Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Entertainment

Euro Parliament Wants "Red Button" For Shutting Down Games 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-what-now dept.
GamePolitics writes "The European Parliament has actually requested that red, panic-style buttons be set up for use by parents whose children play online games. The buttons would allow the parents to quickly shut the game down should something inappropriate occur. Wouldn't the old-school on-off switch work just as well?" To be fair, the report isn't entirely crazy; it says games "can also be used for educational and medical purposes," and acknowledges that the "presence of violence in video games does not automatically lead to violent behaviour."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Euro Parliament Wants "Red Button" For Shutting Down Games

Comments Filter:
  • by Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:48AM (#26823969) Homepage

    Seriously.

    1. phillips head screwdriver (to open case)
    2. wire cutter (to cut leads to switch)
    3. wire nut (to short circuit around switch)
    4. profit?

    The really clever kids will find a way to install a software patch that makes any game say "Show us your tits!" every time the button is pressed.

    When I was a kid, my parents had a 'red button' called a leather belt. It was much harder to hack.

    • by aerthling (796790) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:02AM (#26824041)

      When I was a kid, my parents had a 'red button' called a leather belt. It was much harder to hack.

      Harder to hack, my arse! When this happened to me, I used to modify the client (my bottom) by increasing the resistance (extra underpants) and return a spoofed result to the server.

      • When this happened to me, I used to modify the client (my bottom) by increasing the resistance (extra underpants) and return a spoofed result to the server.

        I don't remember whether it was my oldest daughter or oldest son who said, quite possibly, the dumbest thing I've ever heard: "Dad, that spanking didn't hurt a bit!"

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:51AM (#26823985) Homepage

    Or to be an ISO 9001-complaint "video game maker" you have to code in some kind of red button? In Soviet Europe, the switch kills you.

    Simply the act of pushing your kid out of the way and commandeering the mouse to click said button pretty much takes care of the situation. From there, a little parenting and you are all set. Clicking on the button at that point seems a little silly. You could just close the application. In fact, the button always existed...it's part of the OS GUI API.

    • by von_rick (944421)
      Wouldn't the method you describe cause a violent reaction from children? The purpose of red button is to shield them from violence, but pulling the plug at the moment of climax is gonna make the kids wilder than ever.
  • by TheLink (130905) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:55AM (#26824007) Journal
    Sounds useless, but to answer the question - using the power switch could cause file system corruption.

    So if you could rig this up to the equivalent of "Alt-F4" then you can avoid that.

    As for why it's useless, if your child is not ready to see "stuff", and they see "stuff", and then you press the panic button, they won't _unsee_ stuff. In fact, they would probably remember it for a very long time.

    If your child is not ready, just don't let them play such games, and perhaps you should work harder at getting them ready.

    You don't send soldiers to battle untrained and unarmed.

    Brainwash/domesticate your kids before the world does it for you (they want your kids to buy/believe their stuff without thinking too much or even at all).

    Yes you may think brainwashing is wrong. But it's usually better to train them "fire = bad", and hopefully they survive long enough to figure out the complexities and subtleties.
    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:31AM (#26824557) Homepage

      This reminds me of when I was playing Red alert 1 with my cousin, when we were teens.

      His mum got pissed off and hit the power switch.

      Then the UPS kicked in. It really lessened the impact she was going for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by powerlord (28156)

        Unless she hit the power switch on the "power strip" and not the computer, I'm not sure why the UPS would kick in.

        This of course points the way toward the already installed "red button" on most computers:

        - The power button on the computer.
        - The power button on the power-strip (unless there is a UPS :) ).
        - The power button on the monitor (less effective, since the speakers will keep blaring).

    • by IBBoard (1128019) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:52AM (#26824659) Homepage

      As for why it's useless, if your child is not ready to see "stuff", and they see "stuff", and then you press the panic button, they won't _unsee_ stuff. In fact, they would probably remember it for a very long time.

      If your child is not ready, just don't let them play such games, and perhaps you should work harder at getting them ready.

      Why let a little common-sense get in the way of a perfectly good law that lets parents blame everyone else but themselves for bad parenting decisions?

