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Censorship Editorial Entertainment Games

The People Vs. Common Sense 580

Mogg writes "GamerGod.com has a new article up entitled "The People Vs. Common Sense, A Citizen's View at Michigan's SB-0146 Law," commenting on the new Michigan state video game law. "Have we made absolutely certain books and movies are not degrading the minds of our children and video games and all computerized representation of violent and sexual acts are the cause of an increase of depraved sociopaths??" Very nicely written piece.
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The People Vs. Common Sense

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  • Thank God... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:25AM (#13703432)
    "Have we made absolutely certain books and movies are not degrading the minds of our children and ... representation of violent and sexual acts are the cause of an increase of depraved sociopaths?"

    Thank God there's nothing like that in the Holy Bible!
    • by Surt ( 22457 )
      Well, at least not in most children's bibles. The adult versions are of course much more blue, to keep the flock entertained.
    • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:06AM (#13703747) Homepage Journal
      Thank the gods for monotheism.
  • by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:27AM (#13703449) Homepage
    my parents didn't let the government raise me. none of my friends' parents let the government raise them. if my parents deemed an R rated movie or M rated game ok for me, regardless of my age, they let me view/play it. if they deemed a PG-13 move or T rated game NOT ok, they didn't.
    • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:52AM (#13703654) Homepage
      That's all well and good, but the truth of the matter nowadays is that both parents want to work. Our parents did a good job raising us, telling us that if we want to make something of ourselves, we have to go to college. So we did. Both men and women. Then, in university, we met the person who would eventually become our spouse. After college, they both wanted jobs, to put this new, expensive education to work. After all, they're young, educated, enthusiastic, and unemcumbered by kids. So they both get great jobs, and buy a nice big house and each drive a BMW SUV.

      A few years later, they want kids. Being used to getting what they want, they proceed to spawn. However, neither of them want to work, being new-age, enlightened folks. "Why should I automatically have to stay home? This is 2005, for cryin' out loud," says the woman. "Well, I'm not quitting my job," says the man, "I make more than you. It makes sense for me to keep working." They crunch the numbers and realize that they both must keep working, in order to continue being able to afford gassing up their BMW SUVs and heating/cooling their 3000 sq. ft. mansion.

      Kids are inevitably born, and a minimum-wage, immigrant nanny is hired, or the kid is shipped off to daycare, where he/she learns questionable value and is largely emotionally devoid of the individual attention he/she needs and deserves. But mom and dad, still working 8 - 10 hour days, only have to deal with Junior for a few hours a day, so they don't notice that Junior is starting to resent them. Feeling guilty, they buy him whatever he wants (after all, they're still "rich" enough to do so). Junior wants a cell phone. "It'll let us reach him wherever he is," the parents reason, and buy him the phone. Junior wants a car. "It'll free us from having to shuttle him around all the time," reason the parents. Junior wants GTA3. "It'll keep him out of our hair for a few hours a day," say the parents.

      So junior, having been raised by an immigrant with poor english and questionable credentials, learns to entertain himself, and finds that he can spend a very large amount of time hanging out with his friends doing whatever, and his parents won't nag him about it. He doesn't really like (or know) his parents anyway. Eventually, they get divorced. Junior plays GTA4 with his buddies in his basement while his parents are at work, and they laugh every time they run over a hooker. Then they go out under the deck behind the house and smoke a joint. Mom and Dad won't be home for hours anyway.

      Welcome to 2005.
      • doh! where are mod points when I need them. I see this all to often myself people want kids but are unwilling to accept the major lifestyle changes that go with it. They want kids like you should want a dog or something and it makes me sick. Having a child is a major commitment and if your not ready to change the stars, re-arrange your carrer and perhaps even give up on your faviorte pastime (at least till the kid is older) then you really shouldnt be having kids.
        • I believe that you are correct, but on the other hand the career side does not help. The drive that almost all the employers push people, "work as hard as it is possible", "you must be the best", "there are others that can do what you doing better, if you slip you will become useless", all those mentalities are causing that. Along with the pressure of the society that equates money with a "good-life", this is what makes this "2005" that the grand parent is talking about.

