant would be departing from established norms.
Scalia: There are established norms of violence?
Morazzini: Well, I think if we look back -
Scalia: Some of the Grimm's fairy tales are quite grim, to tell you the truth.
Morazzini: Agreed, Your Honor. But the level of violence -
Scalia: Are they okay? Are you going to ban them, too?
Morazinni: Not at all, Your Honor.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: What's the difference? mean, if you are supposing a category of violent materials dangerous to children, then how do you cut it off at video games? What about films? What about comic books? Grimm's fairy tales?
Why are video games special? Or does your principle extend to all deviant, violent material in whatever form?"

"*Kagan*: Well, so how do we separate violent games that are covered from violent games just as violent that are not covered?
Morazinni: Well, Your Honor, I think a jury could be instructed with expert testimony, with video clips of game play, and to judge for themselves whether -
Scalia: I'm not concerned about the jury judging. I'm concerned about the producer of the games who has to know what he has to do in order to comply with the law. And you are telling me, well a jury can — of course a jury can make up its mind, I'm sure. But a law that has criminal penalties has to be clear. And how is the manufacturer to know whether a particular violent game is covered or not?"

So they want juries to review games? Rather than give any actual guidelines.

"*Smith*: There is two aspects of harm. The one I was about to address was the question of whether parents need additional help in exercising the role that they have played throughout the history -
Breyer: Yes. They need additional help because many parents are not home when their children come home from school. Many parents have jobs, we hope. And when their children are there, they do what they want. And all this says is that if you want that gratuitous torture of, let's say babies, to make it as bad as possible, what you do, parent, is you go buy it; don't let him buy it on his own, and he's 13 years old. Now, what's the common sense or what's the science of that?
Smith: Well, two aspects. With respect to parental controls, Your Honor, there is a whole variety — a whole series of things that parents have available to them and are using today to deal with any concerns they have about what's appropriate for their children.
Roberts: I don't want to interrupt your answer, but any 13-year-old can bypass parental controls in about 5 minutes.
Smith: That is one element of about five different elements, Your Honor. If I could talk about — there is the ratings. Parents are doing the purchasing 90 percent of the time. Even if the child does the purchasing, they bring the game home, the parent can review it.
The game is being played in the home on the family television or computer most of the time. Any harm that is supposed to be inflicted on them is supposed to take place over a period of years, not minutes, so the parent has ample opportunity to exercise parental supervision over what games are being played in the house. Plus there is the parental controls, which are similar to the ones that the Court has found to be significant in the Playboy case, in the COPA case, a whole variety of cases."

WRT minors buying games, the age group most cited by those trying to ban violent games (as it is more emotive) is around 10-12 years old. Children of that age do not earn their own money, and games are priced at around £30-40/$30-40. So, apart from in some unique cases, the parents have to be the ones to buy the games. Therefore the proposed law makes no sense, as minor's access to violent games isn't through the fault of the retail industry. It's the parents.

DamselInDisgrace Wed 03-Nov-10 11:40:00

two words: moral panic.

I really don't understand this urge to ban everything and anything.

CherylAnnTweedy Wed 03-Nov-10 11:49:42

The problem isn't with the ratings on games or retailers selling to minors, but as a few have said, the parents allowing the children to play the games. I see 1st hand every fortnight the effect that playing violent, 18 rated games has on children.

My ex allows my ds's to play these kind of games, and then my 4 year old comes back saying things like "I'm going to stamp on your head with my shoe", both boys are very violent and aggressive to each other. They have just spent the last 48 hours playing the xbox or playstation. I've seen the games they tell me they play and they are all 15/18 rated.

I don't think my ex would allow them to watch 18 rated film, so why does he think it's ok to allow them to play a game that is involving them far more than a film would. OK, I know the answer is because he's an incompetent parent, but that's a whole different thread!

"But then they seem to rely on the (deeply flawed) logic that all games are for kids." I think that just about sums it up.

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 11:51:34

It's daft isn't it? And their arguments for it are so weak, but because it is emotive it carries more weight than it should.

Poor little 8 year old Johnnie, playing games where he gets to maim/kill/rape/bludgeon/insert other emotive violent term.

As if
a) the game was aimed at him in the first place
b) the game didn't already have a rating
c) little innocent Johnnie had access to the $30-40 it took to buy it and/or a credit card
d) poor outraged Johnnie's parents didn't have the opportunity to take the game off him, or, god forbid, actually just say no!

I mean, if they really gave a fuck about poor little Johnnie, they'd be suing his parents for allowing him access to the game in the first place. But they don't, it's not about that.

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 11:53:35

CherylAnne Exactly, if this law gets passed then it's essentially saying "don't worry about parenting properly, the shop keepers/game manufacturers should be doing it for you"

Your ex sounds like a nightmare shock

Poshpaws Wed 03-Nov-10 11:54:21

Can't you just 'block' Xbox live? Seems a bit extreme to get rid of the console. We have one and DS1 cannot access Xbox live because we need some code (which neither DH nor I know anyway) blush.

Having said that, I agree with the violent game thing. DS1 keeps pestering me for Halo..and I keep saying no. Racing games/Sonic or Lego Batman all the way grin.

FreudianSlimmery Wed 03-Nov-10 13:01:50

Good point kaloki about the law meaning the shop is doing the parenting instead of the parent... It's an issue that crops up so often though. Like the whole school dinner thing - do you take away the choice from responsible parents, or do you leave everyone free to make their own parenting decisions and risk the feckless ones putting nothing but and red bull in the lunchbox every day? Tis a minefield (or is that too violent an analogy?!)

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 13:12:31

True, though the difference is, with the video games legislation they want to bring in. The children whose parents are happy for them to play inappropriate games will still get to play the games.

But it will impact badly on the games industry.

LindyHemming Wed 03-Nov-10 15:56:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 16:31:58


FreudianSlimmery Wed 03-Nov-10 16:52:23

Sigh. Here's hoping it was some harmless racing game eh?

Kaloki Wed 03-Nov-10 16:58:25

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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