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Video Game Censorship

by Jacob P. | August 22nd, 2011 | Teen Perspective
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If you follow the news, you will notice that every once in a while, another government figure is advocating the banning of violent video games. While video games can cause significant problems, banning the games is not the answer to the problems.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat can increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in actual life, according to two studies appearing in the April issue of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Furthermore, violent video games may be more harmful than violent television and movies because they are interactive, very engrossing and require the player to identify with the aggressor, say the researchers.” I won’t deny that, or the fact that the increase in playing video games results in increased obesity and decreased attention span. It also tends to be true that the more kids play video games, the lower their grades are, but this is a time management problem, not a result of games.

So, why shouldn’t they be banned, then? Because it wouldn’t be an effective way to handle the situation. There are many problems with it:

  1. Kids would still be able to obtain the games and play them. There is already a black market industry in video games; currently it primarily sells pirated copies of video games. If a ban takes place, this industry will grow. The growth of illegal games sale would require more expensive police enforcement and presumably result in increased crime.
  2. What would happen to the games that already are out there? The government lacks the right to confiscate the games that were already sold without going to court. Thus, the games could be taken back, but a string of resulting lawsuits would ensue.
  3. The definition of what is and isn’t dangerous to children would be hard to define. There are too many variables. What barely affects me could make another kid dangerously violent. So, defining it would be hard. There is very little consistency within the game rating system as it is.

So, what should happen then? Simply, it should be harder for kids to obtain M and T rated games. There should be carding, or at least a parent, required when a kid buys a game. Even more so, parents should be involved. They should know what their kids are playing and know how much the kids are playing too.

Video games may be bad for kids in many ways, but it isn’t the government’s job to be the parent, it is the parent’s responsibility.

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1 Comments
  1. “Playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat can increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in actual life,” according to two studies appearing in the April issue of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    Give me a break. Those games are WAY old. As in: ancient history. If they want the study to have any credibility, they should at least use modern games. If they can’t bother to get their hands on relevant equipment, it already shows that they probably have a specific agenda that isn’t served by being thorough or unbiased.

    The fact is: violent media of any kind can make someone become violent. Books, movies, and yes, videogames. Whose job is it to make sure kids don’t take fantasy too far?

    If you answered anyone besides “parents” then I feel you’re abdicating your responsibility. The government should have absolutely no place in deciding what kind of media is legal to produce and distribute. As long as the producers complied with normal laws in production, I see no problem with putting the “censorship” (read: acceptable use) burden on parents.

    Keep on playing those FPSs, Jacob. I don’t think it’ll mess you up unless you let it.

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