Oklahoma Politicians Decide Some Videogames are “Harmful to Minors”

Oklahoma’s State Senate unanimously passed a bill that would equate videogames like HALO and Grand Theft Auto 3 with hardcore pornography, making it a crime to sell those games to anyone under the age of eighteen:

HB3004 seeks to amend an existing Oklahoma statute, and redefine what
is considered "harmful to minors." Authored by State Rep. Fred Morgan
(R), the bill would add "inappropriate violence" to the statute. In the
actual wording of the bill, "harmful to minors" means: "the material or
performance lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or
political value for minors."

[. . .]

Virtually everyone can agree that there are games which are clearly
inappropriate for children, but that’s what ratings and parents are
for. Why is it that Republican lawmakers are gung-ho for personal
responsibility and government abstinence when it comes to healthcare,
welfare, and minimum-wage laws, but they can’t vote "aye" fast enough
when it comes to intrusively legislating morality?

If this bill becomes law, it will be a crime to sell a "harmful" game
to a anyone under 18. There are countless reasons that this is
incredibly stupid, among them the fact that a 17 year-old can buy
himself a ticket to a graphically violent film like Saw or Hostel, or a sexually-charged film like Showgirls.
But that same 17 year-old couldn’t legally purchase DOOM 3, and the
person who sold it to him would be criminally liable. How does this
make sense? The answer is, it doesn’t. Bills like this have nothing to
do with protecting the children or seriously addressing issues which
need governmental attention. Bills like this are entirely about
election-year pandering to the ultra-conservative minority who
unfortunately make up the modern Republican Base.

You can read the rest at the SGGeekwire.

38 thoughts on “Oklahoma Politicians Decide Some Videogames are “Harmful to Minors””

  1. Well, they have to do something to piss people off, otherwise they wouldn’t be “playing” politics, and where is the fun in that?
    -Cheri

  2. I don’t know…I’m no prude by any means, and HALO seems alright, but Grand Theft Auto makes me sick to my stomach. “Inappropriate violence” doesn’t really begin to cover it. That thing is perverse.

  3. That’s my point entirely, Laura. You have every right to believe that it’s perverse, just as I have a right to play it in the privacy of my own home.
    I also have a responsibility as a parent to prevent my children from playing it, but I don’t need the government making additional laws that criminalize the sale of the game to minors.
    And this bill makes no distinction between HALO, GTA, and Hustler. That’s a problem, in my opinion.

  4. I don’t think this is a symptom of just a Republican mindset. I think the problem is that something needs to be done to keep violent and/or sexually explicit video games out of the hands of children, but the lawmakers don’t really think hard enough about what good solutions would be. I really don’t think that the law, as it’s stated, would make a huge impact. The parents that care, and are proactive about the media that their children are exposed to are already keeping an eye on video games, the parents that don’t care, are likely to buy the game for their children, or be completely unaware that their child’s friend has the game. Secondly, getting porn when you aren’t 18 isn’t difficult, neither is getting cigarettes. Looking back I’m pretty sure I was able to consistantly get my hands on both of those products when I was in the 7th or 8th grade.

  5. They have to demonize something in order to keep their “troops” riled up.
    Frankly, I think I see where lawmakers are trying to make more and more things illegal, so that there are more and more prisoners – and fewer voters. Remember:
    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a socialist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me–
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.
    — Martin Niemoeller

  6. I think it is somewhat of a good idea; those who want to buy the games can, those who shouldn’t be buying them can’t.
    But, it’s mostly parents who buy the games, so that won’t make as huge an impact as compared to stores making policies not to RENT games to minors (which some stores already have).
    A bigger impact would be media education, because there are still so many parents who are clueless as to what is in some video games these days. …and even moreso I bet to the fact that their little ones want to rent such games.
    This has been in the political and public sphere for decades (and video games since the mid 1990’s). It was there with the democrats, it is there with the republicans, and it’s there in countries who have neither.