          Money does not equate happiness, no d
        • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:45AM (#13704011) Journal
          I work for a major semiconductor company.
          I have what would be considered a fairly decent job (not great, but decent).
          I have two kids I love dearly.
          The four of us live in white trash low rent appartments because we decided to give our kids more of our time than our money.
          As a result My daughter (at barely over two) is starting to learn how to read, can speak excellent english (on par with 5 year olds), and is on track to outpace her peers by a huge margin.
          My son, at 5 months old, still mostly eats and shits, but he's a happy food processor.

          I think it is worth it.
          -nB
      • Oh no, disaffected children of suburban elites. Oh the terror, oh the humanity. Oh the mindless rhetoric. So scared. Welcome to 1985.

        Do you believe that in a neighborhood made up entirely of your ideal family situation (one parent at home full-time) will have less crime than a neighborhood where both parents work full time?

        Explain how you think that a child goes from perceiving that his parents got an education and work hard to get what they want out of life to learning life lessons from video games.

        Kids ha
      • by sgtrock ( 191182 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:04AM (#13704171)
        This is the second time that I've seen this particular rant. I call BULLSHIT! My family's history shows this just isn't true, no matter how much some people would like to think it is.

        My great-grandmother owned and ran a boarding house for miners in northern Minnesota for nearly 40 years. That was a 50 to 60 hour a day job. She also kept an eye on a series of young girls from the Old Country; giving them jobs as maids and helping them to meet and marry the better class of men on the Iron Range. The girls were her nieces, cousins, and daughters of friends of hers who stayed in Serbia. She got so good at it that many other families from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds came to her to act as matchmaker, too. Meanwhile, my grandfather worked 40-50 hours a week in the mines, then for the local school district as the general building supervisor/farmer.

        They managed to put all 5 of their surviving kids through college. (4 died as infants or under 12. Not uncommon in the early 1900s. One of malnutrition in Serbia, one of polio, one of influenza, and one I'm not sure of.)

        My grandfather was the first Serb in Minnesota to graduate from college. He was a full time teacher and principal, then a Red Cross senior instructor during WWII, then a principal again until illness laid him low around 1947.

        My grandmother was a full time teacher during their entire marriage. She and my grandfather raised three kids who all graduated from college, even though they were hampered by being a single income family (with a very, very sick dad) for most of their high school and college years.

        My mother was a full time RN and my father was a full time high school teacher. They raised three kids. All three of us went to college and got at least some certification. One of my sisters has a master's, one is close to getting her baccalaureate at the age of 42 with a 4.0 GPA, and then there's me. A geek who has a career as an ivory tower type enterprise architect working for one of the biggest banks in the country.

        My second wife and I have 4 kids between us. All 4 kids live with us during the school year. I work full time, she works 25-30 hours/week two preteens and two teenagers. 3 of the 4 are B+ or better, and one is struggling, but maintaining a C-.

        So. You have 4 consecutive generations of both parents working full time. Every single generation had two full time parents who also happened to work full time. Not one convict, not one welfare case, and not one deadbeat dad in 4 generations. I'm the unofficial family historian, so I've kept up with what's happening to the other branches of my family. The same holds true for all of them as well, and many if not most of them are either two full time parents. We do have a few single income, single parent families. Those kids are also doing quite well in school.

        STOP ASSUMING THAT YOU CAN'T GIVE YOUR KIDS ALL THE LOVE AND DISCIPLINE THAT THEY NEED IF YOU WORK FULL TIME! It's simply NOT TRUE!
        • by Sax Maniac ( 88550 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @12:17PM (#13705563) Homepage Journal
          I didn't read the grandparent that way.

          Just because two parents work does not mean that the kids can't be well-raised. My wife worked in daycare for a while, and saw plenty of the "BMW" couples described above. She also saw plenty of two-job families with no BMWs and well-adjusted kids. The two are not mutually exclusive.

          The difference is the first couple doesn't really care about their kids-- they're just fashion accessories. They think they do, but the amount of attention they willingly give them tells the real story. It happens more than you think. Congrats that your family didn't fall into that trap, but there are plenty others that do.

      • by mattkime ( 8466 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:08AM (#13704195)
        >>Hate my opinion? Criticize my photography [kombat.org].

        I looked at your photos, can I get a date with your sister?
      • Wow. Do you live in north Jersey?

        That was probably the best description of the biggest (family) problems northern New Jersey faces. Coincidentally, I was just having the same discussion with my wife last night about the "lock-in" people around here face, exactly as you describe.

