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Digital violence and free speech

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Slaughtering the enemy, killing presidents, having sex with hookers, running over innocent pedestrians, managing all manner of brutal weapons, snapping necks and spilling blood.

Are these actions protected under the bill of rights of all Americans? Do companies have the right to promote these actions under the guise of free speech?

Apparently in the digital world at least we have the right to do these things. Not only are these rights protected but minors are completely free to engage in these acts without question. Games such as Doom 3, Half-Life 2, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas ooze with violence and currently protected and available to minors.

Governor Gary Locke of Washington enacted a law banning the sale of violent games to kids under 17; but the law was put on hold after video game industry attorneys questioned the ruling as a violation of free speech.

In a press conference that featured an annual “report card” from the National Institute on Media and the Family, publishers were given a B-minus for the accuracy of games’ content ratings and retailers were given a D for voluntary enforcement of age-based sales restrictions.

The question is, should video game companies and retailers be forced to limit the sale of violent games to minors or should we leave the monitoring to the parent?

The Christmas season the question is still up in the air… have an opinion?

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  • SFC Ski

    The raising of the child is the responsibility of the parent.

  • http://www.iamrighturpie.blogspot.com/ jadester

    games have ratings, just like films. If parents choose to ignore such ratings then, just like with films, that’s their choice as a parent. They can’t then go and complain about their kid having access to adult-rated content.
    Also, if you can’t distinguish between make-believe (i.e. a game) and real life, then you have serious mental problems that are gonna manifest themselves regardless of whether you play violent computer games or not.
    Finally, there is no current (or past) game that comes even close to simulating real life that lets you get away with such actions. Have you actually played any of the games you mention? obviously not.
    It’s funny, i can still remember when there used to be big outcries over every even just slightly popular horror film when they were released on video. That all petered out, and now the same pass-the-buck-brigade have turned their attentions on videogames. Cos kids’ behaviour is the fault of any and everything except their parents, eh?
    and i can assure you first-person shooter do NOT help you aim real guns. They aren’t even any cop at helping you aim paintball guns.
    They can damage your eyes, they can damage your social life, they can damage your grades (if you get addicted). But they can’t turn you into a psycho.

  • olorin took

    what jadester said. couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • mAtt

    Games are a past-time, not killing simulators. I’ve been playing videogames avidly since the Atari days and not only have I never killed anyone (yet) I’ve never been in a fight or any violent confrontation. Not because the games made me a shut in, but because my paretns aren’t irresponsible asses. I can hardly see how this could be an issue. I just hope this helps Lieberman’s career as much as he seems to hope it will…..ass