Should the government take steps to keep violent video games out of the hands of children?

high court building
high court building

If the political pundits are correct then the recent election was about tossing out the old and the will for less government in people’s lives. I won’t go into all that, but recently video game violence and what should be done about it has once again found its way into politics. It looks as if the Supreme Court might take up a case to decide if the government should be keeping violent video games out of the hands of children.

I thought we already went through this. Let’s be honest, if a kid really wants to play GTA then he or she is going to find a way to get it. We already have warnings and rating and some stores won’t even sell a game if it is too violent. Forget comparing video game violence against all other forms of violence that has been done to death. Let’s face facts here. Either you as a parent can try to raise your child the way you want or you can’t.

It should be enough that you can find out pretty much everything about a game before you buy it. It should be enough that there are age restrictions on the game. It should be enough that there is software and hardware solutions to keep your child from watching or playing what you don’t want them to. If they are still getting their hands on the Mortal Kombat game then maybe it is time to do something that every parent should do, talk to your child.

I don’t mean yell or scold or lecture him and I don’t mean using some technique you saw online or read in a book or saw on television. Don’t try to talk his talk or use “cool speak” or any other such garbage. Keep it clear and simple, but real. If you don’t want your child playing a game explain it with reason and logic. Believe me even today’s kids can understand reason.

Better yet meet them half way. When I was a child I could not see any movie with sex or really bad violence. However, my mother did not keep me from action movies even if it had death because she knew I needed to understand the difference between real and fake as well as limits. She taught me that everyone even her had limits and as we grew more things became available to us if we matured.

This taught me that in time I would see it all and since my mom allowed me a glimpse I wanted to mature so I could see more. At the same time I knew if I disobeyed her it would lead to a setback preventing me from seeing or experiencing even what I was allow to before. This can be applied now. Let you kid play Street Fighter and even Mortal Kombat (within reasonable age limits) then explain why GTA is off the table. Will it always work; will your child always comply? No, but parenting is a work in progress that lasts a long time.

Bottom line is communication and moderation is the key to most things in life. You cannot always just say no, but you can say not now or not too much. Government oversight and protections can be a good thing, but it can also go overboard. I may be a lefty, but I understand the importance of personal responsibility. If we use our heads and think things out then most issues can be resolved. Otherwise we are all just children, waiting for someone to tell us what to do and then it is only a matter of time before we rebel against what we were told.

Let’s take a look at how our panel feels on the question: Should the government take steps to keep violent video games out of the hands of children?

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

No.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

No, of course not. The 1st amendment gives artists the right to create violent content. If the art is unliked it should go un-sold without the need of costly government intervention.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

No, but retailers should, and parents DEFINITELY should.  The problem we’re having is parents who think just because something is called a “game” means it is for kids.  Unfortunately, there is no law against bad parenting.

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

As the mother of an 11-year-old, I monitor what he plays.  We had the discussion when he wanted Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare what the ratings meant.  I simply explained “M is for mature.  You are not that.  Until you are, I will not buy that game for you.”  At the same time, we won’t play those games ourselves in front of him.  Yes, we do own it for the PC.

He also wants to play World of Warcraft with both of us (his dad and I both play).  We have said no, not until he’s old enough and mature enough to play.  We don’t feel he’s mature enough to have his own account.  I don’t feel many of the children under the age of 16 are mature enough to be able to play the game.

Ultimately, it is not the government’s job to be a parent.  It is the parent’s job to be a responsible adult and keep games they deem inappropriate out of the hands of their children.  What’s next?  No song’s on the radio that contain any form of innuendo?  There’s a lot of that out there right now, some very popular songs that pre-teens know and listen to, but don’t understand the meaning of.  Keep government out of it by being a responsible parent.

 

 

 

 

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.