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DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the they-might-make-mayors-smoke-crack dept.

Censorship 578

DeathPooky writes "As a part of an effort to continue a reduction in crime in the nation's former murder capital, DC leaders are trying to pass a law banning the sale of mature video games to minors - along with harsh penalties to enforce the law. According to the article, 'A store that violates the law could lose its business license and face a fine of as much as $10,000.' This law mimics other such bans proposed in Virginia and Maryland. I can already feel the chilling effects from here."

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581528)

Damn shit first post

Re:first (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581680)

Fucking well done, asshole.

Have a nice die.

Not enforceable and here's why. (5, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581529)

The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle.

And who is defining what is mature content?

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (4, Informative)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581546)

The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle. Ask for ID. There's no internet involved here. And who is defining what is mature content? The ESRB. Same as always. =)

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581547)

The anonymity is about to end. Prepare for closed, DRM enabled net hardware and licensed OS software (OSS will become illegal). It is coming and I am a small cog in the machine helping it to become a reality.

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (0, Flamebait)

palion (172285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581562)

Are you!

Tell us please!

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581633)

I can't, but I'll give you a hint: what do you think .NET is for and why Microsoft eventually got only a slap on the wrist from the US government?

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581731)

ok heres my credit card to buy teh game with,

this is my password with my birthdate on it

here is my govement issued ID card with my birthdate and photo.

Thanks for my game.

Yes you CAN fake them, but most stores DO know the difference.

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (4, Insightful)

jrockway (229604) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581564)

If it's illegal to buy it, I guess we'll have to just download the games for free.

If that's what they want, then fine. No qualms here.

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (4, Informative)

RocketRainbow (750071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581570)

In Australia it is perfectly well enforced.

The definition of mature content is done by the "office of film and literature classification" guys. These people screen all movies, and many magazines, books and games, to classify literature. Our movies all say things on them like:
"drug themes" "sex themes" "sex references" "violence" "drug references"
Then there's a rating: C G PG M R X

If you try to sell a violent video game you are likely to get reported and instantly your video game has to be reviewed before it can be sold.

If it's a bit violent (like Duke Nukem or Doom or whatever the kids play nowadays) it's likely to be slapped with M which means you should be 15 to buy it and in practice, the shopkeep won't sell it to an 8 year old. If it's quite violent (particularly if it has a real aspect to it) then it may be marked R and you have to prove you're 18.

This isn't particularly hard, and there's no invasion of privacy. Unless you think that showing a proof of age is invasion of privacy, in which case I guess you don't go to many swank bars...?

Buying off the Internet (2, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581607)

How exactly do they check to see the age of someone buying off the Internet? And before someone says something like, "How do you expect a kid to buy it off the Net without a credit card?", there are gift cards that are easy to get.

Re:Buying off the Internet (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581659)

In that case I would hope it would be down to the customer to prove that they are legally allowed to purchase the game in question, just like in an off-license of a pub it's down to the customer to prove their age should the staff suspect they are under the legal age limit.

Re:Buying off the Internet (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581675)

Not to mention freely-available games.

Re:Buying off the Internet (1)

RocketRainbow (750071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581703)

It's not really an illicit trade. There are plenty of good video games. Tell a kid "you can't have X but have any of A, B, C, D, E, or F" then that's usually fine!

But you've got to remember that the current parents don't care much for censorship any more. I have a daughter and my wall and bookshelf have plenty of nudes on them. I don't plan to remove them. If she wants to read pornography... I don't want to censor the net for her. Her dad feels a need to protect her from some of the violence on the net.

Most sales of violent video games are stopped by the Australian censorship law... and that's all you can really hope for.

Re:Buying off the Internet (1)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581741)

Tell a kid "you can't have X but have any of A, B, C, D, E, or F" then that's usually fine!
Now, Johney, you can't press the big red button...

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581704)

ESRB is a voluntary system. There is no mandatory rating.

Nintendo isllustrated this when they thought about making their own rating system for their products.

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (3, Informative)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581716)

Here, read this if you dont beleive me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESRB [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581604)

The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle.

Where do you live where they let minors have credit cards?

Internet sales (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581622)

You don't need a credit card to buy stuff ofg the Internet. There are other non-age related ways. Such as gift cards, Internet based gift certificates, etc.

For example, I believe it was 1999 when PlanetAll gave me an Amazon.com online gift certificate for like $10. No catch either.

Re:Not enforceable and here's why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581738)

And who is defining what is mature content?

That's trivial, the concepts of maturity are already well defined. Any game that's been around for more than 21 years is a mature game. Pacman, for example.

