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72% of US Adults Support Violent-Game Ban For Minors 478

SpuriousLogic writes with an excerpt from GameSpot: "The US Supreme Court won't start hearing arguments over California's law banning game sales to minors until November 2. However, the ruling in the court of popular opinion is already in, according to a new poll. This week, parent watchdog group Common Sense Media released the results of a survey it commissioned on children's access to violent games. Conducted by polling firm Zogby International, the survey asked 2,100 adults whether they would support a law that 'prohibits minors from purchasing ultra-violent or sexually violent video games without parental consent.' Of those surveyed, some 72 percent said they would approve such a law. Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer, whose nonprofit organization is lobbying for game-restriction legislation in many states, hailed the poll's findings. 'We hope the [state] attorneys general will take a look at these poll results and that they'll side with families over protecting the profits of the video game industry.'"
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72% of US Adults Support Violent-Game Ban For Minors

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  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:11AM (#33585126) Journal

    This is why a lot of people distrusts pollsters. How people answer is dependent on how the question is written. The question that Zogby sent out here was whether people supported laws that "prohibits minors from purchasing ultraviolent or sexually violent video games without parental consent." Of course they're going to say they support the law - Zogby purposefully loaded the question against the opposing option! Do you think a lot of people are going to say that they support something that was just described to them as "ultraviolent" and "sexually violent"?

    Imagine if Zogby asked a different question bent towards the other direction to the same 2000 people it polled for the first question - for example: "Do you think parents should be responsible for preventing their children from accessing video games containing violent content?" I would bet you that those same 72% are going to say "yes" to that as well.

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:14AM (#33585150) Journal

    Is this an "all" or "registered voter" poll? What areas? But I won't find that out from this article.

    Besides which, Zogby has been sucking hind tit in polling for at least the last decade. Blown calls of '04 and '08, badly blown ones on Election Day, come to mind.

    I wouldn't trust him if he told me the sky was blue, without checking.

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:18AM (#33585196) Homepage Journal

    I'm just shocked that a whole 28% of those polled saw thru the loaded question.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:19AM (#33585206) Homepage Journal
    Enforcing rules such as this are always a joke. What ends up happening is that the state ends up hiring a whole bunch of cops who do nothing all day but roam around the area going to various stores and trying to get the overworked clerk to sell them one of these games. And if the clerk gets caught the corporations usually end up not having to pay a dime(thats why they hire lobbyists), it's the poor overworked kid who made an honest mistake while performing a job that is a lot more stressful than most people realize. So now instead of paying for school he winds up having to pay a huge fine, may have his name printed in the paper etc. And yet pretty much any kid that wants these games will still be able to get their hands on them.

    Ugh, Americans really need to give up this law and order fantasy where they think they can modify people's behavior just by creating laws(attn pro-lifers and anti-drug crusaders, this means you)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:21AM (#33585226)

    They also don't define what a "Minor" is ... most people think some 6 year old without realizing that this could also mean a 16 year old ... nor do they define what "ultraviolent or sexually violent" content is. For all we know, these clowns could consider "ultraviolent" as any act that ends the life of another ... meaning I was breaking the law playing Wolfenstein when I was 10! Geesh.

  • Wait, wait, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iburnaga ( 1089755 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:23AM (#33585238) Homepage
    You already can't sell violent games to minors in most places. Minors aren't buying the games, their parents are.
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:25AM (#33585250) Journal

    "Do you think parents should be responsible for preventing their children from accessing video games containing violent content?" I would bet you that those same 72% are going to say "yes" to that as well.

    I agree! What better way to make the parents responsible than to make the parents buy the game.

  • Yes Congresman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:30AM (#33585292) Journal

    Sir Humphrey: "You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don't want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Do you think they respond to a challenge?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Oh...well, I suppose I might be."
    Sir Humphrey: "Yes or no?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can't say no to that. So they don't mention the first five questions and they publish the last one."
    Bernard Woolley: "Is that really what they do?"
    Sir Humphrey: "Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren't many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result."
    Bernard Woolley: "How?"
    Sir Humphrey: "Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the growth of armaments?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?"
    Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
    Sir Humphrey: "There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample."

    http://www.yes-minister.com/ypmseas1a.htm [yes-minister.com]

    Yes (Prime) Minister

    Watch it. Understand it. Remember it.

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:33AM (#33585322) Homepage Journal

    How about we make it illegal to show kids rated R movies first. Or even better, how about the government quits trying to tell parents what media is or is not appropriate for their children. This is just comic books all over again.