  7. This gets my goat, being an avid gamer. Once being in the business of selling video games to people, I noticed some frustrating trends. People moan and cry about the content of a video game. Which is fine because everybody is entitled to their opinion.
    There are a few things that are not taken into consideration however about gaming today.
    The market for gaming has grown over the years and companies have realized at long last there are many adult gamers who seek a game with more mature content as well as the family friendly material. And many parents are uninformed or misinformed about video games by their children. So when their kid brings home a copy of GTA, they are outraged. They just bought the game without looking at the handy dandy rating on the package which isn’t all too different from the ratings that are slapped on movies. Countless times when a child would just ask for a MA rated game at the counter, I would hand the game to the parent and informed them of the rating which made them inclined to read the package.
    Granted I lost sales doing this but it kept angry parents from marching back into my store. Most parents were glad I took the time to explain it. The point is that I shouldn’t have had to remind them when they could have picked up the display box to read about the contents. I’d rather have a strict, cautious parent ask me questions about the game rather then an ignorant, blase parent who will just pay for it and then rush back into my store the next day to lecture me about the “inappropriate” game I sold them.
    I am momentarily reminded of a trip to see Underworld Evolution when that came out in theaters and the movie is indeed rated R. I took my 16 year old brother because he couldn’t very well go it alone since they wouldn’t sell him a ticket. To boot, he is a gamer geek to the core and far too mature for his own good. As we were settled down, a family came in with 2 children that were both under the age of 10 by looking at them. Needless to say, the movie is full of violence, gore, some explicit language, some nudity, and the WORST sex scene I have ever seen in my day. Yet they stuck it through anyways when I thought they would have walked out after the horrid sex scene.
    Pfft. I would have walked out after that except for the fact Kate Beckinsale is one of the actresses I’d trade teams for.

  8. Wil,
    I couldn’t agree with you more! Frankly I couldn’t give a rat’s hind end about video games (except those that I played as a teen like Galaga etc.)
    I am so SICK and TIRED of this country turning not only into a fascist state (which it is) but also into a damned NANNY state!!!
    Why does the government need to constantly tell us what to do, how to think etc.? I thought the backbone of Republicanism is “less big government.”
    Whatever happened to “Parental” laws? You know the type I’m talking about…the kind where your parents would call your friend’s parents and lay down their “laws.” That meant to my mom at age apprpriateness: that no rated R movies, an adult present at all times outside the house, no drinking, smoking, doing drugs, checking what video games they might play at the arcade (we didn’t have NInetendo yet kiddies) and what time she’ll pick me up in the morning if it was a sleep over. My mother met all my friend’s parents. That meant she talked with them…
    At length. She didn’t just drop me off at the corner and drive off.
    I don’t like those games but I’m not crazy about new music and some of the teen movies out either and you know what that means?
    I’M GETTING OLDER!!
    Geez, when did this friggin’ country stop taking responsibilty for itself and its children.
    People want to blame ANYTHING else for their children’s bad manners, criminal attitudes and crimes, sexual promiscuity, drug use and general selfishness rather than taking a good, hard look at themselves.

  9. I like posts with the words “pandering”, “hardcore” and “pornography” in them.
    So, the network television broadcast of “Gone with the Wind” has no violence, sends a good political message and can be aired during the family hour?
    But a 17 year old can’t purchase Takamari, because the simulated people in the game are so violently rolled up into a ball?

  10. Why not? They already want to ban Harry Potter, pull a scholarly work about the history of manga out of county libraries, make it illegal to own a vibrator, and in the state of Texas the words “conjure” and “imagine” aren’t even allowed to be used in school textbooks lest they “conjure” up imagery of “witchcraft.”
    It’s one thing at a time. It creeps up. The next thing you know the whole world is safe from sin, but it’s also boring as hell.

  11. Holy geez. Heaven forbid the government allow us to parent our own children.
    This issue actually came up this past weekend. My kids’ dad offered to buy GTA3 for them this weekend (they’re 10 & 13) and – this is so great – my sons told him no because I told them it was inappropriate for them. How cool is that?
    What’s sad about it is that it illustrates what the evil empire is trying to push. Some parent’s don’t have the sense God gave a goat and either ignore the ratings or in the worse situations, ignore what their children are doing. Still, the government doesn’t have any business telling us what games we can play.

