Politicians, Yet Again, Think The Constitution Doesn't Apply To Video Games

from the how-many-times-do-we-have-to-go-through-this dept

Politicians are once again pointing the finger at video game companies for peddling filth, turning kids into sex-crazed violent criminals, generally being a massive danger to society and all that other stuff they like to go on about in the name of “protecting the children”. They’re once again raising the possibility of some sort of ban on selling certain games to minors, despite such laws repeatedly being ruled unconstitutional. In lieu of such a ban, some lawmakers think it would be a great idea for the government to get involved in the video game rating process by forcing it to be more “transparent” and making game publishers submit their games to “independent” outside adjudicators rather than an industry-supported board. Just how independent any such government-mandated group could be is pretty questionable when it would be subject to political whims of lawmakers or government officials. The head of a video game trade group makes the most salient point when he says that without effective parental involvement, any rating or ban will be pointless. So instead of trying to crack down on constitutionally protected free speech, perhaps lawmakers would be better off reinforcing parents’ roles rather than trying to take them over.

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Comments on “Politicians, Yet Again, Think The Constitution Doesn't Apply To Video Games”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: ummmm

Ummmmm, actually, no. They are enforceable by law. You should study up a bit more.

Oh really?

MPAA Ratings Information: “The movie rating system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners to provide parents with advance information on films, enabling the parent to make judgements on movies they want or don’t want their children to see.”

So, uh, sorry. It’s voluntary.

Aaron says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ummmm

Ummmmm, actually, no. They are enforceable by law. You should study up a bit more.

Oh really?

MPAA Ratings Information: “The movie rating system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners to provide parents with advance information on films, enabling the parent to make judgements on movies they want or don’t want their children to see.”

So, uh, sorry. It’s voluntary.

Actually Gomorrah was correct, you are both correct… You Mike are obviously from the US…

Within Australia, it is enforceable by law.

Anonymous Guy from the legal dept. says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ummmm

Actually, most states have laws in place making it enforceable, for the “public good”. I work for a major retail chain, and in most of our locations while there is no police enforcement the parent does have the right to prosecute if an R rated movie or M rated game is sold to a minor, and it happens more often than people think.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 ummmm

LOL!!! IT seems you have the right to sue over anything in this country so the whole sue the store for selling a R movie or M game to a kid even though it’s NOT against the law is nothing new. Remember the woman that made a butt load of money because she sued Mc Donald’s for her own stupidity? She spills hot coffee in her own lap and somehow it’s Mc Donald’s fault.

Ryusuke says:

Re: the 80s

I saw this thing about Superman the other night, and how back in the… 50’s? 40’s? Anyway, they attacked Comic Books the same way, saying those were destroying America’s youths.

Did movies ever go through this kind of treatment? It seems like we’re always trying to blame new media for the troubles of the time.

rijit (profile) says:

parent parents parents

Here we go with the blame the parent thing again. I am sorry but it is no more feasible for me to police my 16 year old every second of the day than it is for anyone to learn the entire Klingon language in a single afternoon. Yes I talk to my kids about their interests, games, movies, etc. I police their lives, make sure they eat, go to school, don’t make bombs or kill people. You want more than that, learn the entire Klingon language in a single afternoon and we will talk.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: parent parents parents

I am sorry but it is no more feasible for me to police my 16 year old every second of the day than it is for anyone to learn the entire Klingon language in a single afternoon.

No one is saying to *police* your kids every second of the day, but to teach them how to deal with the challenges they may face, rather than to shield them from those things.

PlainEnglish says:

Re: Re: parent parents parents

Yeah, like how about teaching them right from wrong, and reality from fiction/simulation.

I’m pretty sure every one of us grew up with violent videogames. I can remember running people down in the streets in GTA and GTA2, I can remember playing Road Rash in the arcade, wasting people in Duke3D, Wolfenstein 3d, Blood, Reloaded, etc.

The list really goes on, and I don’t think the children of today are any more gullable than I was, in fact I figure kids today are far more educated than I was about morality and ethics.

