Pennsylvania Actually Realizes That Video Game Legislation Is A Bad Idea

from the well,-that's-a-first dept

We've seen so many states with grandstanding politicians trying to ban the sale of certain video games to kids -- despite the fact that every single law that's been passed along those lines in the US has been thrown out as unconstitutional. In the end, politicians know this -- yet they still keep pushing for such laws, so that, come election time, they can make a false claim in their campaign ads about how they "protected the children." The truth is, all they really did, was waste taxpayer money on a lawsuit that was a clear loss from the beginning. That's why it's great to finally see one state at least investigate the issue a bit, with a Pennsylvania task force quite clearly telling state legislators that such a video game sales law is a bad idea. Instead, the task force suggests that, if the legislature really wants to do something, it could fund more research into the impact of video games on kids, or more reasonably, it could fund more educational programs, to discuss the impact of video games. So, now the question is whether or not politicians in Pennsylvania will heed this advice... or if they'll still push forward on a plan to waste taxpayer money?


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  1.  
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    Pa Resident, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 9:18am

    Yay for PA!

     

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  2.  
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    Forge, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 9:49am

    Another PA resident:

    As another resident of the late state of Taxsylvania, I assure you we DO want them wasting our tax dollars on frivolous crap like this. If they stop, we all run in fear because they're up to REAL trouble.

    Which is worse, an incompetent lawmaker who wastes all your money or a corrupt lawmaker who wastes all your rights?

     

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  3.  
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    John, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 11:58am

    To answer your question...

    or if they'll still push forward on a plan to waste taxpayer money?
    Of course they'll still push forward on a plan to waste more taxpayer money. Did you forget that these are lawmakers who are out to "protect the children"? ;)

    Seriously, though, at the very least, politicians will try to dismiss this study claiming it was funded by the gaming industry. At worst, the politicians will claim the study isn't out to "protect the children" and by twisting the data, they'll claim the study somehow *wants* violent video games to get into the hands of innocent children. Obviously, that's not the case at all, but how many people will actually question a politician's stump-speech or campaign promises?

     

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    robert, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Violent Video Games

    Why was it a waste to try to protect children? Those that believe it isn't the video game's fault for violent behavior have their opinion, and cite studies that support their point of view. However isn't there just as many studies contrary to your opinion? You're only supporting studies that support your opinion anyways, so really you're just trying to validate your opinion by citing something, even though your opinion would be the same regardless of a study.

    We make laws to protect children all the time...i.e. safety belt and safety seat laws, smoking, drinking, porn. Europeans will tell you our porn laws are too strict.
    Violent video games may not affect all children or people, but you're an idiot if you believe that all children are immune to the influence of things such as tv,video games, and music. If you conclude, that some kids are influenced, then you should be able to understand the attempt to apply further regulations.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Violent Video Games

    Anti-Violet video game laws have already been smacked down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment. To try and pass a law that has already been determined to be unconstitutional is most definitely a waist of money.

    "If you conclude, that some kids are influenced, then you should be able to understand the attempt to apply further regulations."

    Some children are influenced by violence on TV. That has been "proven" just as much as the influence of violent video games. Why aren't there any people who are trying to ban that?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Violent Video Games

    I think that you've fallen victim to a standard argument/reason used by advocacy groups, that it's the government's job to protect our children from any and everything that may harm them. While I agree that children should be protected, I cannot believe that government is best-suited to provide that protection. A bit personal involvement in education, frank discussion, and oversight on the dangers you mention in your first paragraph will not only keep kids safer, but will realistically make any government intervention needless.

    I am, and will continue to be, a big fan of parents doing what is needed to safeguard their kids instead of shunting that responsibility off to some governmental agency. Parenting, after all, doesn't require taxpayer dollars to fund, is infintely adjustable to whatever the crisis at hand may be, and, let's face it here, is each parent's job. I know that it's easier to be your child's friend than to be their parent, but if we put the responsibility for child-rearing in the hands of elected officials, it just makes it that much easier to not take an active role in the shaping of the next generation.

    I don't believe that anyone would say that "all children are immune to the influence of such things as tv, video games, and music", and to imply that seems a bit silly. It's amazing the benefits that can be reaped from taking an active role in the lives of children, both from a protective and an enriching standpoint. Don't ask the government to do a job that we should each be willing and able to perform ourselves, and if you refuse to do your job, don't look to blame others for your own shortcomings.

     

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  7.  
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    Doug, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Violent Video Games

    Sadly, almost every example you gave can serve as an example of an instance where government intervention regularly fails. You illustrate the futility of government intervention yourself, else we'd be living in a world where no minor smokes, drinks, rides in a car without a seatbelt, or does anything illegal.

    My congressman wasn't present for the conception or birth of my daughter, so it's hard to see how he/she can genuinely give a tinker's damn about them until they reach voting age, or in a year when her parents themselves will be voting. I, on the other hand, love my kid, and am willing to do whatever is needed at any time to make sure she's aware of the choices she will make, and their impact. Will I be perfect in this? Doubtful, but my oversight is better than government oversight any day of the week.

    Maybe my Libertarian is showing, but there are precious few things that the government can do to regulate my life that I can't do better on my own.

     

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    Mike (profile), Dec 17th, 2008 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Violent Video Games

    Why was it a waste to try to protect children? Those that believe it isn't the video game's fault for violent behavior have their opinion, and cite studies that support their point of view. However isn't there just as many studies contrary to your opinion? You're only supporting studies that support your opinion anyways, so really you're just trying to validate your opinion by citing something, even though your opinion would be the same regardless of a study.

    Not so. We've looked into most of the studies that claim to show that violent video games lead to violence, and none of them actually do. The methodology on all of them seem to be quite problematic and don't actually show what they claim to show.

    We make laws to protect children all the time...i.e. safety belt and safety seat laws, smoking, drinking, porn.

    Do we need to explain the First Amendment to you?

    Violent video games may not affect all children or people, but you're an idiot if you believe that all children are immune to the influence of things such as tv,video games, and music

    Idiot, huh?

    Can you point me to a single point where we ever said that kids are "immune" to such influences? We never did. What we said was that there are no studies that show the influence is particularly harmful.

    If you conclude, that some kids are influenced, then you should be able to understand the attempt to apply further regulations.

    And if you understood the First Amendment, you should also be able to understand why such regulations are unconstitutional. Luckily, the courts do seem to understand it.

     

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  9.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Violent Video Games

    No more complex proteins for you. Ever.

    Because infants can't process them. It makes them sick.

    Also, solid foods and sex.

    WE MUST PROTECT THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  10.  
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    Mark Regan, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 7:30pm

    I Know What Kind of Business I Need To Get Into In Pennsylvania

    Those legislators and the folks who vote for them are GENIUSES. I think I'll open up a business selling Tsunami Insurance in Pennsylvania. With that many idiots in one state, I would make a fortune.

     

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  11.  
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    Mark Regan, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 7:36pm

    Where About the Parents?

    Don't Pennsylvania parents have anything to say about all this?

    When MY children were small, I caught them watching MTV after I had told them not to. Suddenly, after my claw hammer broke out the TV screen, they had no more television to watch.

    To this day, they do not watch MTV or allow their children to watch either.

    Maybe if more parents STOPPED BUYING the video games or stopped their children from playing them, it would not be a problem anymore.

    Who runs a family nowdays? The parents? Or the children? Or the government?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Re: I Know What Kind of Business I Need To Get Into In Pennsylvania

    You're so smart it scares me. No really, scary.

     

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