  12. I am not an American, but I hold no love for the Republican Government. I am not a fan of the [religious] right. I believe in the right to privacy and parental responsibility.
    However, I am also a police officer, and have had a first-hand view at some of society’s ills. If you look at violence and aggression in today’s [North American] culture, particularily amongst youth, it is hard to argue that things are different from what they were even 20 years ago.
    Something HAS changed.
    I’m a gamer myself, and quite frankly, I’m not playing Mario Bros. At the same time, I strongly disapprove of games like GTA and 25 To Life. I think they send a bad message.
    If you’d like to read a very intelligent and academic approach to the subject, I recommend the work of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Here is a quick summary of one of his books.
    I don’t think that violence in movies, television and video games are the sole determining factor with respect to violence in society, BUT, youth are impressionable, and to say they have no impact is, I think, a bit irresponsible.
    I guess in a nutshell, my opinion on the proposed law is that I sympathize with it’s intent, although am aware of the inherent problems in such “criminalization”.
    But what’s the solution? I trust Wil to make the right decisions….but you don’t need a license to be a parent…as many would flunk the exam. Horribly.
    So how do we protect the kids who have the misfortune of being born to bad parents?

  13. Nicely said Dave. I’m actually working on a PhD on the psychological effects of playing violent video games so I can confidently state that they DO affect people (especially young children). But at the same time, of course there are lots of other things going on, and they aren’t solely to blame for anyone’s problems. Many people are just fine who play violent games–but I think we agree most M rated games aren’t for kids.
    I totally support getting to choose what is and isn’t right for your family. But fact of the matter is not all kids are as good as Kim’s. Many try to get these games without their parents knowing. If you want to get a game for your family, you totally can, but you as a parent should have to do it. Some video games are, in my opinion, much worse than Playboy (and the Playboy video game is hilariously stupid). Minors are not allowed to buy Playboy, but they can rent the games. So, there is some sense to the proposed law (which is law in a few places now).
    …BUT, many of the popular M rated games are as popular as they are because of the negative publicity, so “banning” them can backfire and make matters worse (can we say “forbidden fruit”?). Not to mention the nightmare of enforcing such laws.
    That’s why my preferred choice of dealing with any violent media is parental and child education about media violence (ratings, its effects, strategies for dealing with it as a family, etc.), and voluntary store policy not to sell or rent violent media to minors, and to always tell parents about the media’s ratings. Some stores already do this. Education gets at the heart of the problem, and voluntary policy helps parents when they aren’t there. (There are many websites with such educational info.)
    …but although you can lead a parent/child to education, you can’t make them learn. *sigh*
    /soapbox. (Sorry for such a long post!)

  14. As someone who others would label as a conservative (although I don’t even know what that means), I agree with you Wil. I hate both parties, they’re both greedy, corrupt bastards who don’t listen to anyone and just want to be elected again.
    I’m not a parent so I can’t really say much, but I have played GTA and Halo and I can easily see why GTA is not for kids (who wouldn’t). The government is trying to take personal responsibility out of everything. Parents need actually do something and quit blaming others. My parents didn’t let me do lots of things, and I’m glad.

  15. I used to work at a video store, and truthfully – it is the PARENTS who are idiots. “Dang, Y’all don’t got no Grand Theft Auto San Andreas up in here? Well son (looks down at 6 year old boy) I guess we’re gonna hafta rent something else. How bout Big Mutha Truckers?”
    I used to get so MAD. Ugh. We had all kinds of Disney games appropriate for really young kids, but nope. Parents wanted the slasher games so they could play too.
    Well..there is no IQ test to breed so…
    It really doesn’t matter. If the kids want the game, they will get it. Law or no law – there is always eBay or a friend of a friend. Look how many teens are partying on the weekends. Being under 21 didn’t stop them from getting beer.. I don’t think that being under 18 will stop them from getting a violent video game.
    The law is really just stupid.
    Just my $.02
    ~Faline

  16. Ok, I slightly disagree on this one because I really don’t want my 11 year old nephew playing a game where he slaps crack hoars and steals cars, and kills cops. And you can be a really good parent and not allow that stuff, but the problem is the next door neighbors kids whos parents are clueless and will by that shit for the kid unless there is a label or something on it. I agree 18 is harsh, and I think 16 would be fine. I am conflicted on the level of penalty that should be put on some one who sells a game likethis to my nephew, jail time is wrong, but a nice fine would be cool with me. I am very left wing on most things, but this stuff I don’t know.
    Don