I bought a hard drive and it required a DOB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581749)

If you order by credit card from http://www.secret.net.au/ [secret.net.au] they demand your DOB.. weird if all you are buying is a new hard drive..

Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581534)

First Post!!!!

Why the neo-cons just had to get to Iraq (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581539)

I just realized why: they want to have as meny troops as possible near Israel so that they can help the Chosen People to defeat the armies of Magog. They believe that the end-times are near.

Because crime never existed before video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581541)

Yeah, because all of the crackhead murders spend all day either playing GTA: San Andreas or going on machine gun rampages.

Like porn. (3, Insightful)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581544)

And how is this different, than say, banning the sale of pornography to minors? Why is sex, a pleasant thing, shunned in favour of violence? I'd say it's a measure of a sick society. This is a logical move, though I think it would make more sense to lower the porn buying age.

Re:Like porn. (1, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581556)

Sex, a pleasant thing, yes. But porn cheapens what sex is, and degrades women and men alike. Another measure of a sick society. I'd see it banned, rather than lowering the age to buy it.

Re:Like porn. (1, Offtopic)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581595)

What? Porn is cheap entertainment for the most restricted human instinct. Don't fool yourself with FUD from the religious fundies.

Re:Like porn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581628)

Why the fuck should I care about cheapening and degragadation as long as it is pleasurable?

Every man cheapens and degrades himself when he has to lie through his teeth and spend a lot of money on a woman for sex. People like you don't seem to have a problem with this.

Can we just ban you... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581642)

..you fucking little Hitler.

Re:Like porn. (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581665)

Legal pornography is made by consenting males and females who have no qualms in showing off their activities.

Having worked in call centers as an occupation, I would say these degrade both men and women alike - should call centers be banned for this reason too?

Re:Like porn. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581747)

Oh, get over it. Cheap sex can be fun. Degrading sex can be fun--men and women take turns at degrading each other. Sex is dirty, messy, sticky, and complicated, not the kind of sanctified, sterile experience you want to make it. As long as everything is consensual, let people have their fun in whatever cheap, degrading way they most enjoy.

What should be "banned" is people like you who want to tell everybody else how to behave.

Re:Like porn. (2, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581574)

I agree this makes sense. If you make a game like GTA 3 where as the protaginist you are killing people and dealing with prostitutes, you shouldnt be suprised when peopl try and stop 8 yo kids playing it.
If you don't want people to restrict your game to over 18s, try toning down the over-the-top violence and sexuality, although that requires some decent game design which is where most big develoeprs fail.

Re:Like porn. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581605)

Why should they tone it down? Who is to say what is right or wrong? In some countries stoning a women is perfectly acceptable.

Wrong, yes, but who says what is wrong or right? It is all a human construct. Don't forget that.

Re:Like porn. (-1, Flamebait)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581614)

Our society says it's wrong. Our ideas of right and wrong have been formed through thousands of years of western civilization. If you don't like it, move to Europe. They don't care as much about morals or right vs wrong over there.


Re:Like porn. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581626)

Oh, Europe doesn't have morals or right or wrong? I'm an American, but that is taking it WAY too far.

Just because they dont live next door doesn't mean they are evil. Europeans are cool peeps, you should try meeting one of them sometime.

Thanks for the laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581654)

Ahahaha! Thanks for the laugh.

You got those thousands of years old ideas from us Europeans - filtered, of course, through the narrow puritan mind, which probably explains the false dichotomy/black and white-mentality of some Americans.

Re:Like porn. (0, Flamebait)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581705)

If I had mod points you'd be falling into the karma pit by now.

In Europe I think you'll find we have equal if not more morals than in the states. Right vs wrong is taken just as seriously.

On the other hand, we realise that things like Janet Jackson exposing her breast is technically known as a "cock-up", and don't scream, have fits, bitch about what happens to the children, then sue everyone in sight for loss of earnings due to trauma.

Your thousands of years of Western civilisation are mostly European in origin, remember that. America is not the origin of all things in the world, though it seems to be the end of a lot of them.

Re:Like porn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581748)

Good idea. I for one would welcome a few US-bastardization-of-morality hating overlords moving over here. Would you accept some tight-assed conservatives in return?

It's a question about artistic freedom, not skill. (1)

Sebastian Jansson (823395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581632)

If you don't want people to restrict your game to over 18s, try toning down the over-the-top violence and sexuality, although that requires some decent game design which is where most big develoeprs fail.

I don't like the creators of games to have to "censor" themselves. I can see why some people want to protect their 8 year olds from some violent games, but a 17 year old?

I want the game(movie/musicvideo/book/e.t.c.) as the creator intended it to look, I don't want it to be censored just so it fit in some stupid legislation!