        With regard to the immigrant workers around here, many of them (at least the nanny types) have excellent value systems, but are afraid to impose them on the little imps they care for, fearing that the parents will disagree. From what
      • Hey, no-one is being stoned for being a witch, the woman is allowed to divorce her husband and she was able to choose her husband in the first place, no-one has to worry about starving to death or being beset on by bandits as they drive their SUV, the parents only work 8-10 a day, 5 days a week, and smoking a joint under the deck isn't as bad as drinking a bottle of wiskey.

        If what you present is the "suburban nightmare scenerio", lighten up, things aren't that bad. Most people in history, and billions of pe
      • Welcome to 2005.

        Um, welcome to 1990 [favoritelyrics.com]...
  • by theantipop ( 803016 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:27AM (#13703451)
    Blaming TV and movies isn't going to get you votes. Almost all polticians are out to appease the voters, not solve problems. Not only do the television and movie industries have huge lobbies, these are two things nearly every parent enjoys themselves. It's much easier to target video games as an evil when no parent understands what it is all about. And when as a politician you have the opportunity to spin your wheels over something and make it look like you are saving the children, you take it or someone else will.
    • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:32AM (#13703491) Homepage
      Almost all polticians are out to appease the voters, not solve problems.

      Is that the fault of the politicians appeasing their consituents, or the voters who value style over substance? You can't blame the politicians for playing the game. They have to work within the system the people have constructed, or they won't be rewarded with subsequent terms.
      • That's a very good point. I had that in the back of my mind as I wrote this and my reply to myself. But at the same time, I do believe someone can stand up and say that the people are on the wrong witch-hunt.
        • by Manitcor ( 218753 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:26AM (#13703871) Homepage
          Somtimes I wonder if its not the media itself that perpatuates this witch hunt. After all other forms of entertainment such as TV, movies and music all stand to gain from a games market that is relagated to toddlers and kids. Its the fact that games are so popular with the 18-34 crowd that is driving them crazy as we are spending our dollars and our attention to something other than thier passive drivel. Oddly enough as people freak out the biggest spenders on video games are people who are above the maximum age range anyway. Little kids playing GTA are actually in the miniority as I understand it. The parents smart enough to keep stuff with obiously bad titles out of thier kids hands of course arent going to complain. Only those who were dumb enough to think a game with a title like "Slash Killer Gore IV" is somehow wholesome for thier 12 year old to play.

          For the most part its this miniority that is at the hands of all this anti-game stuff, unfortnatly they are also the most vocal and of course the media just loves to run away with any oppertuntiy they can for a story coupled with an oppertunity to bash an opposing medium that is eating into thier bottom line more every year.
      • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:51AM (#13703639) Journal
        Way to go at taking away any responsibility on the politicians part. I'm not saying you don't have a point, but the way your post is worded it's like the politicians aren't to blame at all, and it's all the fault of the ignorant voters.

        Oh it's not the politician's fault for lying. It's the fault of the people for believing him.

        I'm not saying you don't have a point, what I'm saying is politicians are partly responsible (I'd say the greater part myself).
    • It's much easier to target video games as an evil when no parent understands what it is all about. And when as a politician you have the opportunity to spin your wheels over something and make it look like you are saving the children, you take it or someone else will.

      Uh, I'd say you were on target if this was the 80's or the mid 90's. Now, I'd say most adults/young parents have most likely played video games and will use their sense in letting their kids play.

      I have my N64 still hooked up mainly because the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:28AM (#13703461)
    "Have we made absolutely certain books and movies are not degrading the minds of our children and video games and all computerized representation of violent and sexual acts are the cause of an increase of depraved sociopaths??"

    I have been an avid video gamer for 30 years and it has not ... [just a sec] ... Sorry, my mom just came in my room with my breakfast, I tell her to knock but she just doesn't listen

    ... anyway back to what I was saying, I've been playing video games religiously for 30 years and it has not affected my social development in the least
  • Thesaurus whore (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OnoTadaki ( 914593 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:32AM (#13703488)
    "visualize the poignant tide of human thought", "While endeavoring to bequeath our exclusive equities unto the world, we are often chagrined by remonstrations..." It's sad when someone has to turn to looking up every second word in a thesaurus to sound like they have an intelligent arguement.
    • Uh, maybe the author has a decent vocabulary? Contrary to what many would have you believe these days, people don't actually use phrases like "lolz!!1! @ da senate" and "dat law iz teh sux0r" when writing articles, etc.
    • Perchance the author was moderately circumlocutory, however I am willing to stipulate that his circulatory pump is within the correct locus.
  • by rbochan ( 827946 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:32AM (#13703489) Homepage
    The band Scatterbrain, aka Ludichrist, had a song called Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom about 15 years back, sounds like they weren't far off...

