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The Courts United States Games Your Rights Online

Video Game Free Speech Ruling Aftermath 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the knee-deep-in-the-opinions dept.
On Monday we discussed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that a California law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors was in violation of the First Amendment's free speech protection. By now, both sides of the debate have had a chance to respond to the Court's ruling. Congressman Joe Baca and CA State Senator Leland Yee pledged to continue the fight for stricter controls on the distribution of violent games, while others cried, "think of the children." Game industry groups were unsurprisingly pleased with the decision, but warned that this won't be the end of it, and asked lawmakers to stop wasting time with such legislation in the future. An article at the NY Times points out how the ruling highlights the lack of clear evidence supporting either side of the debate, and Time notes the Supreme Court's double standard, asking, "Why does the court treat violent images and sexual images so differently?" Finally, an editorial at Gamasutra reminds us that even though most game developers are breathing a sigh of relief, many would like to see the industry shift toward something more creative and meaningful than violence.
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Video Game Free Speech Ruling Aftermath

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  • by retroworks (652802) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @06:37AM (#36608962) Homepage Journal
    Other than for politicians who like to say they voted "against" sex and violence, and retailers and producers, do these laws have any effect to begin with on kids? I have seen opinions that it "desensitizes" kids to violence. But I've also read that access to porn has led to less sex crime. It kind of feels like violent games would reduce empathy in kids, but I'd be more interested in slashdot links to actual studies of behavior than political posturing and opinion about the ruling.
  • Re:Wasting time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @06:41AM (#36608984)
    Ah, BTW, in regards to

    "Why does the court treat violent images and sexual images so differently?"

    a possible answer is: violence tends to lower the demographic pressure, sex to increase it. With limited Earth resources, this is still "think of the children" but on a longer run. </sarcasm>

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:00AM (#36609070)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHHdovKHDNU

    Experiment by Albert Bandura. Shows how kids will reproduce acts of violence they have witnessed.

    A few notes:
    - This experiment features kids who have unsupervised access to visual depictions of violence. It's not clear if kids still act violent when an adult puts this violence into context for them.
    - The experiment does not seem to say much about the long-term effects of exposure to violence.
    - Kids will imitate almost any behavior they observe in others, violence is not an exception. It's how they learn.
    - It has been argued that letting children explore violence in non-harmful ways (i.e. violence against objects or in video games) might be good for them, as it can make them feel strong and able to defend themselves (grows confidence, reduces anxiety) and lets them understand when violence is and is not appropriate (for example, by playing Cop vs. Thief with toy guns, they'll learn why criminals are bad guys and their actions wrong).

    This experiment, therefore, should not, on it's own, be interpreted as a statement for or against violent movies or video games. It simply shows kids will imitate violence they see in media; nothing more and nothing less.

  • Re:Wasting time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xatm092 (1654477) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @08:07AM (#36609430)
    No extreme societal control? http://niv.scripturetext.com/leviticus/20.htm [scripturetext.com] Nothing in the Old Testament is mandatory anymore? http://bible.cc/matthew/5-18.htm [bible.cc]

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