TechSpot

Game violence regulations reconsidered by Supreme Court

By Rick
Apr 27, 2010
  1. Game violence is at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court's attention once more. The high court decided to reassess the the legality of letting states restrict the sales of violent games and listen to California's appeal regarding an overturned state law which did exactly that. Perhaps most surprisingly, this news comes only a week after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing the sale of videos which include illegal acts of animal cruelty.

    Read the whole story
     
  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,369   +405

    I've read a couple of articles like this and believe that parent's should monitor their kids video game playing, not the government. Not to mention the free speech thing...

    I would be interested in knowing specifically what games prompted this action by California.
     
  3. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,908   +91

    Orange county house thieves

    Unfortunately Tom, California does not need a reason based on anything but whimsy, and a senators monument to themselves, to go Orwellian and steal more liberties.(a lot like my own state of Minnesota) The new California Motto should be "Whatever it is, were against it"
     
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    Leland Yee was the CA senator credited for passing the original bill. If his history is any indication, Grand Theft Auto was most likely the major target.
     
  5. DarkCobra

    DarkCobra TS Rookie Posts: 79

    I agree that garbage like Grand Theft Auto and similar games of that ilk certainly don't represent things that are positive for the young mind. However, it very much is the "parents" responsibility to monitor and control what products come into their home . . . not some stupid "politicians" responsibility.
     
  6. Timonius

    Timonius TS Guru Posts: 585   +34

    I agree that it is the responsibility of the parents, but how do we get the point across to THEM? The fact that governments are trying to do some of these things is telling us that some people just WANT to be told what to do because they don't have the capacity to THINK for themselves or they are just too LAZY to excercise the FREEDOMS that they have.
     
  7. Renrew

    Renrew TS Enthusiast Posts: 244   +18

    What about the Rating system? No-one seems to care about it, starting with the retailers and ending up with the parents.

    In this era of latch key kids and outrageous day care fees almost daily price increases of the staples for living, a two working parent family is the norm rather than the exception. This leaves precious little time to teach a child our own family values, instead we opt for TV and computers to act as baby sitters when we come home from our exhausting jobs.

    I'm afraid big government will step in more and more since in general, we seem to have abrogated our family responsibilities.
     
  8. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 632

    Meh, what isn't the government trying to regulate at this point. If they get to control our fast food intake, it just gives precedence to deny us video games based on the fact its not good for us to see them.
     
  9. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 830

    I've always been of the opinion that laws should error on the side of liberty on controversial topics. So its easy for me to want to dismiss this as another step of government intrusion into our lives. Unfortunately, I've got a weak spot about protecting children. Many parents are simply not suitable to be parents. Since there's no educational requirement to become a parent, it makes sense for those who are experts on child development to set guidelines about what activities should be prohibited for minors. We already do this with a number of products (alcohol, tobacco, pornography, driving, etc.)

    So for me, the question is, do child development experts agree this is beneficial for children? what studies support this hypothesis?
     
  10. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Maniac Posts: 804   +9

    Maybe i'm just too behind on all of this, but shouldn't buying a video game be like buying cigs and alcohol? Shouldn't you have to be a certain age and have a valid licence to prove your age in order to buy a video game with a certain rating? I remember this happening when 8 Mile came out (I believe that was the movie they required you to be a certain age to buy it...I remember it being a big thing...maybe it was just in my state).

    And if you say, "well, yeah, but they'll just get someone else to buy the game for them." In this case, I ask you how do you think a lot of young kids get into these R-rated movies? This is what most of the kids I grew up with did. They would ask someone of age that they knew to buy a game or ticket or magazine for them, and then they paid them when they got it. So this would mean that we would also have to restrict the movies that come out and the magazines that get put up in stores. Next thing you know the government has full control of how we live our lives. We are getting less and less "for the people, by the people" and more into "we're the government and this is how you are going to live your lives."
     
  11. Richy2k9

    Richy2k9 TS Enthusiast Posts: 515

    hello ...

    i see hypocrisy all the time about this.