It's not a question about skill on the game-designers behalf, it's a question about freedom for him to include what he thinks makes the game better.

With such legislation the result will be that some games have to take away content that would have enrichened the gamers experience just because they want to reach a wider audience, I see no winner in that. I know I, as a gamer, would be a loser in it.

Re:Like porn. (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581602)

I agree - I just don't see how this can be construed to be a bad thing. Isn't this what "parental guidance" is supposed to entail?

Re:Like porn. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581650)

Remeber zootm, parenting is now the job of the government now. No longer does a parent have to be a parent, big brother will protect your little one now!*

Offer not avaliable to foster children

Re:Like porn. (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581735)

Hahaha, good point.

Seriously though - a lack of age-restriction on purchases somewhat reduces a parent's ability to give their child freedoms, no? Say you want to bring your child up without giving them violent videogames until they're in their teens or whatever - without legislation banning the selling of these to children, you'd have to stop them going to shops to give them this sort of parenting. If you know they can't "under your nose" grab them from shops, you can let them go out.

I'm not from the US, though, so I don't really know the ins and outs of this situation. I don't see why pornography should be different, however.

Re:Like porn. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581640)

I agree. It was in the dark ages that sex was made the evil thing it is today. Sex is the most pleasurable human expirience, yet we shun it by bleeping words and keeping sexual references off TV. I learned about sex when I was around 8-10, and I am not hurt or emotionally harmed because of it. Parents give their children too little credit for their ability to understand things.

So what? (1)

O-SUSHi (820452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581545)

It's illegal to sell alcohol and tobacco products to minors also, it hasn't done very well in stopping anyone. If the kids want it, they'll find someone to get it for them.

Let DC pass their laws, keep the bible folk happy >.>

Re:So what? (1)

errl (43525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581613)

I am pretty sure it at least decreases the amount sold to minors. If something is not as easily accessible, people who do not want it bad enough don't go through the hassle to get it in other ways. At least that has been the case for me and many of my friends in the days we were minors.

Think of the children (4, Insightful)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581559)

for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy pornography, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy cigarettes, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy alcohol, we shouldn't allow them to go to stores and buy video games

Yes we really should apply the same rules to a (fun) poison and a carcinogen that we do to porn and videogames.

-Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]

Use your head (4, Insightful)

DLR (18892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581624)

Since porn and video games can adversly affect young and impressionable minds, yes. Much like innappropriate use of alcohol can make the body ill, innappropriate use of porn/violent videos/games can make the mind ill. Applying those rules in certain situations is a good thing.

And why do people not see that by restricting the sale to minors returns control to the parents, who's job it is to determine which values they want to pass on to their kids anyway? If the parent wants li'l Johny to have GTA3 then they can go buy it for him. But last time I checked children's "rights" where pretty much restricted anyway (with a few exceptions). That's why these things are rated "Adult" or "Mature", because they are NOT appropriate for minors.

Re:Use your head (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581661)

A children should choose his own beliefs, and not have them forced on him. Pitty those who are so insecure in their beliefs they must push them on young children, because without that, the child will see the truth.

Re:Think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581643)

>>>for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy pornography, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy cigarettes, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy alcohol, we shouldn't allow them to go to stores and buy video games

I hit all of those on one very memorable christmas day.

Violence and games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581565)

Movies that depict grotesque violence are also not allowed to be sold to minors. I know someone who once thought their child would be too young to really understand what was happening in teh move Alien and let him watch it with him. He may not of understood it, but it still scared the shit out him, and he had nightmares about for a few months afterwards.

Why should the sale of games not be restricted? This isn't censorship in the sense of preventing free speech, it's merely extending common sense -- not exposing children to disturbing scenes -- to law.

Re:Violence and games (1)

shadowzero313 (827228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581646)

While I agree that law needs more common sense, parents also need to step up and make sure their kids can handle what they are playing. If they want to play a mature rated game when they're 13, check it out first. Yeah, a law enforcing this would help, but it's easily circumvented. In Washington State, we have a fun law banning sale of games with cop violence (GTA) to minors. I'm 17, 18 in a month, I went to Gamecrazy to buy GTA:SA for my friend, they said no. Then we went to EB across town. They sold it to me no problem. Most stores do not give a damn who they sell what game to, as long as they make the sale and hopefully get return business. And if you manage to get 100% conformance for all of the stores that would fall under the law, you can just buy whatever game or movie online, and have no worries about getting what you want. Laws like these are definately a step in the right direction, but the absolute best way to keep kids from getting games we don't think they're ready for is to make sure that the parents are involved. I also think that there needs to be more warnings on the front ESRB box, because even though, say, GTA and resident evil 4 are both rated mature, it's totally different reasons why. GTA is mature due to the themes and language, RE4 is mature because it can be very scary, and looks much, much more realistic than GTA. If I had a kid, I'd be more worried about him watching/playing RE4 or doom3 than GTA or similar games, due to how much more realistic they are. A run-and-gun romp combined with more swearing than any 5 rap albums doesn't == mature in my standards. Anyway, my two cents there.

