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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 03:45 PM

What do you think about warnings on video games?

I ask because I have a 13-year-old son who loves video games. He especially loves the racing and shoot-em up type war games like Call of Duty. He recently found a zombie game that he really wants in which the player has to cut the heads off of the zombies. There is a huge ick factor here and also they seem to show an enormous amount of blood and gore from what I understand.

I do appreciate the current labeling system, but sometimes it does not clearly dictate how gratuitous the violence can get. At times I have done some online searching and found a few youtube videos which helps with the decision making.

I pretty liberal on most things and I do not want to see freedom of expression limited or censorship. However, given the age of my son I feel I need to do a better job of monitoring his gaming activity. Not all parents do that.

I just ran across this on Raw Story...

Congressmen push bill to put violence warnings on videogames

In an apparent effort to leverage a recent court ruling on cigarette warning labels, two members of Congress re-introduced a bill this week that would slap stark warnings on nearly all videogames, cautioning that they can lead to aggressive behavior. However, their push for new warning labels seems to disregard that one of the only studies supporting the claim was later debunked by the very organization that issued it.

The bill, put forth by Reps. Joe Baca (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA), would even require the warning to be printed on covers of games that contain no explicit violence whatsoever. The government-mandated label would read: “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

The proposed law comes the same week as a landmark court decision that acknowledged the government’s authority to require cigarette-makers to place graphic images on their packaging showing the health effects of long term tobacco use.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/22/congressmen-push-bill-to-put-violence-warnings-on-videogames/

I should add that my son is not more aggressive after playing his video games. He's always been like his dad...fairly easy going and quick to smile.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply What do you think about warnings on video games? (Original post)
cynatnite Mar 2012 OP
RandySF Mar 2012 #1
Ian David Mar 2012 #2
gratuitous Mar 2012 #3
Wait Wut Mar 2012 #4
MissMarple Mar 2012 #7
cynatnite Mar 2012 #8
Wait Wut Mar 2012 #16
Politicalboi Mar 2012 #5
Vincardog Mar 2012 #6
jwirr Mar 2012 #9
cynatnite Mar 2012 #11
thelordofhell Mar 2012 #10
backscatter712 Mar 2012 #12
surrealAmerican Mar 2012 #13
frazzled Mar 2012 #14
HopeHoops Mar 2012 #15
MrSlayer Mar 2012 #17
SomethingFishy Mar 2012 #18
dogknob Mar 2012 #19

Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 03:48 PM

1. There's no need for further action.

When we go to the Gamestop, the ratings clearly indicate any game's content. And if I am unsure whether a game is suitable for my kid, I ask questions.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 03:52 PM

2. Misguided and unnecessary legislation. Is anyone making money of this scheme? n/t

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:00 PM

3. My position is not the popular one

But I'll reduce it down to "What do you want inside your son's head?" Yeah, not everyone who indulges violent, graphic video games turns out to be an ax murderer (and if you keep saying that, I'll take an ax to you!). But what is your son being taught by these games? Is he being routinely desensitized to violence and gore from an early age, and what might result from that? You're not the government, so there's no limitation on the game designers' freedom of expression, nor is there any censorship involved; those are not germane to the discussion at hand. You're the mother and this is your son. What is it you want him to learn? Is there an insufficient amount of actual violence in our society that our free time must be dominated by simulated violence?

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:06 PM

4. "Not all parents do that."

That's your answer. Warnings only work when parents read them. The kids who become agressive because of violent video games have preexisting issues and their parents either don't give a damn or are afraid to be restrictive. There's a balance. If my son had a particularly violent game, I'd play with him a few times and make comments. A big plus...it was fun! He's 29 now and staying with me for a couple of months. He keeps asking me to play Call of Duty with him. Sadly, my eyes and reflexes aren't the same as 20 years ago, but knowing that those steps I took when he was little carried through to today makes me feel like I did something right.

I'm not a big fan of censorship, but with games becoming more and more realistic, maybe we need to think about age limits.

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Response to Wait Wut (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:13 PM

7. +1

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Response to Wait Wut (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:18 PM

8. I don't care for video games at all...

I'm not interested in playing. I just try to keep up with what's available and hope I find him something that's not over the top.

Sometimes I wish they would be more specific. It was recommended to just ask which I probably will in the future. We do shop some at Gamestop.

