Video Game Courtroom Win?

27 Jun

If you haven’t heard yet, the ban that California tried to put on the sale of violent/offensive video games to minors has been rejected.  In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the court stated that this ban broke both the 1st and 14th amendments.  In summary, they announced that such a ban is an unconstitutional violation of free-speech rights (Yahoo).  As such, “government doesn’t have the authority to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed” (WTOP).

The full ruling in PDF format can be found on The Supreme Court website.

Instead, the court ruling implies that parents should decide what games a child can play.  Now, that of course brings up the question of whether or not parents are actually “good parents” and watch for, or even care about what their children play.  From experience, all my friends and I got titles if we asked for them as gifts or had saved up the money for them, whether it was Mortal Kombat or Pokemon Snap.  Conversely, there are parents that take offense at a single line of dialogue out of context, so I understand that some parents care, but I am under the impression that the majority of parents would’t be playing Grand Theft Auto before giving it their seal of approval.

Still, wouldn't you feer a bit uneasy if they trapped you in a dark alley?

Then, of course,  people argue that it’s the multi-billion dollar video game companies who truly win, and that this isn’t about the right to decide if a game is okay for a certain kid to play or not.

I for one am glad that video games aren’t going to be strictly regulated.  I think a child’s exposure to violent games doesn’t have as much of an effect on children as their upbringing, their social interaction, and their education.  And even barring those factors, I would hope that children would be smart enough to know that video games are not the same as reality.

What do you think of the decision? Is it good for kids? Will it promote good parenting? Are ratings enough, or should there at least be more explicit labeling of why a game is rated the way it is?  Let me know!

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