Oh, and Alien is one of the best scary movies I've ever seen.

This is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581566)

it will mean parents will be able to buy the game, screen it, and then decide if it is suitable for their kids.

This is better than having kids buying games that their parents wont know they are being exposed to.

ESRB anyone? (1)

Dragon Rojo (843344) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581578)

banning the sale of mature video games to minors

Wasn't this the original pruporse of the ESRB clasification?

Not feeling it here (1)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581580)

"...I can already feel the chilling effects from here."

That's funny, because I'm not feeling the chilling effects from here in Minnesota. But that might be because we are having a meteorological heat warm at the moment.


DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors (3, Interesting)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581584)

It is fitting that the locality whose residents enjoy the least personal freedom is none other than our nation's capital. Corrupt city officials, extortionate taxes, draconian laws, ubiquitous crime, militarized police--you suck balls, D.C. Only your museums redeem you.

(flame on)

Downloading (3, Insightful)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581589)

Do they think this means ANYTHING? My younger friends just DOWNLOAD the games their mom wont let them play, or I burn a copy for them. I am more than happy to free them from the ignorance of their parents.

This is all a political stunt with no thought behind it.

Re:Downloading (1)

Richie1984 (841487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581611)

This is all a political stunt with no thought behind it.

That may be the case, but the other possibility is that lawmakers just aren't very knowledgable about technology. They may not know how simple it is to just download a game and burn it to CD. So, while they go about making laws which wont really have that great an effect, they not only make themselves look good in the eyes of 'concerned' parents, but they allow the 'problem' to carry on behind closed doors. As far as I'm concerned, they're trying to fix the 'problem' but looking in the wrong place. Good luck to them :)

Re:Downloading (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581625)

Whether it works as well as they want it not the discussion. Whether it's good or not should be the point. And I think this is a good thing.

Re:Downloading (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581662)

I bet you buy cigarettes and alcohol for minors, too. Irresponsible jerk.

Re:Downloading (1)

camcloud1 (758094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581671)

>This is all a political stunt with no thought behind it.

What a ridiculous comment to make!

So what you are saying is the reason porn mags are sold behund the counter or in brown paper bags or the reason you can't buy dildos or XXX videos at Walmart is just so the shopowners look good in the eyes of politicians?

It's called the Law dude!

There are restrictions in place for a reason. Only a 14 year old slashdotting poster who can't get what he wants would say such a thing...


Sorry kid.

Re:Downloading (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581696)

Think for one second. Why can't we buy dildos at walmart? Give me one good reason. No, "it will harm the minds of our young ones!" is not an answer.

This is called critical thinking, and not something they teach you in school =)

Re:Downloading (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581699)

Holden Caulfield, is that you?

The question I have about all these new laws is... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581592)

Who decides what counts as "violent" and "mature"?
If they are accepting the ESRB definitions for Teen and Mature games and stuff, thats great.
But if they are trying to define a new definition for "violent" and "mature" games that is different (perhaps more restrictive) than what the ESRB and the industry define, then I have a big problem with that.

All part of the plan? (1)

flopsy mopsalon (635863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581598)

It is clear that the repressive forces of government are converging on the enjoyments commonly pursued by individuals in their teens and early twenties.

First came the so-called "War" on "Drugs", next was the crackdown on sexual behavior, especially so-called "unsafe sex", now we have a further restriction of "immoral content" in the media and this restriction of videogame sales.

It becomes obvious to any indivudual with two brain cells to rub together that the intent here is to prevent young people from finding any vent for their sexual urges and day-to-day frustration, with the result that they will be tempted to join the military in search of sex, debauchery and adventure, as they did in the time of Napoleon.

Thus we can see how the state plans to feed the war machine for its upcoming wars on Iran and other so-called "Axis of Evil" nations as well as lessening the population burden so that "Social Security Reform" will be successful. Any decent citizen should be shocked and appalled. I for one plan to vote Green next election.

Re:All part of the plan? (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581612)

Well, the safe sex "war" is good, as long as they teach about SAFE sex, and not telling people it's bad.

Hell, even here in california they don't teach proper safe sex, just that it's evil and even if you use a condom you will get STD's that will ruin the rest of your life.