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Response to cynatnite (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:31 PM

16. The kids at Gamestop have been pretty helpful, in my experience.

There are also plenty of online gaming forums that have good guidelines for parents.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:09 PM

5. 13, he's old enough to play most any game

The "aggressive behavior" is BS. It's more important to be like all the other kids. And most teenagers play those games. I actually think some of these games lets off steam for some, so it could be a good thing for kids. And as far as not being sensitive about violence. TV took that away from us years ago.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:12 PM

6. The sponsors seem to be asserting facts not in evidence. I would like to see peer reviewed articles

demonstrating the link between violent video games and aggressive behavior before taking any action on those assertions.
You are watching your son. You are and will do the right thing. Don't let the fear mongers rattle you.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:21 PM

9. I have a 5 year old and a 11 year old playing these games with their father/uncle and I am some

what worried. The 5 year old is even good at it. But no matter what the label says I have no say in this. A better question is - what can you do to make sure that the child does not get hurt. I used to watch tv shows with violence in them with my children watching beside me. I talked with them about what we were watching. Is that possible with these games?

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Response to jwirr (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:27 PM

11. We talk about the content...

He knows how I feel about the violence and sometimes he will show me if he finds a video of one that I'm not sure about. It helps.

It's different than when I was a kid. The violence in todays movies is overly graphic. My son complains because I won't let him watch any of the Saw movies. I just feel that graphic violence and gore is just not a healthy thing even knowing that it's fake. Maybe it's more my issue because I find these things too gross to watch and I'm passing on my own ick factor.

If he was older, then I'd probably relent a little bit more.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:22 PM

10. Just ask yourself this question

If it was a movie......would I let my kid watch it?

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:38 PM

12. Unacceptable.

To quote Frank Zappa,

"I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?"

He said that in response to Tipper Gore (no offense Al, but she's a piece of work!) alleging that music causes deviance and violence.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:53 PM

13. If they do this ...

... it will undermine the utility of warning labels in general.


Warning labels should not provide "information" that's not based on proven research. No matter what function they mean to serve.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:56 PM

14. If I were the parent of a 13 year old today

I would want helpful labeling, not only for myself to determine if I wanted them exposed to this kind of guts and gore, but to be able to have a general rule to latch onto: we don't buy video games that are rated V (?) or above. Saves haggling.

When my kids were that age we pretty much had Super Mario Bros. and such, which was great. I never had to monitor TV or movies too much, because my kids were very self-censoring: they hated anything with violence, especially my son.

But, with respect to your comment about the labeling not being that helpful, I do remember one incident when my daughter was that age regarding a video (they were actually videotapes back then!) she wanted to rent for some friends coming over that evening. We went to the store and she saw the box for "Welcome to the Dollhouse," and it seemed appealing to that age-group (it's about a 7th grade girl who is bullied) and was rated PG13. But I'd seen that film, and, knowing my daughter, I felt she would be disturbed by it. I also didn't feel it would be appropriate for the group coming over. And I personally found it creepy and frankly misogynistic. (As many other of Todd Solendz's films would be charged). I suggested instead that she rent another movie we'd recently seen, "Twelve Monkeys," a sci-fi story and a remake of the famous film by Chris Marker, "La Jetée." I was sure she'd enjoy it and I thought it was really well done. "But Mom," she complained, "you won't let me get the other one and this one is rated R!" "It's only because there's a naked man in it (Bruce Willis, in full frontal)," I responded. It was okay with me. We ended up with the R movie instead of the PG13 one, which to me was the better choice.

I guess all this proves in the end is that you can't trust ratings anyway. And also, that your mileage will vary depending on your particular child and on your own feelings about what you think is okay and not okay. For me, nudity is fine, but not misogyny or unmotivated, random violence. (I abhor gratuitous violence and can't stand most car-crashing, gun-toting shoot-em-ups), but I've loved films that are "about" violence, that make you think about it, such as "The History of Violence" or "Crash." Go figure. That's me. And when you have kids, and you're the one paying $39.95 for a video game, you get to call the shots.)

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:29 PM

15. Sounds like an easy way for kids to find the really cool ones.

 

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:38 PM

17. I don't think about them at all.

 

My kids were playing GTA when they were in their single digits. It never had any kind of negative effect at all. Neither one of them have ever even been in a fistfight. It's all a bunch of hype and bullshit.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:43 PM

18. My kids hit the Dad jackpot for gaming...

I am a serious gamer. My family was in the coin-op business for years. I worked the arcades during the early 80's video game boom. I became a hardcore gamer. Now my kids are hardcore gamers and we play together all the time.

For me I don't need the labels. I'll just check the game out myself. Truthfully I have not kept my kids from playing much. Grand Theft Auto is the only title I can think of that I held back till they were teenagers.

That said I don't mind the labels, not all parents are gamers, and some guidance isn't a bad thing.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:48 PM

19. Zombies are a metaphor...

...for people who do not share your beliefs.

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