Supreme Court Says No Evidence of Violent Games Harming Children

Matt Barton's picture

Looks like the videogames industry has scored an epic win at the Supreme Court. The Court says games are protected under the First Amendment and that there is no evidence purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children. I'm really happy to see this, since all of the opposition I've seen are politicians who have never played games just desperate for an easy hinge issue. I think it might also raise the profile of videogames.

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Chris Kennedy
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Ahh yes

This is worthy of a fist pump.

And once again - This doesn't mean you start handing out M-rated games at Halloween. You've still have to parent your own children. The government shouldn't do it for you.

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Tuco40
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Joined: 09/30/2010
Good ruling, but . . .

Look, if we can accept the fact that a great movie/book/videogame can change our lives for the better, then we have to also accept the fact that these things can affect our lives negatively.

If you can be inspired to do great things after reading a life-changing book or seeing a profoundly uplifting movie, then maybe it can also go the other route ...

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I think this rulling is more

I think this rulling is more in the "if video games do it so does TV, movies and music and...and.." I just dont think us humans can be cataloged that easy. you take 10 groups of 10.. none of them will react the same way to anything.. Heck some of us change our reaction by the people we are with, some by the mood, some just to fit in...
I have said it a million times, how a child (even a grown person) acts all starts with parents. If you raise your kid right, he will make good discisons to a point, as in no people will act the same, but most will follow the examples set for them. The sad part is nowdays both parents have jobs and being with your children is very hard to do. hence they are raisd by TV, or in groups where the proper attention is sometimes hard to give.

I stand by my PARENTING is key, not policing after the fact. But in todays age its hard to work, parent and have some free time yourself. I think too many parents use the TV/games/movies method (and hence blame it for kids problems when they have some).. I wasnt there, but they watched TV 24/7 so its TV!!!!! NO, there was nobody there to guide them when making choices.

its much like a gun, nobody forces you to shoot it at sombody, that gun CAN NOT SHOOT somebody with out help. I DO think kids (and adults) with problems already can be influnced by TV/games/etc.. but again.. you drive a bald tire down the road and it blows.. its not the tires fualt.. its yours, a problem was there, you chose to ignore it.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I go back and forth about

I go back and forth about these issues. The thing is, I know people who are great parents, and even though they treat all their kids exactly the same, one turns out to be a black sheep no matter what. I have to think at least some of what we are comes from our flukes in our DNA (or maybe there's something to human nature after all). Would Hitler have been an angel if he'd been raised by different parents living in Chicago? I somehow doubt it.

I also know that kids are influenced by violence they see on TV because they did it to me. When I was a kid, WWF and so on were very popular, and the bullies were always trying to do the headlock or whatever on runts like me. I have no doubt that the bullies who grew up with Street Fighter and so on tried the same crap. I don't think bullies really want to kill runts, but they definitely enjoy hurting them and acting out whatever violence they see on TV or games.

As far as I know, the only kids who actually want to kill are mentally ill and badly disturbed. I doubt violent videogames help them, but even without the games they need serious help. It's kind of like alcoholics--even if you take away their access to booze, you haven't solved the problem.

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TheWildDuck
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Joined: 06/26/2011
The Crux of the Ruling

I think clok hit the crux of the ruling on the head, it hinted that studies purporting to evidence a link between video games and behaviour did not show that they caused more effect that TV or films:

"Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media."

I think the ruling was a bit of an opt-out on the actual issue of whether video games affect behaviour, it merely recognised that the proposed legislation would bind video games in a way that should arguably be applicable to other media; thus allowing such law would be opening a can of worms.

As for the issue of whether games affect behaviour, I would agree that they do, but no more than other forms of media, and of course good parenting can offset any would-be adverse influence. Even a wayward child can be persuaded to change their ways - sometimes good parenting means adapting the parenting style to the particular child in question.

Would it be better to shield children from violence on TV and in games? I'm not certain, actually. Surely it is better for a child to know what can happen out there, and develop their own response in a home environment?

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
The issues
TheWildDuck wrote:

Would it be better to shield children from violence on TV and in games? I'm not certain, actually. Surely it is better for a child to know what can happen out there, and develop their own response in a home environment?

I am fairly liberal with my 6 year old and 4 year old daughters. I believe in basically what you've said, that I'd rather expose them to as much as possible - in controlled, supervised doses - to give them the knowledge and understanding that they'll need when I (or my wife) am not around to supervise them. Even things like death, I'd rather not sugercoat around them. I feel better if I talk things through with them and get them to a level of understanding where they know what's what. Same thing with violent content on TV or in videogames. They pretty much intuitively know what's real and what's not, and at the times they're unsure, they know to ask. If you take the mystery out of something and then further give them the ability to figure things out on their own, I think that's a pretty good recipe for success. It really does come down to the parenting, though of course each child has a unique personality and needs. I'm a strong believer that videogame content should be no different from any other media, even if it is interactive whereas the others in the most literal sense are not. That's why I think the ruling was the correct one. It's hard to litigate "safety" or strict control. If you strictly control one, you need to keep on going, and ultimately, no one wants that because the reality is it won't help anything.

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