  17. I don’t really have an opinion on the piece of legislation, as the poli sci student in me needs, like, 19 footnoted sources to form judgment on anything these days. Though government decency-intervention (paricularly under your current administration) is always susupicious.
    Anywho – my only contentious point, and just for the sake of argument, is that you are a responsible, informed adult with every right to own an unharmful product which suits your tastes. Who I think this law is trying to dictate to is everyone else in contact with kids who doesn’t share that restraint. Or something. We think you guys are slightly bent down there regardless. Pretty much the only thing regulated in Canada is our SOFTWOOD LUMBER DAMMIT. Also maybe B.C. hookers, Molson beer and Newfoundlanders in general.
    Was that nsfw? My bad.
    Um. /ramble

  18. I don’t believe in government censorship–and I do believe, wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, in parental censorship (that’s one of the things parents are *for*). When my youngest, now 21, wanted to buy Marilyn Manson’s _Mechanical Animals_ CD, at first I said an unequivocal, “no!” Then, cooler heads prevailed, and as a compromise I told her that we could listen to the CD together, and any lyrics I didn’t understand, I could ask her to explain to me. Needless to say, she did NOT listen to the CD with me and never did get to buy it. Fast forward a few years–and imagine her outrage when I bought the CD for myself! As a 40something (and unwilling) divorcee, I found the lyrics to “User Friendly,” in particular, hilarious–and unquestionably inappropriate for a 13-year-old. I remain adamantly opposed to government censorship and adamantly in favor of parental censorship–we’re in charge; we decide. Step up to the plate, people, and be the adult in the relationship with your kids. You give this right over to Big Daddy and there’s no end to what the government will take from you!

  19. There are two reasons why the Oklahoma politicians don’t give a crap about anyone under the age of 18:
    1) They can’t vote, and most of them don’t care enough to do so even if they could, so they’ll forget this crap even happened.
    2) Hello? Theocracy, then? They have to force their religious zealotry and bigotry and smallmindedness on everyone they know.
    That being said, this bill is still a bunch of festering horseshit. Does that mean I can do anything about it? I don’t know. Can I?
    On one hand, I agree with the bill. I don’t think that GTA3 is suitable for anyone under the age of 17 or 18. It’s a total glorification of violence, drugs, and prostitution.
    On the other hand, do these people have the right to tell their constituents what they can or can’t buy? Not really, but that’s kind of what they were elected to do: to make laws to “protect” said constituents.
    There needs to be a serious shakeup in the way government is run, but I think you and your readers know that. This is just one small step for Orwell’s 1984 to hit even closer.

  20. The first thing you have to consider is that Oklahoma is deeply embedded in the Bible belt. This is on both sides of the isle. You talk about legislating morality, where do you think the concept of laws came from?
    All people fear what they don’t understand and general they retreat to the first safe harbor which tends to be religion.

  21. Oklahoma Politicians Decide Some Videogames are Harmful to Minors

    Wil Wheaton begs the question Why is it that Republican lawmakers are gung-ho for personal responsibility and government abstinence when it comes to healthcare, welfare, and minimum-wage laws, but they cant vote aye fast eno…

  22. *sigh* Just another reason I don’t like living in Oklahoma. Even the Democrats here aren’t much better. Like scrambler said, it is a very Christain/morality run state here. In Nov of 04, the anti-gay marriage ammendment passed by like >80%.
    And I speak as a new parent when I say I don’t want the government or anyone else deciding what is decent or good for my daughter. My husband and I will raise her and parent. That is our job.