      I'm now a father and although he's only nine months old I'll probably do the same as my parents did: determine the suitability of the game based on the maturity of my son and let him play the GTA/Carmageddon equivalents before he hits the age rating if he can take it as it's meant - a game in a virtual world that has different rules to the real-world.

      Also, what's the betting that this is mainly a "for the sake of the children, hide the tiny, brief flashes of flesh" idea (which you're less likely to know about) rather than a "for the sake of the children, stop the massed bloodshed" idea (which generally tends to be obvious from the format of the game).

      • by mike2R (721965) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @08:37AM (#26825913)

        Also, what's the betting that this is mainly a "for the sake of the children, hide the tiny, brief flashes of flesh" idea (which you're less likely to know about) rather than a "for the sake of the children, stop the massed bloodshed" idea (which generally tends to be obvious from the format of the game).

        Probably not actually, since this is a proposal for a piece of misguided European legislation, rather than misguided US legislation.

        The EU has many many faults, but thankfully over-regulating the human nipple isn't often one of them.

        • by IBBoard (1128019)

          Good point - I can't see the French (amongst others) complaining about "ze occasional nipple"! British people seem to be getting worse these days, although I guess they're getting more paranoid about violence and how seeing violence == doing violence with no regard for the thought that not every one who monkey sees then monkey does. I was just looking at the UK (being a Brit) and seeing the general "think of the children" mantra/brainwashing spreading from the US.

    • You don't send soldiers to battle untrained and unarmed.

      Hey, the Soviets did that all the time!!

      Something about winning wars by drowning the enemy in the blood of their soldiers...

    • by TheP4st (1164315)

      Sounds useless, but to answer the question - using the power switch could cause file system corruption.

      Not if you use the powerswitch on the monitor/television which would generate the desired effect too. ;-)

      • by tepples (727027)

        Not if you use the powerswitch on the monitor/television which would generate the desired effect too. ;-)

        Good luck hitting the power switch to anything on a GP2X, Nintendo DS, PSP, Pandora, Acer Aspire one, or other battery-powered device with its own screen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by powerlord (28156)

          If its a "handheld" that you "need to shield your child from" take it from your child's hands.

          If they are big enough to hold onto the device, you are obviously mistaken that they need to be shielded from it.

          If you CAN hold onto the device long enough to hit the power button, then you might be correct, but will now have to "discuss it" with your child.

          • If they are big enough to hold onto the device, you are obviously mistaken that they need to be shielded from it.

            I don't follow this part of your reasoning. A nine-year-old can hold onto a PSP. A nine-year-old can watch the trailer for the scat film Hungry Bitches [wikipedia.org] on a PSP. But wouldn't you want to shield a nine-year-old from what has come to be called "2 Girls 1 Cup"?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by powerlord (28156)

              I don't follow this part of your reasoning. A nine-year-old can hold onto a PSP. A nine-year-old can watch the trailer for the scat film Hungry Bitches on a PSP. But wouldn't you want to shield a nine-year-old from what has come to be called "2 Girls 1 Cup"?

              Bluntly, most adults can remove something from the possession of a nine-year-old, either through brute force (rip it out of their hands), intimidation (threaten them with grounding), or reasoning (I'm your parent, you have to trust me to know what's righ

          • wouldn't that be awped by a wallhacking grue?
    • by matt328 (916281)
      Sounds useless, but to answer the question - using the power switch could cause file system corruption.

      All the better. If the kid would have listened in the first place their console wouldn't be a brick.

      After months and months of good behavior and begging, maybe they get a new console. You can bet the next time you tell them to turn it off, if they have half a brain, they'll listen
    • by kalirion (728907)

      As for why it's useless, if your child is not ready to see "stuff", and they see "stuff", and then you press the panic button, they won't _unsee_ stuff. In fact, they would probably remember it for a very long time.

      That's why pressing the button will also send a charge of electricity through the electrodes implanted in the child's brain.

  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:02AM (#26824043)

    From the EU Parliament Press release [europa.eu]:

    Until PEGI on-line is up and running, the report proposes fitting consoles, computers or other game devices with a "red button" to give parents the chance to disable a game or control access at certain times.

