This just in: Video games turn kids into violent sociopaths just like drinking shots of heroin while listening to hippity-hop and feeding their tamagotchi!
Snagged this link from buttonmashing, which discusses the Federal video game legislation proposed by Senators Clinton and Lieberman.
I've gone over the idiocy of this issue before, but it bears repeating. Look at Senator Clinton's summation of her proposal.
"Senator Clinton was motivated to take action on this issue when it was revealed in July that Rockstar Games had embedded illicit sexual content in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. This game had received a Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), which was unaware of the embedded content."
So she was motivated by the fact that a MATURE-RATED GAME had hidden MATURE CONTENT. Is the stupidity clear enough yet? Hilary Clinton was motivated by the SHOCKING REVELATION that a game that was rated for seventeen years and older had naughty content, and she wants to protect all the children that SHOULDN'T BE PLAYING the game anyway ACCORDING TO THE INDUSTRY'S SELF-REGULATING STANDARDS.
To be fair, Senator Clinton just wants to punish those nasty retailers that sell naughty stuff to kids. I'm wondering just how much this will affect places like Wal-Mart versus smaller retailers.
Tell you what, I have my own addition to the bill: Any parents found buying restricted material for their children or giving their children money to purchase items without supervision will be chained to their children until they reach 18 years of age.
In other Stupid Legislation news, there is the big story of the Illinois Violent Game Bill. Cathodetan had a very good post discussing the Illinois Governor's words. Of course, the bill was found to be unconstitutional.
The judge in this case said some great things, most notably, "If controlling access to allegedly 'dangerous' speech is important in promoting the positive psychological development of children, in our society that role is properly accorded to parents and families, not the State." Outstanding.
Moving on to my Misleading, Vague and Idiotic Statements file, the American Psychological Association released a call for reduction of violence in interactive media by children and adolescents (dated August 17, 2005).
First, the Misleading: ÂPlaying video games involves practice, repetition, and being rewarded for numerous acts of violence, which may intensify the learning. This may also result in more realistic experiences which may potentially increase aggressive behavior." No, no and no. Just no. No discussion of how children have been seen to differentiate between playtime and reality. No talk of possible cathartic effects. No concept of what could possiblyconstitutee 'realistic experiences'.
Second, the Vague: ". . . recommending that all violence be reduced in video games and interactive media marketed to children and youth." Who determines whether a video game advertisement is aimed at children and youth? I'm guessing that the APA would just assume that any video game ad would be aimed at children and youth -- they don't clarify how to make the determination.
Third, the Idiotic:
"Based on the findings, the APA recommends:
* Teach media literacy to children so they will have the ability to critically evaluate interactive media.
* Encourage the entertainment industry to link violent behaviors with negative social consequences.
* Develop and disseminate a content-based rating system that accurately reflects the content of the video games and interactive media.
* Developers of violent video games and interactive media address the issues that playing these games may increase aggressive thoughts and behaviors in children and adolescents and that these effects may potentially be greater than the effects of exposure to violent television and movies."
The first one is a great idea. Awesome idea. Really has as much to do with every other form of media as it does with video games. So let's just take out 'interactive' from that first statement and, y'know, make it that much more useful.
The second one just shows that the APA doesn't really know anything about videogames. How, exactly, is a game to link violent behaviors with negative social consequences? That doesn't even mean anything. I tried to think of a joke, but it's so illogical that it repels humor.
The third, well, already exists. No, really, it does. It's called the ESRB. But I guess you could always listen to the MediaWise folks. Again, thanks to cathodetan, I don't need to offer any analysis. And the ESRB has responded.
The fourth is basically like saying, "Confess, game developers! Confess to something that, to date, is assuredly not definitive! Confess, or else!" It's nonsense and meaningless.
Thanks, APA. Truly you are a worthy contributor to the dumbing down of humanity.