  23. Obviously, we need parental involvement both in the world of gaming activities and schools. It doesn’t matter how good the school is, if the parents aren’t intertwined and interactive, the child has no chance. I must agree, why legislate morality but completely ignore, condone, allow corporate stealing by overpaid upper management while the company and shareholders are embezzeled, why allow intentional underfunding of promised pension plans knowing they will disappear and have to be bailed out like the savings and loans were, why keep killing 18 year olds because we don’t want world opinion to think we cut and ran while the Shiites don’t like the Kurds who don’t like the Sunnis and all mistreat women and children and kill each other, why allow permanent pensions, percs, lobbyists freely to people (legislators) who profess to doing their job for love of country while they corrupt policy, and the oil companies to make record profits up 75% quarter over quarter over the same oil thats been in the ground and the same equipment pumping it out? I believe there just might be more compelling issues to address than Grand Theft Auto but maybe its just me being a bit skewed in my priorities. The only idiots worse than the ones running policy are the ones who allow it to continue and keep voting them in.

  24. Oklahoma Politicians Decide Some Videogames are “Harmful to Minors”

    Digg: “Why is it that Republican lawmakers are gung-ho for personal responsibility and government abstinence when it comes to healthcare, welfare, and minimum-wage laws, but they can’t vote “aye” fast enough when it comes to intrusively legislating mor…

  25. Ok well I’m a little upset with the whole idea i cant believe poloticians are still continue to control every aspect of a person’s life for the article is wrong Halo and GTA III do not have hardcore pornography who ever wrote the article is an idiot because they themselves did not play the game find what they claim is in the game which is ridiculous Halo contains ABSOLUTLY no pornography of any kind it is just a violent game in ways and also GTA 3 has some sexual scenes but there is a reason on why to access these scenes you had to put in certain cheat codes which werent easily obtainable this government is going too far i agree with jessika it’s all up to a parent to decide if their children are allowed to play those sort of games last year when I purchased the video game FABLE I had to go get my older brother because i was only 17 at the time but the video game was labled with a MA rating which state that its for people of ages 17+ but i still was not allowed to buy it .The game turned out to be a descent game their were few obscenities which the characters could do but not anything that people dont do in real life … I believe religion should have nothing to do with what happens these days in social life i dont understand how they can retreat to religion when the bible says nothing exclusively about video games..why?… because the bible is outdated and the morals that people had then shouldn’t apply now and most dont i dont see fathers selling thier daughters to people which the bible allows ,why? because morals change and just because we have some old fashion politicians doesnt mean we should allow them to shape our society because they’re too ignorant to see that the world has changed …so they try to set laws to keep the society from changing ….to try to keep control!!! they are afraid of losing control!!!

  26. I don’t agree on principle with the government trying to do the job of parents (thereby letting parents off the hook for not paying attention to what their kids are playing/watching/doing and discussing it with them), but on the other hand, what’s the point of a ratings system if it’s not enforced. Those games are rated M or AO for good reason (I love ‘em, but I’m 30!) and shouldn’t be sold to minors anyway. But if there are no consequences for store owners, why wouldn’t they pass up the chance to make a buck?

  27. Okay, I really hate to post three times but THIS ISN’T A “RELIGIOUS” ISSUE (entirely). Similar laws have been discussed and even passed outside the bible belt, and outside of the USA, for a few years now. Yes, for that particular situation, I imagine their religious views probably play a role (and believe me I hate theocracy [right word?] just as much as the rest of you), but this is largely (or I’d like to think it is largely) based off scientific research that shows games with high amounts of violence can harm people, especially kids. Craig Anderson especially has been highly involved with the federal government and the Surgeon General to educate them about media violence.
    [I know, I’m idealistic. It’s largely discussed by governments for PR and public pressure, but really the science is there.]
    And I agree, it’d be great if the parents were involved and controlled what their children played. (See earlier posts about that.) Sorry again for posting so much, but this issue is very important to me.

  28. I am a very conservative, right-wing, fundamentalist, Jesus follower. Obviously I don’t agree with you very often on politics. However you are absolutely right on this one. It is my job as a parent to provide and protect for my children not the governments. I am angered and even saddened by this type of political posturing by politicians of all types.