    Furthermore in the actual draft report [europa.eu], the word "button" never appears. As such, the red button doesn't seem to be a literal red button, rather a figurative term used in the press release as a euphemism for parental controls. I'm not sure how this is any different from how the current-gen consoles implement parental controls though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Those of us who are worried about our kids' online gaming, and who also happen to be colorblind, are glad to hear it.

    • by powerlord (28156)

      I think current controls usually use Rating levels to control access.

      It sounds like the proposed law wants to allow parents to also either restrict specific titles, or to add time based access controls (no gaming after kids get home from school until they are done with homework and get parent to "unlock" console?)

  • by Tom (822) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:14AM (#26824107) Homepage Journal

    Ok, so this /. article links to an article that already is a bad summary of this press release [europa.eu], which sounds a little more enlightened:

    To help parents choose, MEPs would like to see more public awareness of the content of video games, parental control options and instruments such as the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) age rating system.

    Sounds to me like they're doing the exact right thing: Making parents responsible and asking game companies to give them options.

    Now the actual "red button" part reads like this in the press release:

    the report proposes fitting consoles, computers or other game devices with a "red button" to give parents the chance to disable a game or control access at certain times.

    That does not sound like an emergency "off" switch to me. It sounds more like a timer thing, where a parent can tell the computer "no online games for my son after 22:00". Unfortunately, I couldn't find a source beyond the press release, so what exactly they have in mind remains a mystery. It does sound a lot less exciting than TFA makes it to be. Selective quoting, anyone?

    • by PMuse (320639)

      Any solution that allows games to be sold and places the responsibility to monitor them on parents is a good solution for game-players. (After all, how often will these buttons actually be used?)

      Sure, game-players might prefer a solution that magically makes the public stop thinking that violent and sexually explicit games are a problem. Good luck with that.

  • by jsse (254124) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:18AM (#26824143) Homepage Journal

    To be fair, the report isn't entirely crazy; it says games "can also be used for educational and medical purposes,"

    I do agree that sex and violent games are meant to be educational.

    Like last time I caught my cousin attempt to flirt with a CG girl in hope to have cyber sex. I pressed the magic red-button and gave him a few bucks, told him to go out and do a real girls like a real man.

    The other time I caught him shooting polygonal guys on streets with lots of bullets and first-aid boxes scattering around. Needless to say, I pressed the magic red-button again and gave him a shotgun, told him to hit the street and shoot real people like a real man.

  • On most computers, you have to hold down the power button to shut down the system, giving five unfiltered seconds of access to lewd material, derogatory language, and corrupting influences whilst you awkwardly try to cover the monitor with your body.
  • by SpottedKuh (855161) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:26AM (#26824181)

    Wouldn't the old-school on-off switch work just as well?

    Provided that the power switch is visible and easily accessible to parents, then yes. And hey, it doesn't even need to be red -- I think the "red button" idea is metaphorical.

    But, think about it. Like many people on Slashdot, I'm an advocate of responsible parenting: know what your children are doing (within bounds of privacy, dependent on the child's maturity), set reasonable boundaries, and take opportunities to discuss things with your children (i.e., make things learning experiences where possible). Is it such a bad idea, if a parent sees a child exposed to inappropriate media (whether it be music, television, or video games, always taking into account the age and maturity of the child), to hit the power switch? What better time to have a discussion with your child?

    I mean, you could try to have a discussion hours later. Or, you could turn off the inappropriate movie / video game / whatever, and have a discussion about, e.g., reality vs. fiction. If you, as a parent, are convinced that the child understands the implications of whatever media they were viewing, and that they are mature enough to view it / play with it, then turn it back on. Worst case, your child is pouty about having to go back to their last save point.

    Sure as hell beats being one of those parents who doesn't understand why the government didn't stop them from purchasing GTA IV for their six-year-old.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Like many people on Slashdot, I'm an advocate of responsible parenting: know what your children are doing (within bounds of privacy, dependent on the child's maturity), set reasonable boundaries, and take opportunities to discuss things with your children (i.e., make things learning experiences where possible).

      Okay smart guy, how is a politician like me going to get re-elected on the nanny vote with a message like that, hmm??? Newsflash: personal responsibility only sells at the polls if you're talking responsibility of people who aren't voting for you! Yeah, you obviously didn't think that one through, did you? That's why I'm a senator and you aint!