    We'll ban that book and T.V. show,
    Forget that movie, no you can't go.
    Can't sell that record, don't like that song.
    We know what's right we know what's wrong.
    Can't have abortions, what's yours ain't yours,
    Just obey the laws.
    Too young to drink, say no to drugs ...

    Bikers wear helmets, cars safety belts
    You might hurt yourself.
    We're watching out, We're watching out
    We're watching out for you...

    Well the new right's been at work some time
    They ain't so new no more
    Can you hear 'em knockin'
    Knockin' down your door.
    1984 has past, forget about Big Brother,
    Welcome to the 90's where the government's your
    mother. ...

    They'll tell you - don't do that.
    They'll try and tell you - it's for your own good.
    Big Mother is watching you
    Mother's protecting you
    Mommy knows what's right for you ...

    Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom
    The Bill of Rights just disappeared
    There it is - whoops it's gone!
    Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom
    All your rights just disappeared
    Everybody stay calm. ...

    Good stuff :)

  • excuses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:34AM (#13703504)
    By creating such a law aren't they making it easier for criminals to claim that video games warped them and as such aren't responsible for their actions?
  • by analog_line ( 465182 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:35AM (#13703520)
    The entire article is in dire need of an editor. "Nicely written" indeed...for an 15 year old. Myriad spelling mistakes any spellchecker worth a damn should've caught, run on sentences, a writer far too obsessed with his thesaurus, and writing that is obviously intended to sound "important" but ends up sounding "pretentious."
    • Indeed. When I stop reading the article, and instead read the comments because the standard of English is higher, something is deeply wrong. Witness the rise of the blog.
  • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:36AM (#13703527) Journal
    "Have we made absolutely certain books and movies are not degrading the minds of our children and video games and all computerized representation of violent and sexual acts are the cause of an increase of depraved sociopaths??"

    No, we have not made absolutely certain.

    And we can argue that video games are not really damaging to kids. But can we argue that, if it is, allowing one industry to get away with a crime reason enough to allow another?

    Assuming both violent video games and movies are detrimental to the well being of minors, shouldn't society be regulating both, instead of neither?

    • by exi1ed0ne ( 647852 ) <exile.pessimists@net> on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:11AM (#13703775) Homepage
      It's not society's job to determine what's detrimental to the well being of minors - it's the parents. Laws and regulations will never make a dent in behavior. However, it does make for a nice bank account ballance for the lawyers.

      Laws and regulations just shift responsability from the one's that have the most direct impact in a child's life (the parents) to "society". For some reason everyone thinks it's better whan it is "our" problem.
  • by faloi ( 738831 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:36AM (#13703529)
    In the 80's, it was the PMRC under Tipper Gore that was leading children away from the path of suicide and darkness brought on by music. Easy target, musicians don't tend to contribute as much to political campaigns as Hollywood types. Life was good. Then the "extreme" music of the day became more normal, and all we've got is some warning labels. Aside from Lieberman during the 2000 elections, I don't know of any politicians really speaking out on it these days.

    New target possibilities? Lessee... Video games. They're easy. P2P technologies... That has the bonus of getting your Hollywood and corporate buddies to apprieciate you more AND gives you something that doesn't require a lot of money or work on your part. Ain't politics grand?
  • by zev1983 ( 792397 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:39AM (#13703552)
    The real question to ask is if there actually has been an increase of "depraved sociopaths", or if it is meerly percieved to be so because news coverage now picks out these rare incidents wherever and whenever they happen and sensationalize it and parade it around for weeks to get rating. Scaring people enhances news ratings.
  • State of Michigan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:42AM (#13703577)
    From TFA:
     
      Allow me to present Michigan SB-0416, the latest attempt by the American government
     
    The Michigan state government is not the same as "the American government" which would be the label for the Federal government. This is a good example of something that individual states *do* have the ability to regulate even if a lot of us think it's silly. All the people in Michigan who don't like it should direct complaints to their state legislator and not blame a vague "American government". All people who *don't* live in Michigan should direct comments to their respective state legislators insisting that our state should not enact similar.
  • by Iriel ( 810009 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:42AM (#13703580) Homepage
    ...piece of proposed (or even passed) anti-video game legislation.