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:36AM (#33585344) Homepage

    Agreed. The only people who should be able to ban violent video games for minors are parents.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:46AM (#33585416)
    I am raising a child, and no, it doesn't take a village. I know that damn well as I'm thousands of miles from all of my family and it's a pain in the ass to not have anybody who would watch them for free. Making it illegal to purchase certain games without parental consent solves nothing. Kids will just play those games over at their friends' houses whose parents do buy them for their kids. If you don't do actual parenting and investigate the environments and people that your kids are hanging around, things you might rather not happen can do so easily.

    I for one don't believe that kids need to be insulated from much of anything. Maturity happens from experience, and understanding cannot occur without knowledge.
  • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:53AM (#33585488)
    So last weekend I went to see the new Resident Evil flick and I was amazed/appalled at how many parents brought their 5-10 year old children to see that movie. That is a wicked violent movie with lots of gross imagery. While I did spend a few minutes during the previews questioning the parenting ability of those people at no time did I think to myself "Boy, we really need to create a new regulatory power which would stop this." That would be stupid. Freedom means people are going to do things you think are retarded. *shrug*
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:54AM (#33585494) Journal

    I have little hope that will help anything considering I've seen a woman in EB with her 8 year old (my estimation) in tow complaining to the clerk how violent and horrible some of the games they sell are. 15 minutes later (after 10 minutes of pestering from her son) she was buying the kid Grand Theft Auto.

    It's not up to you to agree or disagree with it. That's the parent's right to make the decision and since she bought it for her kid knowing what was in it, it's now her responsibility. When her kid pulls his car over to kick prostitutes, she is going to have a hard time taking the game maker to court since she knowingly bought the game. It might even help further if a big label was on the cover of the game that says something to the affect of "Hey, mom! This game has whore kicking!"

  • by hsbaker ( 1623313 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @09:09AM (#33585668)

    Agreed. When I was a kid, it was somewhat difficult to get things I "shouldn't" have without my parents finding out. It mostly involved enlisting the help of someone old enough to buy the cigarettes/beer/porn.

    That is not the case today. Kids can easily get digital products from the comfort of their bedroom, with little chance of alerting mom & dad taht something suspicious is going on (no need to explain the new 22yo 'friend'). If the law requires you to be 18 to purchase explicit magazines, then why not explicit digital products?

    The goal is not to do the job for parents, but to help the parents do their job.

  • by Schadrach ( 1042952 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @09:24AM (#33585870)

    Of course, the law should require you to be 18 to purchase explicit digital product as much as it does magazines, but only so long as we're talking the same definitions. The problem is that something like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is in the realm they want to declare explicit and illegal to sell to minors, while the same kind of content as a movie, TV show, comic book, novel, or even magazine (somehow) would not be "explicit" in a manner as to be categorized with the likes of Hustler as far as sale to minors.

    There's no reason that laws making it illegal to sell certain categories of content to minors shouldn't be medium-agnostic. That isn't this however, this is a desire to make certain addition kinds of content also "explicit", but only when presented in the form of a video game.

    This is literally the "Comic books/rock music/whatever are evil and somehow innately different than all other media" fight all over again but with the next type of media.

  • Just store policy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:02AM (#33586382)

    Stores don't want to get sued, and they don't want more government regulation (because that is always more of a headache than it needs to be). So stores self police. Target is extremely strict, as far as I can tell they card everyone. I'm 30 and they card me when I go to buy an M rated game there.

    For that matter the ratings themselves are all voluntary. The ESRB is a non-profit group setup by the video games industry, it isn't mandated and indeed indy titles sometimes don't submit for rating (though it is hard to sell in a store without it). So are movie ratings, for that matter.

    The reason is because the various industries don't want the government involved. They know what happens down that road: Lengthy, problematic, ratings process with free speech restrictions. Just look at Australia where they do have government mandated ratings and games get banned or cut down because they "can't agree" on the highest rating so games can't get it so can't be sold.

    It may sound benign, but behind this isn't is always someone trying to suppress speech. The groups who sponsor things like this aren't interested in good ratings or ID checks because we get that shit anyhow. They are interested in government control so they can then pressure the government to ban things they don't like.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:06AM (#33586444) Homepage Journal

    Something is out of whack here

    What, that at one moment you are not allowed to buy a game where people are mowed down with machine guns but the very next moment you're allowed to sign up to do that in real life? Happy 18th birthday, young man.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:16AM (#33586574) Homepage

    Brilliant question... Why do you need a law? You don't need the government to play nanny for your kids- you, as a parent, should be responsible for their upbringing and making bans won't do a single thing to keep the ones that're going to get it from getting access to violent games.