Re:All part of the plan? (1)

Richie1984 (841487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581634)

Personally, I dont believe that a 'crackdown' on drugs, unsafe sex, and selling violent games to younger children is a plot to drive more people to the army. I think it's more likely that lawmakers and politicians just want to impose their own morality onto the lives of others? That's not to say I agree or disagree with these 'crackdowns', just that I'm not sure I agree with your view of the motive behind them.

Re:All part of the plan? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581743)

Of course you don't agree with the parent post. You have more than two brain cells being rubbed together.

It's about parents (2, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581599)

I can already feel the chilling effects from here.

What chilling effects? That kids won't be able to buy video games that have too much violence in them? I don't see any issue with this. We should be heralding this as good. The worst thing that will happen is that a kid who wants a game is going to have to run it past mom and dad first. If they don't think he should have it, then so be it. That's what parenting is all about. This is a GOOD thing.

Which, also is why there are age limits on other things, for the most part. Parents are supposed to decide what is ok for their kids. If they don't want you to have alcohol, you can't get around them and go get it yourself. I think this is good.

Re:It's about parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581693)

Here's a chilling effect straight from tobacco and alcohol: the parent gets fined and/or thrown in jail for buying a violent video game for their kid. There may be no getting around it unless you pull up some pesky warez site.

Re:It's about parents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581709)

>If they don't want you to have alcohol, you can't get around them and go get it yourself.

You forget, we live in NannyLand now - even if a parent didn't MIND their child having a glass of wine with a meal, that would leave them open to prosecution by the state. The state has become the parent.

And this isn't even to mention that the "child" in question could be 20 years old.

If it's rated mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581600)

If something is rated mature it _should_ be forbiden to kids. Of course it won't change anything for real. I'm sure everyone had the first cigarrette, the first hangover and watched porn for the first time while still underage. The kids will find their alternatives.

Not the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581601)

You know, I don't think that it's violent games that are the problem. Don't get me wrong, unlike most /.ers, I DO think that playing violent games can have some impact on a person. It's not the same as a movie, in games you're a participant chosing your actions. In movies your just a witness. Still, the problem is with society. How about all the crappy parents who let their kids do drugs and join gangs? Who let the television and games raise their children? And most of all, the fact that a lot of parents today don't punish their children.
Seriously, when I was a kid, if I did something wrong I got spanked. Although it didn't bother me much, subconsiously it detered me from doing the same thing again. All these "newage" parents say spanking children is wrong, it spreads violence, etc. But if thats so, then why (with the dismise of capital punishmet) have things like the amount of teens in gangs done nothing but go up? And you can't say it isn't new, in the - for example - 50's there were gangs and organized crime, but that was the business of men, not boys.
To raise good children do these things:
1. Take interest in and actually parent your children.
2. Kick their ass if they do crap. It won't screw them up if done in moderation (E.G. do it for punishment, not because you're a child abuser), and they might actually have some respect for authority.

Re:Not the problem... (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581685)

You forgot step three: take them out of the government schools that turn them into anti-intellectual vulgarians, regardless of the parents' good intentions.

Re:Not the problem... (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581694)

I would have to disagree with you as to games impacting your behavior, I'm sure that what you were alluding to.

I have been playing 'violent' video games I was in 2-3rd grade. I'm 21 now, have a wife, a 8 month old dauther, stable job as a programmer for a very successful company. I am also, one of the most passive, non-violent people you'll ever meet.

The games I've played, in order. Note that these were relatively new titles when I played them:
Duke Nukem: Shrapnel City
Wolfenstein 3D
Duke Nukem
--- This is where I became an "Adult" --

Children are products of their parents, plain and simple.

We've got this sort of law in germany (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581619)

While it's not vey difficult for a minor to get access to a game like Doom 3 (usually via a pirate-, errm, terrorist-homicidal-maniac-copy), it's flat-out illegal to sell him the game or advertise it openly. The law is a good thing actually. Shure we've got 14 years olds playing Doom 3 here too, but it's common ground that these games aren't for kids and grown ups are forced to look at what their children buy if it's a game that only grown ups can legally purchase.

Still better than the Aussie system! (5, Informative)

m00j (801234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581621)

Here in Australia the office of film and literature does games as well. Unfortunately they can't get it out of their heads that games are played by people other than kids.

We have a rating system of:
C - Children
G - General Exhibition
PG - Parental Guidance
M - Mature Audiences Recommended
MA - Mature Audiences Only (15+ only)
AV - Adult Violence (mainly used for TV)
R - 18+ only
X = 18+, pr0n

Only problem is there is no R rating (or AV or X for that matter) for games. This means games like Manhunt and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude get banned from Australia! Heck, even GTA3 was banned until they removed the ability to pick up hookers and made it harder to run people over.