If your child cannot discern between the consequences of real life and the consequences of a virtual/imaginary world, then chances are that your child suffers from much more serious problems than bad taste in video games. If your child is like this then you as a parent have greviously failed at teaching him/her the fundamentals of life.

Politicians want to target these game companies because they know for a fact imposing laws on the distribution of games is clearly not only unconstitutional but for the most part, impossible.

Gee, I wonder how these games are entering the homes? Do you really think parents don’t know their kids play these kinds of games? Everytime I’m in a rental store I see moms following their kids around watching what they pick out, and most of the time it’s “No, that’s too violent” or “What’s that one rated?”. If the parent sees no problem with it then it should be fine, but it’s usually the people who don’t want anyone to play these games that are the ones complaining of violence in video games.

If you don’t want your kid playing a game, that’s your decision as a parent and guardian of that child, and if parents don’t prepare their children to start making those decisions on their own then they’ve already made their choice and as such, will bear the consequences.

Nick says:

Re: parent parents parents

Yes, blame the parents.

No one forced you to have children, you chose to do that. You chose to take on the responsibility of raising a child in a free and open society.

Why should my tax dollars pay federal employees to limit my freedoms in order to protect your child? Why can’t you trust your teenager? What life lessons have you failed to teach them? How and why is this my problem exactly?

Where does your responsibility end and mine begin?

Why did you have children if you felt you couldn’t handle the responsibility on your own?

Trojaneyez says:

Re: Re: parent parents parents

I agree with Nick, parents seem to have issues now a days.. I hate the fact I have to pay out more in tax dollars cause your child is on the lose while your at work, and when your child knocks a girl up (or gets knocked up) and they suck money off the government. Or how about when you ignore you kid when he develops a drug habbit and lands him/her self in rehab that I HAVE TO PAY FOR. and then when your kid becomes a bum and works a low paying job for the rest of his/her life and then has 5 kids that everyone else has to pay for. My parents work the 9-5 job, and i’ve gone from poor to wealthy in the 18 years that I lived with them. So don’t tell me that it depends on income and other BS cause that’s just a bunch of crap… stop going to the bar nightly stop fucking someone else behind your wife/husbands back.. grow the hell up .. /end rant

Count Porkula says:

Re: parent parents parents

WTF does learning Klingon have to do with responsible parenting?

Why don’t you do your damn job as a parent and quit trying to pass your responsibility onto the government. If you’re not up to the job, then don’t have kids.

Christ, its parents like you that are spawning the next generation of Jerry Springer guests.

Techno says:

Re: parent parents parents

you know what forget about the fucking video games and focus on the real issue that creates all other issues poverty And to think we elected these fucktards into office and AND BY THE WAY PARENTS GET INVOLED WITH YOUR KIDS LIFE THATS A LOT EASIER THEN BEING A COMPLETE RULING BODY TALK WITH YOUR FUCKING KIDS AND IF U MUST BATTLE PICK YOUR BATTLES

T says:

Re: parent parents parents

I know for a fact you can’t stop your kids from making bombs or killing.

Few parents aspire to have their kids become killers, oh but count how many there are.

If we as parents give our children the tools to deal with life we have done all we can.

Now please think people, every thing we ever take from youth or put out of reach, those things then become a goal for them. So go get a copy of grand theft auto and play it. Then talk about how cools a game it is (cuz it is) AND HAVE FUN.

I do not believe we will ever live without killers. What did they blame before electricity? The devil must be working, as a game designer is that it? If you want to save the world play a starwars game and become a Jedi

.ppdp.MASTERP says:

Re: Re: parent parents parents

you are wrong about stopping your kids from killing. Look at every killers life. from day 1. they all had an “abnormal” life. whether it abusive or too perfect. its easy to teach your kids morals. actually do it. and dont be afraid to punish your kids.

“Where books are burnt, so is freedom.”

takua108 says:

Exactly. I’ve never heard of a scenario in which a child has snuck away from his parents in order to explicitly play violent videogames in order to orchestrate a mass killing spree. In fact, I’ve never heard of a scenario in which the maniac child’s parents ever even cared that he was playing violent games. I think that if you as a parent put a reasonable amount of effort into watching what your child is playing and teach him or her moral values and such, you child will probably not go around killing people due to videogames.