    Serioulsy though, like it was mentioned in the article, these politicians are attacking video games because a lot of parents really aren't doing their job, and a lot of parents don't understand video games. By the time that the kids who were young when Nintendo first hit America (people like me) become the normal voting population, politicians will have to target something new because we'll all tell them that it's a load of crap.

    In the meantime, I can only hope that enough states hop on the anti-gamer law bandwagon that Jack Thompson can't keep up with all of them. Then in the future, these laws may make it into the halls of www.dumblaws.com, pending we don't become a police state ^_^
  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:43AM (#13703586) Homepage Journal
    "The Greek philosopher Plato studied under Socrates. Plato complained about the youth of the day, also. "What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?"

    and from another time

    "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

    When you're too old to know what it is to be young, it seems, you'll inevitably subscribe to an orthodoxy that sees children as wild and at risk of being irrevocably corrupted.

    Kids are leaky hormone sacs. What you see them up to in public is nothing compared to what they do in private.

  • by CCelebornn ( 829849 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:43AM (#13703588)
    Newsflash: there are bad things out there in the world

    What (IMO) often seperates children who grow up to "good" and those who do "bad" is how they are guided through events & situations that occur in their lives. If no-one is around to explain what is right, to explain why you should do the "good" thing; how the hell can you expect the children to learn?

    These parents who are say too busy working to bring in an income to feed their children and keep a roof over their head. Perhaps they should just take a wage cut, get a job with less hours. Less money correct; less money to just keep spending money on video games with no social interaction. So to offset that lack of money, sell off the expensively large TV, cable and the games console (which AREN'T essential) and spend some actual time with the kids.
  • Yes, as another poster pointed out the writer is fond of the thesaurus in this article. I think it was meant to sound like some of the formal 18th century prose which the founders of our country, and perhaps some of the authors of the federalist papers often used. That kind of language evokes an atmosphere of nobly defending freedom and principle. I don't think it was too bad of a job, personally, although there were some errors. For example :
    [1]. While it is difficult for many to reasonably argue that the children of this country should be excluded from partaking in adult material...
    I'm sure this says the opposite of what the author intended.

    But the punch line comes at the end of the article, where the inflated language is dropped. It adds to the effect. If you didn't read all the way to the end, you missed the payoff.

  • This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShoobieRat ( 829304 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:51AM (#13703641)
    A new study concludes that parents should parent their ****ing kids!

    If you have kids, they're your responsibility, parent them. If you don't want to do that, don't have kids. It's not society's fault if your kid is a mindless twit who's never been brought up correctly.

    Stop punishing the rest of us for the faults of dumbasses who can't teach their kids right from wrong. Decent society does not come from rules and restrictions. It comes from doing yer damn job as a parent.
  • by ApharmdB ( 572578 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:52AM (#13703653)
    Who is it that has successfully framed this time as an era of high crime? Crime is at a 30 year low. [cnn.com]

    Just because the media likes to report stories about people doing bad things to other people doesn't mean it is happening more often. Information about far away places is more readily available these days and we are just hearing about it more often because we apparently like to hear about it. They wouldn't report it if it didn't get them higher ratings.
  • Media hysteria (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redelm ( 54142 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:02AM (#13703721) Homepage
    The deep irony is that no-one would _dare_ censor "the news". Yet it is precisely this hysterical sensationalism that I'm most reluctant my kids watch. Simpsons & South Park may be caustic and tasteless, but are hardly as damaging. Network news is not, and I need to have long discussions with my kids afterwards to undo the damage.

    Frankly, I do not blame the media owner or employees. Both are too inept. They just chase ratings. The fault lies with human nature, or at least the many people who are overcautious or like being scared.

  • In A Word... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by canfirman ( 697952 ) <pdavi25@yahoo.COWca minus herbivore> on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:13AM (#13703787)
    From TFA:

    Much like the MPAA ratings, the ERSB ratings were put into place to arm the parents with the tools they would need to protect their children from inadvertently partaking in games that should rightly be marketed and sold to adults. Until the Illinois law went into effect, the public appeared to manage rearing their children just fine on their own. Law makers such as Senator Alan Cropsey, given the amount of thought, time, and taxpayer money that has gone into enacting laws that allow for punitive repercussions, have gone to great lengths to insinuate that parents have indeed failed their children by allowing them to do as little as glimpse at the packaging in which violent video games are sold. Is it that those parents are not doing their part, or that the ERSB has failed to properly warn parents about products which are appropriate for their children?

