February 26, 2009

Video Games and Kids: a brief discussion

Recently Utah has been on the verge of passing a law that would extend their Truth in Advertising law, which would punish retailers that would sell M rated or higher games to minors if they advertised that they would not.  You can read more about it on GamePolitics.com, and get some specifics on the trial here.  It helps to note that the infamous Jack Thompson aided the drafting of this addition to the law.  If you don't know about Jack Thompson, just know when it comes to video games, he's a dick.  For an example, see him threaten a lawsuit Game Politics on a simple misunderstanding that occurred when they interviewed Mike Morely (R).

I have two problems with Thompson and many of the other people who support bills like this.  First of all, many of these people simply do not have their facts straight.  You'd think that Grand Theft Auto was a hentai game full of murder if you believed what they said.  They can't even get that Grand Theft Auto doesn't have levels, just missions.  Ugh.  And they are not quick to apologize for their constant misinformation either.

Second, they expect everyone except the parents of a child to parent the child.  It's ridiculous.  I used to work at Gamestop, and I remember parents asking me about games for their kids.  I would always advise them if there was content in the game that could be considered inappropriate.  In fact most of the time they asked without me prompting.  That's good parenting, and any parent should ask about any game or toy that they honestly don't understand before giving  it to their children.  It's not a store's job, or the government's for that matter, to tell kid what they can and can't do.  It's a parent's job.  

Funny coincidence, the conservatives in American politics want to regulate video games and movies to the umpteenth degree, but when it comes to a financial crisis they want the government to touch nothing while corrupt corporations and banks can run away with money they weaseled out of customers and every taxpayer in the U.S.A.  Seems a little inconsistent, eh?

Finally, The Onion has a great video that shows the benefits of letting kids play video games, specifically concerning skill sets that they may find necessary in the future.

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