    Much like minors getting ahold of alcohol or cigarettes. Yes, we need to largely prevent their access to those things- but without parental guidance and oversight, they'll still get the stuff anyhow.

  • by edmicman ( 830206 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:17AM (#33586598) Homepage Journal

    So shouldn't their parents be involved and know what their children are buying rather than depending on the government to babysit and do the parenting for them?

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:43AM (#33586966)

    Just like a 12 year old can walk into a liquor store and pick up a 5th of gin? I don't think so...

    No one said this would remove all responsibility from a parent, and certainly current parents don't just assume their kids can't smoke, do drugs, etc. It will make it more difficult for them however, which achieves something that is better than no control at all.

  • Re:Bullshit! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Athanasius ( 306480 ) <slashdot@miggy.oBOHRrg minus physicist> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:41AM (#33587994) Homepage

    In typical /. inhabitant behaviour I'd not even read all the summary before commenting...

    So, they asked about 'ultraviolent or sexually violent' ? Way to load the question. Of course a majority are likely to say 'yes' just because of the words 'sexually violent' !

    So, yeah, even more Bullshit! than I thought.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:52AM (#33588188) Homepage Journal

    So, yes those thing are also violent but that doesn't make then good or healthy.

    unstated Major Premise fallacy.

    They are not treating minor likie idiots. They just created a tool for parents to utilize.

    I don't want 13 year olds to be able to buy a gun, alcohol, or 'violent ' video game. But here is the problem..ready?

    What defines violent? well, you can't really put 'levels' of violence into law. So you make it generic and then let the parent DECIDE.

    That's all this is. It's not an attack in a child intelligence, it's not on oppression of freedom, and it's not keeping them away from stimuli.

    The amount of violence a child at 2 can be exposed to and a child of 17 can be exposed to without significant determent later is radically different.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:36PM (#33588970) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry but non-adults don't have rights.

    Well that's a shitty view to take of things. I thought all men were created equal and were endowed by their creator (whatever that is) with certain unalienable rights. I didn't think all men were created equal and were endowed by their society with certain unalienable rights once they reached a certain age.

    I know when I was 16 that if someone had tried to suppress my rights to speak my mind, defend myself, or reserve my privacy both of my parents would have been up in arms about it. Then again, my parents raised me with enough respect and trust that they probably felt I wouldn't abuse those rights to an egregious extent. Quite frankly, I find the fact that you think non-adults don't have any rights to be one of the most offensive and blatantly bigoted things I've ever seen modded up on slashdot. Remember, the current dividing line between adult and non-adult is an arbitrary one that varies from society to society. What's to stop society from drawing other arbitrary lines to determine who does and doesn't have rights? Jackass.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @01:25PM (#33589704) Homepage

    ...allows a minor who really wants an adult product...

    Ahhh... but you are not thinking like a libertarian. The libertarian asks this question: "Who decides what is an adult product, and what is not?" And therein lies the problem with these kinds of laws.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @01:32PM (#33589824)

    As so many have noted, that law applies to handguns only. In rural states where hunting is popular almost all kids in the country own their own guns. Hell I owned a gun (20ga shotgun) at 8 years old. My parents bought it for me to hunt with. Perfectly legal in South Carolina.

    There are a lot of exceptions. For instance a "straw purchase" (purchasing a gun for another person) is illegal, but there are exceptions made for buying a firearm as a gift. I can't take $500 from the guy standing outside to go in and buy a gun, but I can legally purchase a gun with the intent to give it to my brother as a Christmas gift for example.

  • by zeroshade ( 1801584 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:25PM (#33590662)

    Nonsense. non-adults DO have rights. Some of these rights are restricted, but they DO have rights. For example, the government can't restrict the speech of a child any more than they can restrict the speech of an adult. Same with respecting the right to practice their own religion, etc, and all the other rights adults have. It is only when it comes to certain situations/nanny state examples that their rights become restricted. Such as the sale of alcohol, porn, etc. Some of these I agree with and some I don't. However a non-adult DOES have rights. Being a ward of their parents just gives the parents the legal right to have a say on their child's behalf in all legal matters, and make certain decisions on their child's behalf. Such as medical decisions.

    I'm REALLY sick and tired of people assuming that just because you are not 'legally' an adult, you do not have any rights. It's completely backwards and wrong. Turning 18 does not immediately bestow some magical knowledge to a person making them "an adult". I've met immature adults who were exactly the type of people the restrictions were meant to protect, and I've met highly mature non-adults who knew enough to be behave responsibly when it came to drugs, alcohol, etc.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.