  29. Dave, I will remind you that over the last 20 years, violent crime among teenagers has dropped significantly, lending no support to the preposition that violent video games lead directly to violent behavior. I haven’t got a direct source on this figure, but it’s one that PC GAMER regularly quotes, so I’m sure it’s attestable.
    Violence has always been there for children to be exposed to, whether in the form of comics, movies, books, or video games. There is no discerning between the effects different types of violent media may have on children. Some people are simply more violent than others, and will drift towards violent media naturally. Others, including most girls, detest violence and would rather not be exposed to it.
    If this hypothesis is true, then the task at hand would be identifying those who are more prone to violent tendencies and making sure they learn at an early age how to control those tendencies, or at least learn the consequences of violence. This is a monumental task to say the least (think of all the murderers in prison who are currently not cured of this).
    The fact of the matter is, banning violent video games for all children will be as effective at fighting violence as banning all fast food for overweight people will be at fighting obesity.

  30. But this is NOT a Republican problem. This is an any politician trying to make themselves seem morally upright problem. Hillary Clinton is very outspoken on this issue and if you recal, Tipper Gore was perhaps the biggest voice int he old PMRC music censorship issues of the 80’s.
    yes, it angers me greatly, but this is one of those issues where the corruption/stupidity is really bipartisan.

  31. Well, I for one would rather US ratings systems condoned a little less violence and a little more sexuality–more like the UK standards I’m aware of.
    I agree that there’s a disconnect between the game and the movie standards, but that doesn’t necessarily make the gaming-related law stupid. Just not the whole story.
    It’s pandering too, I’m sure.

  32. Stegg, I’ll respond to your comment. The PC GAMER statistic…..ehhh…..a little self-serving, I’d wager. Kinda like Big Honkin’ Barrels of Oil Weekly quoting a statistic saying cars are good for the environment.
    That’s not to say I don’t value your point, but statistics as a rule are flawed. Different studies tend to get different results. More specifically to this issue, crime statistics are a result of reported crime. I doubt a lot of Bloods roll up to the police station to file a complaint after a Crip shoots at him. And others might fear retaliation and reprisal.
    But I think we’re getting a bit off topic. Here are my views in a nutshell:
    1. Parents /should/ be responsible for parenting.
    2. Businesses /should not/ rent/sell mature themed games/movies/etc to young people. There should be real consequences if they do, preferably by way of steep fines.
    3. Criminal behaviour simulators (i.e. GTA3, 25 to Life) should be banned. But that’s just me. I don’t think of shooting cops and curbing pedestrians for crack money is entertainment.
    Undoutedly, the argument will surface that the government should not legislate morality or intrude in the lives of it’s citizens. A child pornographer might make the same argument.
    “But Dave, that’s totally a separate issue. We have child pornography laws to protect the children.”
    I think violent media should be regulated for the very same reason.
    “But Dave, the game is rated Mature. The kid shouldn’t be playing it anyway.”
    You’re right. They shouldn’t. But they are. Unfortunately, people enjoy their vices too much, so they throw up their hands and say, “Not my problem…I don’t let MY kids play it…”
    This issue is definitely multiple shades of grey. It’s the context of the games that I think is important.
    And more weight being given to the “M” on the cover.
    Just my $0.02 CDN.

  33. Dave, I’ll respond to your comment. The statistics in question are from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/viort.htm
    not from PC GAMER.
    I do agree with you that Parents should be responsible for their children. Same goes for businesses – they should not sell to those under the age required.
    Comparing child pornography to violent video games is going a bit overboard, don’t you think?
    I’m not here to attack you, I’m just stunned you would make a comparision like that.
    How long have teenagers been able to get hold of alcohol, illegal drugs, smoke ciggarettes, look at pornography? If there was a time when that didn’t happen, well, I’m sure its well before yours, or my time.
    There are two equal sides to the argument…
    Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. I would get a kick out of playing a game where you have to cut open womens stomaches – rip out their unborn fetuses then eat them to gain special abilities. The reason I would have no problem doing this is, games and real life are two completely separate things to me. I like to do things in games I would never dream of doing in real life.
    I’ve seen a lot of people make comments comparing all the death shown on the news, which is considered socially acceptable.
    Games are not the only things which can affect a childs behaviour. Children and teenagers obsorb everything around them..Growing up in a rough neighbourhood with harsh parents could do just as much wrong (in societies eyes) to their child’s behaviour than playing a few games.
    Did you ever play cops and robbers? Where one plays the cop, and runs around with a gun, while the other friend (a robber) tries to steal something from their base, without getting shot, or he could take the cop out.
    The fact is, violence is part of human nature. Wouldn’t you rather people get their frustration out on lifeless sprites than real human beings or animals?
    Everything we do affects us in some way or another, whether that be watching the news, playing cops and robbers or playing violent games. Do you remember the TV show power rangers? It was banned because children were acting out all the moves done. My point is, games are only one tiny portion of the entire spectrum of information and interaction we’re exposed to in our lives.
    For every child that violent games affect so negatively that he would consider going on a shooting spree, there must be another million who never even consider it.
    What about bullying in schools?
    Our world has a lot of problems, games just happen to be in the publics eye at the moment as a large cause for violence. In ten years, who knows what will be the current cause for alarm.
    Hope a few people got something from this post.