    In a word, Yes. I've always felt that parenting should be active instead of passive. Children don't learn right and wrong from TV, music, or video games, but from parents. It's too bad that good parenting has been lost on this generation.

  • Idiot. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by torstenvl ( 769732 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:14AM (#13703791)
    From the phrase "Allow me to present Michigan SB-0416, the latest attempt by the American government..." I was turned off by the lack of journalistic professionalism.

    Rhetoric is for propaganda, not news. Get your facts straight before you start "reporting." Oh, and uh... look up Federalism while you're at it.
  • by hol ( 89786 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:28AM (#13703892) Homepage Journal
    So, banning and restricting access is supposed to protect our children? Great, except that like alcohol and drugs, kids will get a hold of what they want to, especially without parental guidance. Yet another law will not protect children from irresponsible or careless parents. It's like banning sex education in the hopes that the teen pregancy rate goes down - all it does is increase the incidence of STDs.

    Incidentally, video games have become more violent, and pornography is easier to access than ever. Perhaps this is a release of the violent or preverted urges, and as a result violent crime is at its lowest rate ever. Sure it's become more sensational, but the statistics don't lie. In terms of sexual crimes, the reporting rate is better than what it was, and the numbers across most western nations are still lower than ever. (Source: DOJ [usdoj.gov] )
  • by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:33AM (#13703925)
    There's a lot of debate concerning the effect, if any, that violence in entertainment has on todays youth. It's a hot topic, certainly. After all, children are indeed the future.

    Violence is everywhere. Television, movies, video games, comic books... and as many have pointed out, the natural and healthy act of sex is far more vilified. It doesn't make sense to me, but then not much does.

    Do people learn violence from these sources? Wll, let's flip the question around. Do children learn good values such as sharing and cooperation from programs like Sesame Street? Do they learn lessons on family from such venerable shows as Little House on the Prairie?

    If you believe that children have the capability of learning positive lessons from the media, then you cannot simultaneously believe that they are incapable of absorbing the negative ones. It's a huge contradiction, and it simply can't be right.

    Children are sponges, as any parent can certainly confirm. They are constantly absorbing everything around them. There is NO way that a child can't be picking up the poison with the sugar.

    The media is unlikely to change because adults - including me - want those violent programs. We like our fringe entertainment. Shows like CSI are popular for a reason. Likewise, video game companies are unlikely to change. The majority of video game purchases are made by people over eighteen, and again we like our combat simulations, crime wave games, and other adult titles.

    So what can parents do? Well, for starters, they could turn on the content filters that have been included on new televisions for a number of years... but the best choice is to simply pay attention and stay involved with their children. I'm not a parent. I'm only a concerned citizen, so I know that's easy for me to say.

    When I was a kid I don't recall reading about students shooting other students or teachers. Metal detectors in schools was a something that existed in the roughest of places in the United States. But the news these days scares me. I'm genuinely worried about what our children are learning.

    We'd damn well better teach them compassion, because they will run the seniors homes that we will one day inhabit.

    Taken from my blog, September 14. Yes, it's only partially on topic - I did read the FA.
  • Parents... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skogs ( 628589 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:34AM (#13703928) Journal
    They need to care. They need to actually Parent. It is not the government's fault your child is screwed up. It is most certainly something the parent could have mitigated with either a good soft hand, a good cry, or a firm hand. One solution is not ok all the time, or even for all children at the same time, but all should be in the repotoire. stupid parents bring up stupid children.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:34AM (#13703930)
    I admit this law is a vague law, but it's a good law. Let's be honest with ourselves. GTA shouldn't be bought by kids. I'd have written the law to be 18 but there's a point when we have to realize that many parents don't give shit about their kids, and they allow them to buy these games. If there's a game a kid can't buy the parents will likely take notice and think about the game making a better decision. They might find out why the game is considered violent and decide if their kid can handle it.

