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Annual Video Game Report Card Is Positive, For Once

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-blame-the-wii dept.

Games 75

Every year, the National Institute on Media and the Family releases a report card which grades various aspects of the video game industry on how well they keep "inappropriate" games out of the hands of children. This year's report was largely positive, which is surprising given the history of strong criticism by the Institute. They acknowledged that gaming is becoming a much bigger part of family life than it was in the past, and they're making an effort to shift the focus onto the parents to keep their kids' gaming habits under control. The full report is available here (PDF), and Game Daily has an interview with Entertainment Software Alliance CEO Michael Gallagher which touches on some of the same issues.

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Family gaming. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909645)


They acknowledged that gaming is becoming a much bigger part of family life than it was in the past

Great news! Where can I pre-order Manhunt 3: Family Edition? [youtube.com]

Re:Family gaming. (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913873)

I want to know where this guy is getting plastic bags without those annoying holes (to reduce litigation child strangling, I guess).

Huh? (2, Interesting)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909679)

For Once? I distinctly remember the gaming industry scoring well every single year that they've been graded. Who's hosting this year's report card?

Re:Huh? (1)

XTrollX (1398725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909809)

They were the parent company of a All Media Guide, which was a media rating corporation. Here's there site: http://www.aent.com/ [aent.com]

an INCOMPLETE grade? (4, Insightful)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909757)

Is it only me or "INCOMPLETE" means "FAILS MISERABLY" in this case?

Especially when they use the grade on parental involvement and they talk about how much parents got no clue on how the game console that their child use has options for them that they had no clue it existed!

The media should stop saying that the kids are becoming violent because they play violent videogames.... They should say that the kids are playing violent videogames because parents don't care about what their kids do when they play, not even when they "virtualy murder people".

Re:an INCOMPLETE grade? (2, Funny)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910979)

+1

And this is the best part:

"they're making an effort to shift the focus onto the parents to keep their kids' gaming habits under control"

I mean, fucking DOH!

Wrong idea (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909811)

They shouldn't receive an award for this. I'm sorry, but telling the video game industry they're doing a good job of "keeping inappropriate" content out of the hands of children is both a slap in the face to the parents that should be watching what their kids are buying, and a slap in the face to the kids who buy these games hoping for something interesting, only to find talking frogs, barbie, and games where everybody gets along and wins -- when they're 14! Why can they go see a few hundred zombies get set on fire, shot at, or otherwise die in the theatre (as long as they're all non-smoking zombies), but can't get the same thing in a video game? This entire idea of "for the sake of the children" has gone too far when children aren't encouraged to take risks and make their own decisions. These "appropriate" video games... I've seen them -- They suck so hard they're in danger of forming an event horizon.

My 12 year old kid sister has been fed a steady diet of these "positive self-esteem" books, videos, and games. Last year I tried to show her Happy Feet (it's a movie, look it up) and she couldn't get past the halfway point because that's where the penguin "got sad". I tried showing her some "real" video games, only to have mom come down on me like a ton of bricks... So it's back to watching bubbles with numbers in it and talking animals. And then mom (and other parents from Generation "Precious Snowflake") wonders why she has no inclination to read, write, do her homework, clean up after herself, or even brush her teeth...

Well, duh... it's because she's being fed sanitized crap that is the electronic equivalent of valium every day!

Re:Wrong idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909853)

And then mom (and other parents from Generation "Precious Snowflake") wonders why she has no inclination to read, write, do her homework, clean up after herself, or even brush her teeth...

Yeah! Put her to play Left 4 Dead and then she will be interested in reading and writing. Killing zombies is the answer!

Re:Wrong idea (2, Funny)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910189)

Well, maybe she might get interested in the Zombie Survival Guide, at least. Doesn't cover the writing part though.

Re:Wrong idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910351)

After reading some zombie survival guides, she could write one or a few of her own.

Not an immediate solution, but the time it takes should be worth it.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Taken07 (1395851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909901)

They shouldn't receive an award for this. I'm sorry, but telling the video game industry they're doing a good job of "keeping inappropriate" content out of the hands of children is both a slap in the face to the parents that should be watching what their kids are buying, and a slap in the face to the kids who buy these games hoping for something interesting, only to find talking frogs, barbie, and games where everybody gets along and wins -- when they're 14! Why can they go see a few hundred zombies get set on fire, shot at, or otherwise die in the theatre (as long as they're all non-smoking zombies), but can't get the same thing in a video game? This entire idea of "for the sake of the children" has gone too far when children aren't encouraged to take risks and make their own decisions. These "appropriate" video games... I've seen them -- They suck so hard they're in danger of forming an event horizon.

My 12 year old kid sister has been fed a steady diet of these "positive self-esteem" books, videos, and games. Last year I tried to show her Happy Feet (it's a movie, look it up) and she couldn't get past the halfway point because that's where the penguin "got sad". I tried showing her some "real" video games, only to have mom come down on me like a ton of bricks... So it's back to watching bubbles with numbers in it and talking animals. And then mom (and other parents from Generation "Precious Snowflake") wonders why she has no inclination to read, write, do her homework, clean up after herself, or even brush her teeth...