  34. Thanks, Snoops. You make a good argument.
    The “child pornography” reference was made, not because I equate violent video games with child pornography, but because many people commenting here seemed to be saying that government should NEVER legislate morality. If that’s the case, in my mind, that would make them pro-kiddie porn. Or anything for that matter. What are laws if not checks and balances on behaviour we find morally inappropriate in a civilized society?
    I’ve mentioned Dave Grossman who has done research on the subject. There is a distinction he makes between games where you kill “monsters” and ones where you kill people. The context of the game is also important. His main argument is that these types of games serve as a type of operant conditioning. It won’t necessarily make someone go out and do something, but it removes the barriers that are naturally coded in us, much like they do with soldiers. It doesn’t make someone kill, but it makes them able to kill if put in the right environment/circumstances.
    And I agree with you in that violence is part of our nature, and stated before I don’t have a problem with violent games (with a few exceptions).
    Hopefully that clarifies my point, and we don’t have to subject Wil to any more soapbox dialogues. ;)

  35. ok well i believe that you’re a little off there on saying that video games allows us to be able to kill in the right situation because last I checked i’ve never been a tad bit violent in my entire life and I have always been exposed to violent video games to tell you the truth i love them because they do keep me from becoming violent. Why because whenever i get angered at something i get into a game and shoot things something that i can do in a game but not in real life not matter the situation i know many many people who play violent video games none of whom get violent unless it is absolutly necessary and only in self defense…the whole message by snoops hit the target on how many people are actually affected negatively by videogames I ….as for Dave i dont think there are any barriers encoded in us naturally we are told what is wrong and right our parents code these barriers in us as we grow up and if we have bad parents who dont put up these barriers or place them loosely I believe that is when you have youths who would be affected by these games also back to a previous comment that teens get alcohol and drugs these too can affect how they percieve the game and how they react to whats put in front of them …

  36. I’m glad to see so many people who care about this topic, whatever their opinion is, and especially that we agree in personal and parental responsibility. That’s what is most important (in my opinion).
    And Dave has given an excellent summary of the research. Media violence just helps wire the brain to interpret aggressive stuff more quickly and easily. Media violence doesn’t necessarily make you more aggressive as we tend to think of it, just more likely to act in that way in the right conditions. And it doesn’t mean you’ll go and actually kill someone, but maybe you might get into a fight that you otherwise wouldn’t, or something smaller like that. Your real life reactions of course depend on lots of things, and we don’t know a lot about that yet (that I’m aware of).
    And, there IS longitudinal research that shows media violence, regardless of a lot of other factors that affect kids becoming aggressive, does increase aggression from childhood into adulthood.
    And, our concern is like that of smoking and alcohol, it’s a health issue, NOT a morality issue (although that certainly is involved in the whole debate). That’s why some people think laws or guidelines are important. (See my previous posts for my own recommendations.)
    …one big problem in this whole issue is that media itself, depending on what its stakes are, tends to polarize the debate as black or white (e.g., it does or doesn’t affect people), when really the story is more complicated, and there’s actually a lot of agreement on both sides of the debate. …like they tend to do with ANY issue.

  37. Having grown up mostly in Oklahoma, I have to say I’m not surprised by this. This is the state where tattoing and the sale of tattoo paraphernalia (including magazines) is illegal. God am I glad I got out!!!

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