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Violent Video Game Ruling

Violent Video Games For All?

The US Supreme Court ruled today that it is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment to ban children from buying violent video games. In a 7-2 vote, the court overturned a California law banning the sale and rental of violent video games to anyone underage. Video games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto were singled out during the trial for the violent first-person perspectives that have become commonplace in many games.

In the court's majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia referred specifically to the dark folk tales children have read for generations as a precedent for First Amendment protection of sometimes questionable media:

Certainly the books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim in- deed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers “till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jeal-ousy.”

The other side of this issue will point out that video games are a very different and immersive medium from literature, one in which the player experiences police chases and shoot-outs in a lifelike environment. What's your take on this heated issue, should the government put an age ban on violent media?

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aniline aniline 4 years
@mixedpie - The video game industry is actually better than any other entertainment at keeping mature content out of the hands of children, according to a study this year: http://www.joystiq.com/2011/04/21/report-game-industry-best-at-preventing-sale-of-mature-content/. This legislation doesn't remove any of the restrictions that are already in place, it just means that they didn't make it illegal for minors to purchase M rated games. Meritless lawsuits aren't new, and I doubt they'll increase because the government refused to make the sale of one particular form of entertainment illegal to minors. It's nothing compared to what potential money would be lost if major retailers like Wal-Mart refused to carry M rated games because of a fear of gov't imposed fines.
mixedpie mixedpie 4 years
I don't like this. While it's possible to play violent video games and not become a sociopathic killer (shocking!) I think this will help children undermine parents, or cause a lot of problems with lazy parents. Already there are people who will buy their children something like GTA and then complain that it was too violent for a 10-year-old (obviously having ignored the rating and warnings on the package), but now this extends to where the children can buy it without parental approval (because at some point the kid will be out with friends and with some spending money, or con their parents by saying they are going out to buy something else). I don't think this will necessarily raise a culture of dangerous killers or people desensitized to violence HOWEVER, it could be a heavy blow to the video game industry as lawsuits upon lawsuits are taken against companies because of those like Jack Thompson and parent counsels. I don't see this ending very well. Likewise, though they site things like Fairy Tales as being violent, those are toned down (Grimm's Cinderella compared to the Disneyfied version anyone?) so the violence isn't as big a part of our children culture as it was at the time those tales were most relevant. Additionally, in many games that children are barred from buying, you can be violent without any negative repercussions and be a "good" guy in the game world, or even hurt those who are supposed to be good. In the Fairy Tales cited it's the "bad" guys either being violently punished or doing the violence. Of course, all of this would be solved by parents parenting and monitoring their children's activities, but there are too many parents who don't do this for me to have faith in this legislation. Besides, what little kid really NEEDS a violent game without their parents' permission anyways?
siarlas siarlas 4 years
I'm not going to choose either option in the poll. Instead I say, 'If you don't want your children playing those types of games. Don't buy them.' It's plain and simple. Like dealzon said, it's that thing people used to call parenting. Slightly offtopic, but we currently have this campaign going around called 'Stop the Nanny State'. It's aimed at the push for plain cigarette packets and although I gave up many years ago, I agree with it. We are adults who can make our own choices and when we become parents, we decide what we want for out children. There have been times when my daughter asks to see a certain movie, or wants me to buy a particular video game. If I don't agree with it, I tell her I'm not going to buy it/let her see it because I don't feel that it's a good thing for her. Because she's grown up with this, she accepts it.
dealzon dealzon 4 years
Agreed with all. Most TVs, game consoles, computer software has multitude of ability to block/filter unwarranted/questionable materials for your kids. You can also try the age old method that's called parenting, too.
anonymoushippopotamus anonymoushippopotamus 4 years
It is not the gov'ts responsibility to censor what you may find inappropriate for your child(ren). If you don't want Jenny or Johnny playing that awful M rated game because they'll become a serial killer then you should have to tell them that you don't want them to be exposed to that not that it's illegal. People are insane these days.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 4 years
agree with aniline. But the regulation SHOULD lie with the parents. It's a parent's responsibility to censor and deem appropriate the content of media that comes into their homes.
aniline aniline 4 years
Your poll kinda implies that the 1st Amendment and being against children being exposed to violent video games are conflicting views. It's not a matter of whether children should be able to play violent video games, it's a matter of whether it should be regulated by the ESRB or regulated by the government. I think the ESRB is just as effective as the MPAA.
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