You might think this would not affect you elsewhere in the world, but really the makers want to reach a broad audience, so a lot of games will already be toned down in the rest of the world just so they can get it into the more stringent parts of the world.

seems like a perfect plan to me... (1)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581627)


Actually, a single elipsis really isnt long enough to contain the sarcasm and bitterness this idea engenders.

but I'm too lazy to make more.

Whereof one cannot speak,
thereof one must remain silent.

Can't buy the game myself? (0, Redundant)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581629)

What's that dad? Can't come to the mall with me to get $new_game? No, don't bother next weekend, I'll just download it.

Re:Can't buy the game myself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581690)

What's that dad? Can't come to the mall with me to get $new_game?

Tsk, tsk. What a terrible father. Should make more time to go with his son to the mall when he wants to go. For shame.

Reduction in crime? (2, Interesting)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581648)

What kind of crime can one enact with a video game, exactly? Are they afraid the kids will sharpen the edges of the install cds and slash throats? Beat their girlfirend with a heavy player's guide? Or are they afraid that the use of the games will train the kids in the pressing buttons in a predefined order skills that are so necessary for the successful terrorist, or, worse, stenographer?

Seriously, though, it can't be the implicit encouragement of the use of violence to solve problems presented in many games. If that were the case, minors would have been banned from watching professional sports long, long ago.

Re:Reduction in crime? (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581673)

Seriously though, I got a serious cut when I was using a bunch of old cds with my friends as frisbees. CD's crack into VERY sharp, jaged pieces. They are much more dangerous then the game on them. GTA doesn't require a bandage and for me to apply pressure.

I'm not sure how it goes in the US (1)

camcloud1 (758094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581649)

But in Australia video games are given a rating (M15 / 18) just like movies. They are rated in the same view as movies by the same relevant government body. Now I'm not sure how well this is enforced but I can't see the local Kmart handing over a copy of Vice City to a twelve year old. There are huge fines for the store owner for violating this law.

Now my question is isn't this the same kind of thing? It's just not healthy for minors to be exposed to some of the content on these games. They simply don't have the life experience to mentally digest what they see. Now I love gaming as much as the next guy but even I think a line has to be drawn somewhere. And if it isn't enforced with hugh penalites then there is no point in having the law in the first place.

seriously this problem (1)

pinky99 (741036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581652)

consists of two problems:

- is it okay to ban mature content for immature people: who decides why someone/something is mature/immature?

- is it reasonable, to make a law, that can't be enforced at all (broadband internet copies of games e.g.)? Is something more moral, when you can't fight it, don't you always have to fight immoral/bad/injust situations, even if it doesn't have a effect?

I don't know either...

Why always chilling? (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581653)

Why does every attempt to keep our children from becoming gun-toting, violent wolfpacks gain a instant shouting down from the Slashies? It's probably because most of them will no longer be able to buy Doom3 in DC, isn't it.

There's a big difference between laws that curtail free speech and remove rights from people and laws that protect the citizens from themselves.

Explain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581677)

There's a big difference between laws that curtail free speech and remove rights from people and laws that protect the citizens from themselves.

.. and what is that difference?

Law protecting me from reading an unflattering description of the President? Well that's just protecting me from myself! I don't want to be angry at the President, do I? No, that would be bad. So how about if you "protect me from myself" instead of my facing the world?

Re:Why always chilling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581726)

The best way to protect someone from themselves is education, not taking away freedoms. One aspect of freedom is making mistakes and dealing with the responsibility of your error.

Knowledge is there to protect you from the unintended consequences of your actions. Freedom is there to ensure that someone else has already done the action you're researching so you have the knowledge to predict what will happen.

I'd just get my parents to buy it for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581657)

My parents, however, were sensible and knew I was mature enough to handle these 'violent' games and that I wouldn't go out and stab the next kid that touched my new shiny bike.
However, not all kids are mature enough to handle it, and not all parents are sensible enough to make the right decision for their child.

Point is, you can never completely enforce it, it comes down to the parents in the end.

a little off topic, but... (1)

Bolshoy Pimpovich (846605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581658)

[RANT] It seems to me that everything about computers is becoming more restricted and less interesting... the gov't and ??AA are making the internet turn from fun, orderless anarchy, to something undesireable, organized, and governed by laws which only protect the already wealthy... I can't wait for war to break out on the net... you will be a soldier for one side, or the other. Either you will be governed by the stupid laws which are putting a chokehold on the net, or you will fight for the resistance (freedom forces). There are more people who are not programmed by popular morality than those who will follow blindely.