Ted says:


In my local blockbuster, I can rent:


~Enemy at the Gates

~Fight Club

~Resevior Dogs

but not

~Grand Theft Auto San Andreas


~Halo 2

Braveheart. FREAKING BRAVEHEART. That movie is nothing but Mel Gibson turning big english guys into small chunks of meat, but I can’t pop a few aliens if I want to.

And I have also learned most of written elvish in one afternoon. Much more complex than Klingon might I add.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Re: Truth

Written in Feanorian or in latin charecters?

in the books it is usually published in Latin cahrecters, so that readers can pronounce it, but it technically should be in Feanorian, which would take some effort to learn. Also, I would like to know where you found the complete listing of all elvish (Sindar and Quenya), with every word in it. The one in the Silmarillion is far from complete, although many words are built up from simpler ones (Such as Mordor, etc.)

Anonymous Coward says:

ummm.. yeah i'm going have to ask you..

Why is klingon and elvish even in this conversation??

I personally see nothing wrong with a rating system for games. This was parents or whoever can pick up a box, look at the rating and know if the game is ok to buy.

I think that some stuff should be censored from the younger audiences. However I think that will make it more of a “goal” for them to get their hands on.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

This is sad....

Thing that gets me more is that there are enough people out there that truly want the gov to take over the job of parenting their kids. This is why the politicians are pretending to give a damn about this head up ass issue. If a small number of folks felt this way they wouldn’t even bring it up. Shit if suddenly a large chunk of the voting population felt adults should be allowed to have sex with preteens guess what? there would be some slime ball politicians leading the charge to make it legal. LOL!!! You can not legislate “morality.” The things we think of as moral tend to change over time. It has and always will take good parenting to get well adjusted kids. They will NEVER pass any law that would make the simple selling of a game to a kid a crime. Get real. It’s been tried with music, art, and most other forms of expression. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Those that want this are the very same peopel that forget it the reasons this nation is THE place most people in the world would like to live or immitate. They should shut the hell up and actually do something that I am sure has NEVER crossed their minds. Our nation has a manual(The Constitution) folks! RTFM!!!!

some sort of boxershort perhaps says:

the ratings

to start nearly all censorship is detrimental to culture. on another point the people rating these games are essentially representative of the mindset of the rightwing christ-crusaders that feel that censorship is necessary and that for some ridiculous reason they have the “perfect” moral code and are therefor able to determine whats right for everyone secondly games that have religious or sexual portions are generally rated unfairly games that get an m rating here can often get an equivalent of an e in japan where people are far less uptight about what are non-issues for well adjusted people that can tell reality from fiction and have the very most basic reasoning skills(sorry no citation i cant remember the bame of the game but it has demons mostly) also what is it now 3000000 wing-wangs for saying fuck on the air a little strange? i agree

eeyore says:

Welcome back to the days of the Hays office. People forget that censorship in movies until the 1960s was so bad that even the hint of promiscuity or homosexuality or even simple profanity in a film could prevent it from being distributed in most states if the Hays office refused to approve it. Many films were neutered to appease the mighty hollywood censors and it wasn’t until the 1960s that filmmakers finally stood up to the censors, who then initiated the G-PG-R-X rating code as an alternative.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bah, damn cranky politicians are just mad, because they are not any good at video games or they’re repressing their desire to play them.

My parents bought and allowed me to play “violent” video games in my teens, and I turned out perfectly fine. It’s called discerning the difference between virtual reality and the actual thing. This is what parents should teach.

Peter says:

Its amazing how simplistic some of these people are. You might as well have not typed anything at all, or maybe BLAHR GER BARG GROWR, instead.

“censorship is unamerican” – um, i guess technically, censorship of a private citizen would be “unconstitutional”. But, when was the last time you went before supreme court to argue that one. Gov’t employees and military are exempt, they signed away their bill of rights for the first paycheck.