    When doom came out I was 14, I handled it well, there were others though that couldn't. The amount that couldn't handle it was very few, but there are those who just can't deal with this stuff. (Yes they might be mentally disturbed, maybe metally retarded, or perhaps just not mature yet. There's other reasons too.) But I think any law that requires a parent to actively consider giving a child a game that might be detremental (notice MIGHT) isn't a bad thing, it might actually help.

    It needs to be a civil or criminal matter and that seems to refute what this law is. The problem is if it's just a 20 dollar fine, people will continue to do it. Look at minors and cigerettes. I don't think they are going to jail every guy in a game store who makes a mistake, but gamestores need to be held as responsable as anyone else. Does it take that much longer to take out a wallet and show id? I mean you have the wallet out for your money anyways, I take my ID out with my credit card automatically because the signature on the back was rubbed off. It's not hard at all.

    Just to note, I'm not saying these games are bad, I'm not saying GTA ever should have got AO rating for code not native to the game, but at the same time GTA with a M rating shouldn't be easy to get for kids, just the same as cigarettes and R-rated movies should be restricted for them. Perhaps saying that it's easy for them to see this in R-rated movies means that those laws might need to be toughened a bit.

    But that's just to say that's my opinion.
  • by cexshun ( 770970 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:39AM (#13703966) Homepage
    After hearing this story, I simply noted the proof that two different people growing up in the same household with two different preferences for after school and weekend activities can produce two entirely different outcomes in their lives.

    So... the gamer became a criminal and the outdoorsman became a model citizen. However, his story suggests no more proof then saying boy A became a criminal because he likes Doritos and boy B became a model citizen because he prefered Fritos Corn Chips.

    Did he not stop and think that perhaps boy A became a criminal because he lived in a state of continual social solitude while boy B flourished because he interacted with people, the environment and his world? I'm sure I could pull some studies out of my ass to show a stronger correlation of my theory than of his.

  • by pgnas ( 749325 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:21AM (#13704308) Journal
    Government imposition is becoming increasingly more prevelant in our society. "We must protect the children..." is cited in most or all of the cases. Well, I realize that this has been said 99,000 times alerady, but I repeat: WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?

    Children need to be governed and protected by their parents, not the Government! In most cases you will find that the root of the problem are the parent(s), sure, there are genetic dispositions that might make someone more succeptable to commiting violent acts, but for the most part, the way they deal and react in every situation is learned at a very early age and age where most kids are not playing video games. Unfortunately, the kids are thrown into daycare and the parents are too busy working late so then can pay off their $40,000 SUV. So, realy parenting is out of the question..

    Where are the parents when these kids are playing the games? The kids are in front of their baby sitter, a video game or the television!

    Enter the Governement..."We'll take it from here"

    Parents! Pay attention to your kids! spend some time with them instead of shuffling them off to soccer, ballet, etc... and spend some time with them. What a simple concept!

    It's not my fault!

    What a common theme on our society, I got a question, if it's not your fault, than whose is it?

    "It's your fault, or his fault, or her fault, or their fault!"

    Enter some government official with an agenda ready to make hasty decisions and judgements about a situation without completely understanding it. "I dont' care whose fault it is, your both wrong"

    The problem and the blame and the responsibility needs to be the parents and it is not the Governements job to raise our children.

    Poor Video Game Developers...yeah, right!

    Here is where I will more than likely get slammed, citing; "You can't be on both sides of the fence", well, yes I can.

    There are some real crap video games out there! Grand Theft Auto is Useless. I've played it, I am a gamer, it is completely unecessary killing and violence and everything else rolled into a first person experience. Children should never be allowed near this kind of crap, however,it it not the Governments' job to decide this, it is the PARENTS.

    Senator Dinosaur

    Lastly, I will make this short and to the point' People over the age of 40 should not be able to make or propose ANY legislation that involves technology! More often than not, they do not understand it, they don't understand the implications, and they are incapable of making an educated decision, so they apply their old school, antiquated ideals and sometimes, bring innovation to a screeching halt.
  • about a troubled guy in a disfunctional family who kept playing GTA. One day, this guy decided to rob something, and the police caught him on the spot. He took one officer's gun to try to cuff him and run away, but the officer began yelling, and the guy shot him because he got scared.

    The point in the article was that the "shooting officers" was an automatic response, something he had learned by playing GTA.

