Do you think ultraviolent video games should be sold to minors? I don’t, and apparently most adults agree with me.
Common Sense Media, a national non-profit organization “dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology,” has released the results of a nationwide parent poll that revealed nearly three-quarters of adults would support a law that prohibits minors from purchasing ultraviolent or sexually violent video games without parental consent.
The video game industry has aggressively fought — in court — a 2005 California law banning the sale of these games. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on November 2.
“The results of this poll clearly show that not only do the effects of ultraviolent or sexually violent games weigh heavily on the minds of parents, but also that parents feel the video game industry is not doing enough to protect kids from accessing these games,” says James Steyer, CEO and founder, Common Sense Media. “The Supreme Court’s decision is going to have a huge impact on families and kids across the country. What we’ve learned from this poll is that parents want to be the ones who decide which games their kids play, not the video game industry.”
Some folks defend ultraviolet games by saying that acting out violence in a fantasy world relieve s the tendency toward violence in the real world. And/or that banning violent video games to minors violates First Amendment rights.
Give me a break. You can rationalize it any way you want, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientists to realize that crap like Grand Theft Auto, Postal 2, NARC, 25 to Life, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, Manhunt, etc. — which degrade women, degrade law enforcement officers, enforce racial stereotypes and more — shouldn’t fall into the hands of minors. (Heck, adults should avoid ’em like the plague, as well, and refuse to support such rubbish.)
The U.S. Supreme Court in April announced it would consider breathing life into a California law prohibiting sales of violent video games to minors. California’s law, originally slated to go into effect in 2006, would have prohibited the sale or rental of violent games — those that include “killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being” — to anyone under 18. It also would have created strict labeling requirements for video game manufacturers. Retailers who violated the act could have been fined up to $1,000 for each violation.
I’d prefer leaving the government out of the whole deal, but there are enough parents in our society who don’t do any parenting to think that this law would be a good thing.
By the way, the Common Sense Media poll, conducted by Zogby International, surveyed 2,100 adults from Aug. 13-16. Other key findings include:
° Sixty-five percent of parents say they’re concerned about the impact of ultra-violent video games on their kids.
° Seventy-five percent of parents would rate the video game industry negatively when it comes to how they protect kids from violent video games.
° More than half of both parents and adults in general would go so far as to rate the industry “poorly.”
— Dennis Sellers