Well, duh... it's because she's being fed sanitized crap that is the electronic equivalent of valium every day!

Well the only reason that they think video game violence causes all sorts of mental illnesses are because of these bullshit studies ... I've played violent video games since I was like 7 or 8 ... I have yet to kill someone.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909919)

Well the only reason that they think video game violence causes all sorts of mental illnesses are because of these bullshit studies ... I've played violent video games since I was like 7 or 8 ... I have yet to kill someone.

Yeah, right. And your study involving ... 1 person (you) is to be taken into consideration.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

uhlume (597871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910277)

YHBT; YHL. HAND.

Re:Wrong idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910501)

Most of my generation and even more of the generation after us grew up playing violent video games. As far as I know, Western Civilization is still around.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

NoName6272 (1376401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913415)

You're sig

Any life is made up of a single moment, the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.

Actully fits this converstation pretty well... Any ways I've been playing games since I was two, when I was 5 I finally figured out how to crack my brothers protection on Doom II and after getting caught once I quickly discovered the boss key (F10 I love you!). I'm a nice guy, I haven't murdered any one and my room mate who has never played a video game in his life till just recently (18 years old) is on the high list of "serial killer". But then another person I know who has never played a video game till he was 15 is exactly opposite.

Video games are not the cause of violence, it might trigger it but it does not cause it. Much like a abused child can still be nice but when something triggers them they go insane. A crazy person is still crazy no matter how many pills they are on *_*.

~
NoName

Re:Wrong idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25920003)

You're sig

Is he?

Re:Wrong idea (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909951)

You evidently haven't been playing any popular online multiplayer games. The stupidity of many players will drive just about anyone to kill.

Re:Wrong idea (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910445)

Conversely, I've been mostly playing Nintendo games all my life (which, for the most part, are very non-violent), and I'm just about ready to kill the next person who intentionally decides to piss me off.

I've been dealing with idiots at school who like to hurt me for more than a decade now. This has nothing to do with video games, and yet I'm about to crack.

Go ahead - tell me how my video games factor into this.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Kayden (1406747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25917901)

If you had played sports instead of Wii Sports you either: A) be able to defend yourself or B) be friends with the guys now kicking your ass.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909929)

My 12 year old kid sister has been fed a steady diet of these "positive self-esteem" books, videos, and games... And then mom (and other parents from Generation "Precious Snowflake") wonders why she has no inclination to read, write, do her homework, clean up after herself, or even brush her teeth...

Well, duh... it's because she's being fed sanitized crap that is the electronic equivalent of valium every day!

Or, maybe it's because she is 12.

Re:Wrong idea (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909949)

When I was 12, I had a college-level reading comprehension and my writing was equivalent to a junior in high school. I made my own meals, did my own laundry, cleaned my room, and all the other daily things a person needs to do. Everyone else in my family was the same way by her age. The only variable here is the change in parenting style, which encourages her to be codependent and reliant on others to make every decision about her life... even down to what clothes she'll wear to school that day (not just buying them, but actually being told what she's wearing each day).

Re:Wrong idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910133)

maybe your sisters just a little slow, but I would guess that your partially right. I doubt the lack of video games is hurting her as much as the lack of free thought. Growing up I was told to get the hell outside and didn't start playing video games(besides cold and rainy days) until I was a junior in high school. Before then I read tons of books, I sketched I played with lego(love lego), and I played sports. Frankly I think you have to let a childs mind wander and do what it wants. The problem with society is that they think it's too dangerous to let your kids out to play, in some cases it is, but then you just sit there and supervise them. Let them make their own choices unless they are going to be dangerous for them, otherwise you take away all creativity. I don't know how it would effect their independace I doubt free thought leads to making your own meals or cleaning your room as much as it leads to making you think for yourself and not be a robot.

Re:Wrong idea (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910413)

I agree completely. but how do you encourage free thinking in a society that considers children the property of their parents until 18? There's an informal term for this too - "chattle", which is a combination of child and cattle.

Re:Wrong idea (3, Insightful)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911395)

Shut up and graze your spaghetti.

I'm a parent of three, and I'm pretty opinionated on this matter. My nephews are only allowed to watch non-violent shows and play non-violent games (they're both complete Pokemon addicts), and both of them are on MUTLIPLE medications for violence and agression. My oldest has been playing Killer Instinct and Kingdom of Loathing and Carmageddon since he was four, and he's about as non-violent as a kid can be (his teacher likes to tell me about his 'Champion Manners' in class, because they have a Manners rating system).

Video games are a FACTOR that determine psychological development, just like humidity is a factor in a car accident... in both cases, the DRIVERS make the biggest impact (note: drivers = parents).