      (I know I don't need to point this out, but this was a joke)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SpottedKuh (855161)

        [...] how is a politician like me going to get re-elected on the nanny vote with a message like that, hmm??? [...] Yeah, you obviously didn't think that one through, did you? That's why I'm a senator and you aint!

        Despite being a tongue-in-cheek joke, your comment says so very much.

        I'd love to enter politics, because I feel like I could make a difference, and because I would love to help solve some of the problems faced by the people in my country. That being said, I know that my voicemail would be filled w

    • by Mr2001 (90979)

      Is it such a bad idea, if a parent sees a child exposed to inappropriate media [...] to hit the power switch? What better time to have a discussion with your child? [...] Worst case, your child is pouty about having to go back to their last save point.

      You don't even need to hit the power switch: just tell your child to pause it and come have a talk.

      There's no five-second rule when it comes to inappropriate media. Once they've seen it, you may as well leave the screen on.

    • And to think, for YEARS, all my game consoles have been on all the time! Running up my electricity bills!

      This "power button" idea is ripe and ready for environmental conservation.

  • Use a spoon. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eun-HjZjiNeD (1001079) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:38AM (#26824247) Homepage
    Why don't we just dig out the eyes of our kids so they never have to run the risk of seeing something the parents fear may harm the child... You all see how ridiculous this paranoid over-protectionist crap is, right?
    • Don't forget to puncture the eardrums while you're digging out the eyes. Wouldn't want the little tykes hearing something that may harm them when they're running around blind, now would we?

  • When I was about 8 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Hellno (1159307) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:11AM (#26824449)
    and this was just about 12 years ago, one of my friends told me about this awesome cheat code for Duke Nukem 3D where if you entered the code and then pressed space bar in front of a lady they would sing (or some other stupid thing). Of course, when I entered the code and hit space, the lady (stripper) took off her top and showed me her boobs (vague lumps with pink squares in the middle).
    Of COURSE, at this juncture, my mother entered the room. I don't remember the exact look on her face, as such, but attempting to recall it now, I envision Munch's "the Scream ( :O )"

    She told me to turn off the game, or I would be grounded, and would have no more access to the computer. That's it. No magic button was required. Her finger did not even have to touch some mundane "on/off switch". I took one last glance at the cardboard-pixel boobs dancing haltingly across my screen and decided that, whatever this was exactly, it wasn't worth the infinite punishments my mother seemed prepared to apply.

    Considering that day now, I don't see much need for some sort of "red button". Setting aside the fact that various consoles and televisions already have remotes with buttons serving the mandated purpose, I lay before you this objection: parents already have (very nearly) absolute power over their children. Button or no button, you can stop them from participating in any leisure activity that you feel is inappropriate with little more than a threat and a stern tone of voice. You certainly have the power to take away any consoles or computers which might allow them to defy your violence/profanity/digital-titty embargo.

    A button makes it easier, less personal, more secret. It also puts an additional burden on the video game industry, to the glee of family values groups everywhere. It is not a necessarily solution. It is at best a crutch used to control your offspring, and at worst a lie used to manipulate them.

    Should you ever see your children looking at something that you don't think they should see, then tell them that they can either stop, or lose some privileges.
  • i want a red button for shutting down brussels....
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:15AM (#26824473) Homepage

    Leave it to Slashdot sensationalism to spin an EU report which is generally very positive towards gaming as some kind of evil plot...

    Read the Reuters article in the summary for more info on what this was actually about:
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/healthNewsMolt/idUKTRE51A60H20090211 [reuters.com]

  • That would mean that parents should be actually and actively looking after their children during their spare time.
    That's unlikely to happen as they use Internet as a baby sitter.
    Thus in the end, the panic button will cost money and resources with very little usefulness.
  • a thought... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by polle404 (727386)
    Here's a novel thought?
    Try parenting!
    Check the PG rating, it's even on the package in EU, read up on the game?.

    think about it, what would make your kid hate you more,
    not letting them buying the game,
    or letting them buy the game, and then take it away after a few minutes?
    • When non-parents give parenting advice. Thank you! Thank you for imparting to us poor parents your infinite wisdom of checking the ESRB ratings on the box. We had no idea such a thing existed. As we know, the only way a child can get their hands on a game is when their parents buy it for them. Children never borrow inappropriate games from their friends to play when their parents aren't looking. Nor do they ever purchase games themselves. Your solution is bullet proof! You are truely a savant among non
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        As we know, the only way a child can get their hands on a game is when their parents buy it for them. Children never borrow inappropriate games from their friends to play when their parents aren't looking.