    1 - i've seen completely calm people playing non violent games going wacko after loosing a party, check out the Pro gamers on sport based games.
    2 - i've seen kids loosing at 'family friendly' games acting more violently while loosing of being teased.
    3 - i've been play some really violent games & never had them influence me. i don't use bad words, i don't smoke, don't drink, yes i tend to seduce all ladies but never would hurt them & i respect them for i'm a happily married guy so it's not the games that makes the characters,
    4 - parents are responsible for protecting their kids & stop believing that movies & video games are good baby-sitters. people need to stop believing that games are for kids & governments should stop looking for escape goats to cover their incompetence or hide their fears.
    5 - games or not, people are much exposed to greater danger everyday, it's like comparing the number of deaths due to shark attack against elephant attack & more panda attack!
    6 - not pinpointing here, never even think about it, but history has proven that religion has been a greater killer just after natural calamities, ignorance comes third.
    7 - not everyone has a predisposition for violence, yet everyone do have some bad moments.

    we should stop seeing & start looking at what is wrong with ourself, banning any form of entertainment, controlling access would increase the curious nature we have to go towards it, just like porn, piracy & other illegal stuffs. if you ban it publicly, it will find better & more expensive ways to still pass that gate.

    parents check out the ratings & stop being irresponsible about what your kids are watching & playing (would also help me play online some games without some lame crybabies shouting & spoiling my experience)

    kids aren't stupid anymore, giving them violence or not won't really change the world if you as an adult you don't show the difference & teach them what can hurt them, hurt also others.

    cheers!
     
     
  12. BMfan

    BMfan TS Guru Posts: 481   +49

    God,i hope these supreme court judges have some brains.
    If the states want to be so anal then at least make it a law that the kids will need proof of age or have his/her parents there when they purchase the game they want.

    Since the states want to have so much control on bringing up kids then maybe every kid born should just go straight to the state and let them raise them.
     
  13. jgvmx

    jgvmx TS Rookie Posts: 46

    Oh not this again... People are always exposed to the insane sh*t that is shown on movies, tv, music, internet, everywhere. And yet videogames are always the scapegoat of lazy unaffectionate parents and ignorant politics to answer for the stupidities of some teenagers.

    There are far more influential and mind-wrecking things on the world than games as Richy2k9 says. Hopefully the judges will have some common sense and not approve some half-assed regulation that won't solve a thing.
     
  14. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 4,266   +42


    I dont think I would mind if they had some kind of regulation of fast food companies, I dont believe someone brought this up. People in the U.S are dieing younger and younger. Anywho, video games retailers on the other hand should have some penalty/consequence if caught selling to a minor. Parents should be more involved, maybe a number parents can call if their child comes home with an M rated game and they have a receipt of where it was purchased.
     
  15. woodnutz78

    woodnutz78 TS Rookie

    I agree with most of your points, but for crying out loud, it's LOSE, not LOOSE. Sorry - I couldn't help myself on that one. And yes, it's the parents' responsibility. If a kid does some heinous act because of "videogame influence," then the parents should be held equally responsible - and sterilized.
     
  16. Eddie_42

    Eddie_42 TS Rookie Posts: 213

    There are restrictions on age limits for buying a multitude of things, Tobacco, Alcohol, Guns, Pr0n, take your pick. Why would the "protection" the government can extend be any different for a video game that has an MA or higher rating?

    Does it stop a person of the appropriate age from getting it?.....no
    Does it stop a child from walking into walmart and buying a game that his parents were not aware of?...yes
    Does it stop a child from getting the game out of his/her parents bedroom?...No,

    All of those questions apply for Tobacco, Alcohol, Guns, and Pr0n.....and even video games.

    I'll pick on GTA, cause I can. I like the game, I think its great fun. But does a 10yr old need to pick up a hooker and then run her over to get his money back....probably not.

