Thursday, July 22, 2010

Petitions Across the Nation for Video Game Restrictions

california video game restrictionCalifornia proposed legislation that would put restrictions on the sale of video games to minors, and just recently, eleven more states have band together with California to push for this restriction.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas have all decided to back California’s proposed legislation concerning violent or mature video games. The states are hoping to take the bill all the way to the Supreme Court. Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, is fully supporting the bill because he feels that the video game industry lacks self-regulation. He says, “Protecting children from digital danger requires proactive parents but they need and deserve help. The video game industry should act responsibly and agree to sensible self-imposed restrictions that block children from buying the most violent games. I am calling on the video game industry to follow the leadership of the motion picture industry, which sensibly stops unattended children from viewing violent or graphic movies.”

There already are some precautions that are in place in order to prevent the sale of violent or graphic video games. There are ESRB ratings that give games a letter rating of E- for everyone, T- for teen, and M-for mature. These ratings allow parents to have some idea of the maturity level of the content in the game. There is even a short list on the back of the game’s case of why the content is rated E, T, or M. There is also a corporate law that requires GameStop employees to ID people buying rated M games.

Mature rated games made up a little over 17% of the video game sales from last year. The legislation that California introduced proposes that there be a ban on the sale of certain video games to minors. It’s an attempt to protect kids from games that encourage gamers to commit violent acts of homicide or rape, decapitate people with shovels, burn people alive with gasoline, or urinate on people to make them vomit.

I don’t think that this is a bad idea at all. My only thought is that if a kid wants a certain “restricted” game, they will get it one way or another. It’s really the parents job to monitor what types of games their children are playing, but this legislation could definitely help parents out a little bit, so I hope to see this bill soon become a law.

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