I keep seeing stories on the net about people who have very little going for them, and still manage to get raped by $big_corp in the courtrooms. There was that one fat kid who put his handle in the blaster... the 83 year old who was killed by the RIAA... I mean... come on! this crap is really bugging me.

when will it all end? Will it end when we finally lose freedom of expression online, and the net is used exclusively by the governments of the world, and by businesses... someone pulled the plug on the net, and a lot of the recreational value is draining fast.[/RANT]

Laughable attempt to reduce crime... (0)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581664)

Funny how Washington DC also has the strictest gun control in the nation - no ownership or carry of handguns, longarms must be stored disassembled in your home. There are some pretty crummy urban areas nearby in Virginia, but crime is much lower there. Virginia is very much a right-to-carry state, with a reasonable process to obtain a concealed-carry license, and an open carry option.

Re:Laughable attempt to reduce crime... (1)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581730)

This one rants right up there w/ midnight basketball.

The UK (1)

payndz (589033) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581669)

This has been how things work in the UK for years with regard to games, just as it does with videos and DVDs, and there's no 'chilling effect' here.

Games can be rated in two ways - there's the voluntary ELSPA/PEGI code, and the statutory BBFC code (the same as is used for movies). If a game contains subject matter that falls into the BBFC's purview ('realistic' violence, sex, language) then it has by law to go through BBFC certification, and selling a game to someone younger than the age rating (12, 15 or 18) is an offence, just as it would be to sell an 18-rated film to a 14-year-old.

While I've got no doubt that there are shops that couldn't give a toss about checking buyers' ages, the major chains do, because they know they'll not only get fined if caught, but they'll get some serious bad publicity from the tabloids. For the most part, the system puts control back in the hands of the parents, where it should be. If little Timmy wants to play San Andreas and Dad's fine with that, then Dad's the one who has to buy it for him. If Dad's not fine with that, then little Timmy's out of luck. (Until he borrows a copy from a mate whose parents did let him play it, but that's a whole different matter...)

It's not censorship, because I can't think of an example where a game company was ordered by the BBFC to cut something from a game (and the BBFC is no longer the draconian nightmare it used to be - films that would in the past have been an 18, heavily cut, or even banned, are now routinely given a 15 rating). It's just a way of pointing out that some things aren't meant for kids, however much disposable income they may have. If the parents disagree with the ratings and are happy to let their kids play the games and watch the DVDs, they can do that.

IMO the US is going down an increasingly authoritarian road, but (to my surprise) I don't see this as a step along it.

War Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581679)

I wondered if the government sponsored war video games will come under this....

I very much doubt it.

You can't cut someone up with an axe but hey, you can shoot as many brown people as you want.

Dumbest thing ever. (1)

Handbrewer (817519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581681)

The banning of video game sales to minors is pretty dumb. The research reports i have read states that it does not make minors more violent. I understand banning the sale of cigarettes to minors, because we are very sure it is harmful. But banning because you have a "gut" feeling it might make people violent is just a scapegoat for the real problem. Social issues etc.

Welcome to America, Censor capital of the Western world: Now Just One step behind China!

Never really understood the fuss (4, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581689)

I don't mean this as a troll (really), but I never understood the fuss over preventing sales of violent video games to minors.

All it does is provide a tool to parents enabling them to throttle the sort of world their child is exposed to. Whether or not you agree that a parent should do this, it's not your decision on the matter. It's the right of that parent to control what their kid has access to.

If a parent wants their kid to have access to that stuff, they just need to be present when the sale happens.

This isn't the government saying what a kid can or can't do, it's only the government helping parents have better control over what their kids can and can't do. It's fundamentally like parental controls on your TV. You want your kid watching the PlayBoy channel, don't lock it. You want your kid playing San Andreas, buy it for him/her.

Enter typical diatribe about "but Billy will just go to Jimmy's house to play it" or "but Susie will just get Janie (/Janie's parents) to buy it for her." Guess what, Billy and Susie aren't allowed over to Jimmy and Janie's house once I (overprotective parent) find out about it.

Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction. If my kid can't, I don't want him or her having access to this stuff. Second, even if my kid is capable of making this distinction, it still presents certain things as acceptable, things like beating hookers, shooting random people on the street, or even just stealing cars. Ok, so as a rational adult you can recognize that these are things which are not valid courses of action. You have a fundamental upbringing that tells you as much though.

Every time the subject of morality comes up on Slashdot (typically someone imposing their morality on someone else), people come out of the woodwork declaring that morality is all just relative. It's environmental. There's no absolute goods, no absolute bads. Please understand what the inevitable conclusion from this is: a child's environment shapes what that child's perception of acceptable behavior is.

