The video game industry is fist-bumping today after the Supreme Court’s decision not to restrict the sale of violent video games to minors.
The Court struck down a 2005 California law (signed, ironically, by the Terminator/Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger) that made it a crime to sell or rent video games depicting violence to anyone under 18.
Part of the court’s ruling was based on the fact that there’s no hard evidence that video games cause kids to become more violent, and that young people have been exposed to depictions of violence for centuries.
And to California’s argument that kids become more aggressive after playing violent video games, the Court responded: It’s no different than kids watching Elmer Fudd shooting that "Siwwy Wabbit."
Violent fare for kiddos goes back even further, Justice Antonin Scalia noted, writing that there was "no tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed.”
How do parents feel about the ruling, and how do they feel about kids being exposed to video game violence?
A BabyCenter.com blog post about the topic found mixed emotions.
A post from Sarah on BabyCenter.com said parents need to take a more active role:
Children should not play violent video games. However, the government has no business in this issue. This is up to the parents to limit…Parents need to step up and be parents, not the government.
Why not rate and restrict video games the ways movies are restricted by age, Beth asks:
Rolling my eyes at Justice Scalia here.
I think video games should be treated the same way as movies. If it’s sufficient to merit an NC17 rating, then you have to be 17 to buy/rent it. If it’s less than that, it’s an advisory to the parents and nothing more.
Meanwhile, Gigi says that she and her husband enjoy violent games and she expects that her young son will be a teen gamer and will be exposed to violent games.
I’ve enjoyed hacking and slashing my way through a den of Bugbears- in Neverwinter Nights- or fighting some raiders in the wasteland- Fallout series. My husband and I dislike gratuitous violence… but we definitely play some games that have violence. We are very mellow, boring people. We don’t often raise our voices, much less get aggressive. Some people are aggressive. Some aren’t. A game isn’t going to make a not-violent person violent.
What do you think about kids playing violent video games? What are the rules about video games in your household, and how do you enforce them?