While Oklahoma lawmakers rightfully refused to introduce game regulation related legislation this year, the calls for such regulation from many uninformed people continue. We already wrote about one oped calling for an extra tax be levied on the entertainment industry. However, the larger issue of the public's opinion on violent gaming is something that will have to be addressed for many years to come.
The US Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that video games, even violent ones, are protected by the First Amendment and cannot be regulated outside current obscenity laws. Despite that ruling and in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, people are calling for "something to be done" about violent games. Even the President has called for more research to be done in the area of violent gaming and its relationship to violent behavior. So is it really any surprise to see more opeds calling for "something to be done"?
The first oped actually calls for a ban on video games.
We are all still in shock over the tragedy at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut last month - in addition to the incidents in Colorado and Oregon. Rather than immediately attacking the National Rifle Association and rushing through more gun control, I wonder why a ban - or certainly more control - for video games has not been considered.
These children appear to be in a hypnotic state while their hands are moving like crazy, causing destruction. They are learning how to create violence. Why is it surprising that later they actually may not be able to separate fantasy from reality?
They are not being taught that acting out these "games" is a serious crime that has devastating consequences. Boys seem to be more addicted to these types of violent videos and the attacks in Colorado, Oregon and Connecticut were committed by young males.
I'm not naive enough to think this is the cause of all increasing crime, but these videos could be responsible for some of the violence, and should be considered as a great possibility.
Citizens (competent) have the right to own firearms for their own protection. No matter how large our police force, there cannot ever be enough officers to take care of everyone. We have to be able to take care of ourselves when necessary.
A study might be in order to decide if these videos are banned or controlled or even require a license.
It is very interesting to read someone actually coming out and saying that video games are more dangerous than guns and should be banned. Whatever your views on gun control may be, the idea that a video game is more dangerous and more deserving of regulation, bans and licensing (?) is completely absurd. As for studies, there have already been many done which found no causal links between violent games and violent behavior.
Our next oped, while not calling for specific actions to be taken, does make the tenuous claim that violent media is a significant "why" factor in violent behavior.
Laws banning certain weapons won't deter anyone who is intent on shooting another person. The banning of guns only leaves the honest person more defenseless against the criminal world, who will have plenty of weapons. The call for a weapons ban only makes Obama "look" more presidential while surrounded by armed guards.
"Why" needs to be addressed. Violent video games and motion pictures just train people that to shoot someone is no big deal, it's just another game. Until we quit training unstable people that it's OK to shoot someone in a video or movie, the mass shootings will continue.
Now, I am not going to make the claim that playing violent games has no impact on the life and behavior of kids. I certainly believe that everything we consume has some impact on our development. Yet, based on the research available, there is nothing that would lead me to believe that a normal, stable child will become a violent killer solely because he/she played violent games or watched violent movies. Granted, this writer does qualify the statement by using the word "unstable" when describing violent people; however, it does imply that "something must be done" about violent media.
Finally, we come to the most reasonable oped to date on this issue. This person recognizes that regulating or banning violent games is not the answer.
My heart aches when I hear about another mass murder by some deranged individual as they abused their constitutional right to have and bear arms. Even more heartbreaking is the pathetic action by some well-meaning citizens to try to curb this violent behavior by putting restrictions on that constitutional right.
Some speculate that these despicable acts are motivated by the impact of violent movies and especially video games. A majority of these murderers did have an unhealthy obsession with violence as a result of viewing the violent acts depicted in video games and movies. Lack of regard for human life can often be the product of such viewing.
What is the solution? Gun control has never worked and it will not work in this case. Fifty-six million people were exterminated in the last 90 years because they were defenseless due to gun control. (Soviet Union, Turkey, Germany, China, Guatemala, Uganda and Cambodia, Eastern Europe.)
Regulation of movies and video games is as much an infringement of First Amendment rights as gun control is an infringement of Second Amendment rights. Regulation and government control is not the answer.
Breakdown of the family unit and lack of adult supervision is the root of the problem. Viewing of violent movies and video games should not be allowed in our homes and should be replaced by having meals together, family time, family devotion and prayer time.
Our children need us to listen. It is not about us and our careers, but them.
I agree that parents need to take responsibility for the media their children consume. Parents are the strongest influence on the development of children and those who take a more proactive approach will have a better and stronger relationship with their children. Yet, I do take issue with the idea that such games should not be allowed in our homes. Some parents, especially those with older children, may feel that violent media is ok in their homes. That is a personal choice. If you do not want to allow such games in your home, that is fine, but don't look down on those who feel it is fine. Those parents are raising their children and you are raising yours.
As game industry professionals, we need to be out there educating the populous about gaming and what is currently known about it. Some people will not be reasoned with, but when they do make absurd statements such as that above, we need to be out there countering their statements with reason and facts. We cannot stand idly by holding up the US Supreme Court ruling as a placard. We need to be out there using it along with the many other great resources available as tools in the fight against false and inaccurate information.
- Game Politics Correspondent E. Zachary Knight
- Source OKGameDev.com