        If you aren't looking, you can't use any means of filtering what your child sees. That is, other than raising them to understand and respect the reasonable boundaries that you set. Sorry if that just sounds like more magical non-parent mumbo jumbo to you.

        As the saying goes "There are seldom good technological solutions to behavioral problems".

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:27AM (#26824535)

    So many other things could also do with a panic button to shut things down "should something inappropriate occur"; the list is endless, but we could start with:
    - The international banking system, (too late)
    - The North Korean politburo
    - The Australian parliament
    - The Canadian parliament and,
    - The European parliament!

  • The reason "just using the off switch" won't work for this, is because the end-goal is to create the "right" that parents can plunk their children down in front of the digital idiot box, just as they used to do with the analogue idiot box, and have it mind their children.

    This is the reason behind the filtering in Australia. It isn't really about making children "safer" but about making the parents life easier.

    Just as "adult" programs are proscribed to certain times and broadcasters heavily punished for any

  • I see this being more useful for the kid to keep his parents from seeing what he's doing...

    Who knows how many accidents have occured while trying to turn off a monitor, mute audio, and zip up a fly simultainously, as Mom walks in.

    Blood EVERYWHERE.

  • by 3.14159265 (644043) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:36AM (#26824869)
    Europeans also would like a "Red Button" for shutting down Parliament. Wishful thinking.
  • by moz25 (262020) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:52AM (#26824949) Homepage

    You know, it's time to hit whatever button will cause this unnecessary overreaction to halt.

    The most harmful thing for kids is having controlling adults around them who can't prioritize actual dangers. The kids already know all the bad words and most likely they know more bad words than you.

    If you want to keep your kids from hearing bad words, keep them isolated from their peers.

  • Why not just beat them?

    Beat them when they play a violent game.
    Beat them when they play cowboys and indians (dirty racists).
    Beat them when they listen to rap music (gun and drug culture).
    Beat them when they watch music television (lewd imagery and soft sexual content).
    Beat them when they watch the news (war, rape, murder, animal cruelty, fraud, theft, and binge drinking).
    Beat them when they get up in the morning, just in case.

    Seriously, this is one fucked up piece of news.
  • I don't think we have much to worry about guys.

    From the posts I've seen, I think we have finally gone beyond the 1990's and have acknowledged the fact that video games are just video games.

    Seriously, 18 year old's can vote. We've grown up with Doom and GTA, this unchecked aggression will not stand man!
  • by Durinthal (791855) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @08:03AM (#26825755)
    Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?
  • OK parents, how about you stop being stupid and actually take responsibility for raising your kids?

    My son's eight and he loves video games. He's got his own DS, and he's even been trying out an MMORPG (Fusion Fall [fusionfall.com] by the Cartoon Network).

    We don't let him play excessively (even though I have a tendency to want to play video games excessively), we don't let him play unsupervised (all computers are in public areas, he won't have a computer in his room until he goes off to university), and we teach him about t

  • I'm not saying I'm excited about parents being able to kill their kids' gaming experiences, but the idea of a Big Red Button that turns off your PC might sell well on ThinkGeek etc. I could see myself using it at quitting time, flipping open the clear protective cover, hovering my hand over it as I count "3... 2... 1"...

  • It was called beating the shit out of me if I ignored their command to turn the TV off NOW! This same button worked quite well to make me do my homework, do my chores and made me respect my elders into my early teens. Perhaps they should give that a shot...
  • When I was ten years old, I was playing games like Fallout and Daggerfall, in which I was doing all manner of highly immoral things including murder and theft and I turned out just fine, most of us did. So ask yourself, what has the ESRB accomplished short of making people paranoid?
  • Press here. [turnofftheinternet.com]

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

Working...