    Ultimately, you can't stop every child from seeing a violent video game, and if his/her parents want them to see it, by all means please do. The same applies with a Beer. Lil Johnny cant go to the bar and get a beer, but Mom/Dad can bring home a case and say, if you want one, that's fine. What this law does is enforce the rating system, and provide a means of deterrent/punishment so vendors will adhere to the ratings.
     
  17. backo

    backo TS Member Posts: 58   +8

    I just can't understand why is the gaming industry taking the heat of the failures of the american parents.
    If you people could just discipline your kids right this would never be an issue!!!
     
  18. backo

    backo TS Member Posts: 58   +8

    I just can't understand why is the gaming industry taking the heat of the failures of the american parents.
    If you people could just discipline your kids right this would never be an issue!!!
     
  19. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,392   +16

    I feel this might be a good thing for us gamers especially with how the Supreme Court just ruled on a much tougher freedom of speech issue last week. This could finally put all the Leland Yee's out there who are trying to wage war against the gaming industry because they feel its corrupting the youth with no evidence to back it up to rest if ruled in our favor. I honestly just can't see how the Supreme Court would let criminalization occur on the basis of a PRIVATE self-regulatory organizations decisions. That alone would be unprecedented in the US and I'd be awestruck if it happened.
     
  20. Eddie_42

    Eddie_42 TS Rookie Posts: 213

    From the link article at the LA Times:

    The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether California and six other states can forbid the sale to minors of violent video games which show images of humans being maimed, killed or sexually assaulted.


    So, You are arguing that the Government has NEVER prohibited the sale of ANY good to a minor?
     
  21. It's not about protecting kids from violent video games, many states are bankrupt and they need to find new sources to generate income.
     
  22. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 830

    How do they make income here? This isn't a tax. It's a ban and it's likely to cost more in legal fees to the state then any possible citation revenue.
     
  23. escape goats. that actually made me lol

    But yeah, I agree with everything you've said.

    I find it amusing that people claim GTA is garbage or filth and of course, as usual, they haven't tried playing any of them. I played three of them and my favorite part is driving around in a car or helicopter admiring the vast amount of detail that goes into Liberty City. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I never did a drug and I've never been in a fight.

    Before I ever tried them, I did share a similar view to the ignorant folk that assume it's horrible based merely on the story or premise. Now I know better. The games are good. You can't say they aren't.

    It's all about what the kids are capable of handling in their minds. Violence in schools isn't caused by violent video games. I believe it's only based on the level of psychosis they can exhibit. They could be well raised, sheltered, and still act out violently some day. It's not just kids that have psychotic tendencies, take a look at China's kid-killers. Religious extremists. Bombers. Certain individuals simply act out at earlier ages. There's really no way to control it or predict it, unfortunately.

    Finger point all you want, it will get you nowhere, but it WILL anger people who simply want their liberties protected.
     
  24. Adhocdegra

    Adhocdegra TS Rookie

    Truthfully, I don't see a point to this type of regulation any more. The Industry Ratings aren't really much help for any type of product.

    I've re-visited the concept of Violence Rating and have found that 99% of all children's cartoon shows, TV series, & movies contain violence of one sort or another. I even attempted to come up with a violence rating or meter, and it became pointless with so many facets and perspectives of violence that may seem as trivial violence, to slap stick violence, to obscure violence, to explicit violence, etc.

    The Industry Rating system is only a guide and is merely intended to assist parents with thousands of materials that an average parent can't sit down and go through in a single day, week, month, or even a year. Nothing more. Each parent has to make their own decisions, as even the Rating System itself isn't completely accurate or correct with some circumstances.

    The 1950's (Disney's) Bugs Bunny was extremely Anti-Japanese, with bugs running an ice cream vending cart, selling ice cream cones with a grenade on top, and stating, "Kill the Japs..." to all of his customers. This one show was actually directly banned by the U.S. Congress without any court involvement by the 70's, about 18 to 20 years later. A good example for where Rating Systems are best utilized, against hate crimes, etcetera, but then again, the Ratings System wasn't around during these times.