Video games like San Andreas glorify a lifestyle that's not one I want my kids growing up believing is an acceptable life path. Whether or not you believe it, psychologists (folks with degrees on this stuff) understand that a growing child is impressionable. Things that are presented as acceptable to them are accepted as acceptable or perhaps even appropriate to them.

Maybe some kids would still turn into serial killers when they grow up, even having grown up in a totally sterile environment. Maybe some kids can consume all of the corruption society can throw at them, and still turn into a nun/priest when they grow up. These children are the exception. I, as a parent, have the right to observe my child's reactions to his or her environment, and tailor the environment my child is exposed to in order that he or she grows up to be a productive member of society, and not the kind of kid who smokes / does drugs / carjacks people. This only enables me to do that to a higher degree. I'm not telling you how to raise your child, buy your child all the corruption you can if that's the decision you make, just let me have control over what sort of corruption my kid gets.

In the end, the only people here who lose any freedom are the under-18 crowd whose parents don't want them having access to this sort of content. This isn't like alcohol where it's illegal to give it to a minor even after purchase, it's just illegal to sell it to a minor.

This doesn't block anyone's right to free speech. It just filters people's (lack of a) right to direct their free speech at minors through those minors' parents.

An analogy to show this makes sense (1)

geldfuss (852162) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581695)

A lot of people seem to be drawing parallels between mature video games and pornography and cigarettes and so on here. Surely a more obvious parallels would be the film industry. Children, in theory, aren't allowed in to adult films, and they're not allowed to buy adult videos. It just seems to make perfect sense to do the same thing with video games, rather than the over-the-top Australian "ban all mature video games completely" model we've got down here.

the difference between this and movies is what? (5, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581706)

sorry, no chilling effect to be seen, there is a rating system for a reason.

Just so you know... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581724)

In the uk we have age ratings on all games, and legal ratings too.

The legal ones only are either OVER 18, or ANYONE, and the other ones are rather like what it sounds like you have, a reccomendation about what age range should play the game.

Im guessing a mature game can still be sold to anyone, so do you have any age limits on the games at all?

Tbh no one under.... 18 should be playing games like manhunt, and simular things.
In the uk our 18 rating is LAW and when selling, the seller should check id of who evers buying the game, sadly however, this never seems to work.

We have had a spite of killings by kids supposidly doing "what they saw in the game" however, i and most people belive this is just an excuse.

However, it does make rise to the question of how a 15yr old was playing a 18 rated game.

I can't believe you don't have this already (2, Informative)

emm-tee (23371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581734)

I'm shocked that a lot of people here seem to think it's okay to sell violent games to children. A lot of games are extremely violent and offensive, and reward indiscriminant violence.

Surely people agree that the same type of ratings should be applied to video games as are applied to videos/films?

In the UK we have the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ [bbfc.co.uk] . If it decides a film/video/game is only suitable for people over a certain age, then it is illegal for a shop to sell it to a person below that age. Other countries have similar systems. There's also a pan-European organisation, http://www.pegi.info/ [pegi.info] , although I don't think it's descisions are legally enforcable.

It's not the game ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581740)

... it's the person playing it. The environment in which the child grows up (parenting, friends, etc.) defines who that child is and much more importantly, how that child shall react to different media content socially rated as "mature" or "adult".

I'm 14, play 18-rated games and watch porn. Do I go around on the streets killing people, drinking and dealing in and consuming inhaled death spells? I do none of these. Do I go around raping girls? I certainly do not. And why is this? Why do I not do as in the films I watch and become a serial killer/rapist, as the government experts so vehemently claim I should?

It is because when I have vilence to unleash, I play a violent game. When I feel like having fun, I watch a horror film. When I have sexual urges, I masturbate while visualising pornographic material.

The problem is in the attitude of the child as far as these different issues are concerned. An easily influencable child shall think killing, drinking and smoking is cool, all this because these kind of things are much too stylised when they are portrayed in films and games. As for porn, well if the male child is too naïve, he shall beleive women are really in such a submissive position, and as such he shall have a lower image of women. But porn can also be a good thing I beleive, particularly because sexually frustrated teenagers can unleash their seuxal desired on their right hand and not traumatise a girl for the rest of her life.

My two cents anyway ...

You guys think that is bad! (1)

the_unknown_soldier (675161) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581746)

The Australian film authority refuses to classify games that it would give an "r" rating. So games like theif, gta etc are not released until the game maker promises to edit out the dirty bits. Thief is still banned here, but I think amongst other things Rockstar took the hookers out of gta3 and vc. It might seem like a horrible thing: but it doesn't really matter. I had the American "uncut" version of gta3 when i was 13! It isn't censorship, It's giving control to parents.
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