My favorite is the guy who actually WANTS to be responsible for his children and wishes for non-regulation. priceless.

Its a double edged sword. If we dont regulate, and trust parents to make good judgements for thier children, then we’re being hopelessly idealistic. Suffice it to say parenting skills are not something this nation excels at. Personally, I don’t want your 10 year old playing GTA any more than the gov’t does.

Regulation will limit the rights of the consumer to purchase goods, in an effort to reduce access by minors. Some minors have been shown to be highly influenced by media, not that they act upon such things, but have little ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. All well and good, but still flawed, most parents purchase games for their children. The boxes already ahve big freaking M’s in three places on them. Another one with the words “sponsored by the US gov’t” isn’t going to change shit. Kids still play GTA.

The issues at hand, and the conclusions one can draw are more deeply rooted in education of children as both kids and future parents. But lets face it, how many people did you know in high school that were still just brutally stupid and violent. hoorah for the lowest common denominator, recieving favorable legislation since 1776.

Raiden Gauld says:

Now you know the comments section have gone to sh** if people are bragging about who’s geekier than the other (via Klingon and elvish)…

Parents should be watching what their kids are buying or watching. Plain and simple. Video games don’t make potential rapists and killers (abeit what the media says), especially when parents talk often with their children. You think otherwise? You’re obviously hoping that parenting is a lazy man’s/woman’s job.

Insult you much? It should if you’re one of those “lazy parents”.

Wayne Francis says:

My son was playing GTA at 5 years old. I’m very involved with my sons life in all aspects. He knows about sex from our talks that started when he was about 5. He knew the mechanics of sex by the time he was 7. He is 10 now and we still talk about many things including drugs, sex, violence, morals, etc.

5 years ago many people told me I was a bad parent for letting him play violent games. I told them I was ontop of the issue. After he played the game one day I sat him down and talked to him about the game. His mom and her partner are both police officers. I said something along the lines of

Me “You know this game is very violent. ”

My Son “Ya”

Me “You hit people with baseball bats, cars, shoot them with guns. You even do this to the police.”

My Son “Ya you have to to finish the mission”

Me “You know its not right to do that in the real world….”

son interupts me

My Son “Dad! It’s just a game! It’s not real!”

Enough said. My son is 10 now. Still plays games, Straight A student, minus a B in Japanese. Plays sports including Aussie rules football, tennis, swimming. Is on the debating and chess team. Does tap dancing. Even in the footy games where it can get a bit rough he never looses his temper in a violent manner.

Parenting is the key. You don’t have to be there every second of the day. You bring your child up teaching them what is right and wrong. Involve yourself with their lifes and make yourself approachable and there should no problem for 80% of the chilldren out there. The other 20% probably have some psychological disorder and some of them may need a bit more help depending on the disorder.

Sure rate games. There are bodies to do that now. Sure limit the sale to minors no worries. But if a parent wants to buy a mature rated game for their child then so be it. If they are a bad parent and do that then there is the issue that the parents should be partly responcible for kids actions reguardless.

There is no reason to ban a game unless it oversteps the boundries like promoting pedophilia etc.

We, as a society, accept the media showing murder etc. We’ve drawn the line at pedophilia and I’m happy with that line personally.

reed_nola says:


okay, i was following links and ended up here, but damn, you people get way off the subject.

a rating system will only work if it’s voluntary. to make it a law(if it wasnt unconstitutional) would require police being present or a an electonic means to keep underages kids from buying/renting the game. using police would, usually, mean higher taxes to pay for it. a machine would mean more money needed to expand and buy the equipment. that inturn leads to higher prices for the goods being purchased or rented. are you going to pay it?

parents are always the first line. if they dont show a kid right from wrong at the earilest time, then that kid will have a harder time later in life. hitting a child is never an answer. how would you like it if a person bigger than you hits you for a mistake/doing something wrong? besides, a kid you is hit has a child will, usually, do the same to their child.

i live in a place where it has to be a law or it isnt going to be enforced. that means we have a lot of laws that were knee jerk reactions to a situation that arose. it also means that it’s easier to ignore the law.

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