    I'd have to agree that this is nothing more than a State's attempt to raise money with another method of fines. Virginia tried that with traffic violation tickets by automatically increasing all traffic violation fines by six fold for all Virginia citizens. The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional since it only effected one state's citizens and not everyone from any state that happen to immigrate along the highways or enpasse.

    The Federal Patriot Act was another disaster, though the Federal Law has expired. One state, Ohio, has passed their own State Patriot Act, and another four states are considering passing their own similar laws. The Ohio Patriot Act basicly makes Constitutional Rights null & void, especially the Miranda Right, and other rights. Explicitly if a person in custody, for whatever reason including merely a witness, refuses to answer a question in court, even if they have no answer or have no clue, all Constitutional Rights are automatically waived, nullified, or revoked, and the individual may additionally be imprisoned for 1 to 5 years, for not answering a question. This Ohio law is currently in effect and has been in effect since the year the Federal Patriot Act was set to expire.

    As for fines, penaties, and jail times in dealing with adolescent crimes or similar, some states directly fine the vendor, some directly fine the child, and some directly fine the parents. Minnesota is a good example of where if a child has been found to have commited a crime, the parent(s) automatically go to jail for 1 year, regardless of the level of the crime, including minor misdemeanors caused by the child. The child's age is irrelevant for enforcement of the state law. I guess the theory is to teach the toddlers or teens what life is like without their parents and as a crime inhibitor or whatever.

    This is pretty much similar to Germany's illegal home schooling laws, where if a child is not sent to a public school and taught at home by their parents, the child is taken away from the parents, placed into foster homes, and the parents goto jail for two years. Idaho has a law for throwing non-married couples whom engage in consentual sex into jail for 1 year.

    The issues are much more complex than just passing a single law or ruling, or even opposing a single law or ruling. The United States has 51 Constitutions (one per state + one federal) & many different bodies of Legal Codes per state. It's not surprising that many of the 50 Nation-States' laws contradict and conflict with each other.

    The purpose of Federal Law is to standardize some interpretations and uses of the various laws. Enforcement of any laws is another thing, where manpower may be low (big or small government dilemma, or merely citizen representatives of whatever position disagreeing with each other, state vs. state/state vs. fed disagreements, even county vs. county disagreements, and town(s) disagreements).

    Anyways, I'm against ludicrous laws that won't do much other than take away our rights. The state laws under review for Prohibiting video game sales to minors will most likely not say anything or even effect Public or Private Libraries where purchase is not necessary and anyone can borrow for free, or even rent through other types of non-Sale Vendor outlets. The law would have no effect on friends, families, or neighbors sharing their games either.

    I have to agree with the Supreme Court's 1st Ruling that the laws are unconstitutional and violates our basic rights (1st Amendment). I guess we'll just have to see where these possible court rulings & assessments go. It's not uncommon for government to regulate industry or even fail to regulate, such as in the case of banks & financial thieving systems.

    Another aspect or example could be some of MTV's older pilot programs of kids doing stupid stuff in a Controlled Production Environment and kids at home attempting to copy what they've seen and end up hurting or killing themselves. I'm not sure if that's true with video games. The responsibility still lies with the parents for any of these circumstances to voluntarily regulate their kids.

    On the other hand, the games do improve hand-eye coordination, multi-abstract thinking, and even high speed critical thinking, among other things. Kids who play these fast paced games actually do 68% better in school than kids who don't play them.

    Kids who play Flight Simulators and eventually enlist pass their U.S. Airforce test 93% of the time on their first try, where as those whom have never played with Flight Simulators pass about 40% of the time on their second try, and 60% of the time by their 3rd try.

    The aspects, perspectives, and arguments can go in any direction. PG or Parental Guidence isn't just a rating and doesn't necessarily mean it's safe to leave your kids alone with the materials. Garfield even has an NR rating (Not Rated), so many materials could fall under NR as a loop hole, if a rating is required no matter what.
     
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