    And this makes me think that we've been tackling the violent videogame issue from the wrong viewpoint: It's not that certain videogames make us violent - violence is something we learn at home, but that we are more prone to repeat the actions learned in videogames, when we become violent. This is, learned behavior from the videogames. This contrasts with movies,books and TV, where we are only spectators and no automatic-actions (such as shooting someone) are learned.

    And it makes sense now: Home/Family learned violence + Videogame-learned violent actions = dangerous person.

    In other words, it means that videogames such as GTA, which portray realistic violence (against fictional violence like "Street Fighter II") can turn an already violent person into a potential murderer.

    Opinions anyone?
  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:52AM (#13704689) Homepage
    The issue is not violence or sex, I believe both have their place....to me, the issue is "degradation & abuse"

    I believe sex is a wonderful thing shared between people who love each other. Even in terms of pleasure shared amongst friends or consenting casual acquaintances for the more liberal thinking.

    Nor am I an absolute pacifist, I believe violence should be avoided when possible and used as a last resort. But I believe there are times when one must be violent; when one must defend themselves against the school playground bully. I believe there are times one must be violent to protect the weak from abuse.

    A violent game like DOOM caused little issue for me. Shooting monstrous demonic creatures....no problem. Shooting each other in a gladiator style arena. Still not much problem. Not much reality there.

    But there is a big difference between such and a game which exemplifies, even glorifies, the rape/killing or other abuse of prostitutes. That degrades women as objects. That outlines a fundamental philosophy that stealing/killing is acceptable.

    I do not have children, but when I do, I want to instill in them that sex is a good thing...but to enjoy it wisely. That violence is a last resort but that there are times you need to raise your fists. Likewise, I do not want my son to be abusing & degrading women. I want him to be the type to respect women. I want him to be the type of guy who refrains from violence, but at the same time would be willing to use it to prevent some scum from being violent and degrading to a woman or anyone for that matter.

    The issue, is "right vs. wrong" "good vs. evil" sure it get's grey sometimes. But how often is "rape" a grey issue? or mass genocide? or racism?

    There is a difference between playing a character in a game such as a cop stopping violent criminals with violence, or even a vigilante who does such to protect more innoncent individuals than say "playing" the perpetrator. Sure "Wolfenstein" was violent with lots of gruesome death. But you were killing NAZI's and their evil creations.

    So, no, I don't want my children (which I do not have) playing a game that displays such behaviors....not until their sense of morality and right vs. wrong has matured. Likewise, I don't even really want other children to play such. If I have a daughter, then no, I don't think I'd be too keen on a game that had kids "rampaging" a school shooting classmates and raping girls in the school bathroom. I'd be afraid of what influence that might have on a teenage boy and what risk that could pose to my daughter. Now, I don't think we're at a level were such a game would be tolerated by society. But it does pose the question of where does one or where should one draw the line?

    I think most parents bringing up such issues are not concerned about their children, (as they're probably not letting them play GTA) but are more concerned about their children encountering children influenced by such games - and being harmed.

    Now, is there conclusive proof of an association of violence. No...but it does not mean we should wait till there might be.

    So my point in this....I don't know if there should be a law. But IMHO, would it really be wrong to list certain games as Mature and denote that such require the purchaser to be 18+ ??? This was commonly accepted for film.

    The following is just my personal opinion:

    General Audience (means content acceptable for all)
    Teen (denotes violence, guns, deathmatch, etc.)
    Mature (denotes strong sexual content, immoral violence, illegal acts (ie: drug usage - not powerup mushrooms but use of real life drugs), essentially, anything that is portrayed in a virtual environment of our modern day society which is illegal & felonious to the extreme. (ie: driving very fast would not be listed but driving drunk would, murder, rape, etc)

    All of this is to say "there is a difference" between say a game called "8mm" in which a character plays a detective (a.k.a. Nicholus
  • Pot n' Kettle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by doomicon ( 5310 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @11:48AM (#13705268) Homepage Journal
    When China places restrictions on gamers, they are this horribly oppressive communist regime. When the U.S. places restrictions, it's for the love of our children...
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday October 03, 2005 @01:10PM (#13706054)
    ...on prime time NBC last night (Sunday October 2nd) I saw a bag of severed body parts including a clearly visable severed arm fall out of the back of a van and roll across the ground.

    And why is that okay yet showing a pink dot on a female chest is prohibited when showing the same pink dot on a male chest is okay?

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