Re:Wrong idea (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911823)

Why don't you shut up and graze your own spaghetti? Throwing down your parent card like having three kids means more than someone who lives with one is bullshit. I'm just as entitled to my opinion as yours, and I don't have to insult people giving mine either. What exactly is the point of your rant? Could you at least make a coherent argument, rather than just ripping into someone with a personal attack? This is a discussion about video game rating systems, and my two cents' was about the system being overly aggressive in eliminating anything that could be considered "inappropriate" to the point that the only thing left is lifeless and worthless video games that can't teach critical thinking skills or engage the user.

So-called "violent" video games very often have team play, capture the flag, and other social elements that teach people to work together. Number Munchers doesn't exactly measure up there. Does Pacman or Tetris teach them critical thinking skills? No. But Counter Strike sure does -- it teaches you to plan ahead, to know the terrain, to work with other team members... It teaches them how to think in a 3D environment. The Sims teaches people at least some basic understanding of the larger world; Barbie does not. Games like Command and Conquer teach kids that there's often more than one right answer and to adapt and think fast, and that making poor decisions leads to consequences. Webkinz teaches the opposite -- that everybody's a winner and everyone is special. That's not reality and if they grow up with that attitude they're setting themselves up for a massive letdown.

Maybe if your nephews got a few punches in the face after mouthing off, they wouldn't do it so much. Maybe if they played those "violent video games" they'd learn that a TEAM beats the INDIVIDUAL and you need to learn to control violent impulses if you're going to rise above. Maybe by squelching those impulses so much they're just having to find other avenues to release that energy in even less healthy ways. Consider that sir, while you eat your spaghetti.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911893)

Uhm... I was agreeing with you. The "shut up and graze your pasta" thing was meant to be a joke, made in good humor. Holy over-reacting, Batman!

And in your response, you CONTINUE to agree with me, while making it sound like you're DIS-agreeing with me. I don't really understand where you're going with this.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911987)

Then I apologize. Clearly I misunderstood. Next time add a smiley face and it'll save us both looking like idiots. :)

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911999)

Will do! :) -- The smiley of approval!

Re:Wrong idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25920117)

Then I apologize. Clearly I misunderstood. Next time add a smiley face and it'll save us both looking like idiots. :)

Yeah... both...

Re:Wrong idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25911951)

You guys are both arguing *for* the same point.

How about both of you shut up and eat your damn spaghetti? Anyone would think you've both been playing too many violent video games..

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911989)

See? Even an Anonymous Coward figured it out.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912011)

See? Even an Anonymous Coward figured it out.

Yes, but even a broken clock is right once a day. ;)

Re:Wrong idea (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912835)

Yes, but even a broken clock is right once a day. ;)

Try telling that to my Casio. I'll let you know when it gets to 88:88

Re:Wrong idea (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912955)

and play non-violent games (they're both complete Pokemon addicts)

Does the phrase "Poke-battle" mean anything to you? These creatures spew lightning at each other. Team Rocket kidnaps your precious poke-monsters and do horrible things to them. I know this from not even trying to watch the show. My xgf played (some of) the games; I wouldn't exactly call them non-violent. It's cartoon violence, but that still effects kids. I recall a guest on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (http://www.theskepticsguide.org) saying something to that effect; with a little digging I'm sure you could look it up. Go listen to the podcast anyways, it's great news for nerds---which includes the hosts* :)

And let's not even talk about "Try to bamb tha harbar" and the primary main objective ;)

* Counting an academic neurologist, a software engineer, an IT staffer, a TV/video production guy (i.e. professional card-carrying member of the A/V-club :D) and a hippie lib-arts chick (not libarts or libartsc0-dev, you dork). They talk about physics, medicine, philosophy of science, astronomy, and whatever their guests are into. James Randi is on every once in a while.

Re:Wrong idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25914247)

Wandering Wombat's kids are allowed to play violent games.

The nephews are "only allowed non-violent games" and are addicted to Pokemon. That means your rant was pointed at Wandering Wombat's sibling and not at Wandering Wombat him/herself.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25916739)

I have no issues with violent video games...I have played most of them. But to provide anecdotal evidence that kids are more violent because they pay non-violent games or less violent games is pretty ridiculous.

I am sure that some kids are less violent because they play violent games. I am also sure there are some kids that get more violent after playing these games.

The real answer to all of this is that each kid is different and needs to have different boundaries. Thinking that your way of raising children is universal for all kids isn't realistic. And some kids are just bad, no matter how well you parent them.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25933649)

But to provide anecdotal evidence that kids are more violent because they pay non-violent games or less violent games is pretty ridiculous.

I agree. When someone does that, I'll let you know.

Re:Wrong idea (2, Insightful)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910143)

When people are young, they have terrible habits that seem incredibly stupid to people who have matured a little bit. Naturally, you assume that -you- were perfect back in the day, or at least far more developed than your current example.

In my experience, a given 12-year old might have different annoying tendencies or immature behaviors, but they'll still have immature behaviors. I'm picking up an "egotistical know-it-all" vibe from you, for example.

By all means correct her behavior as much as you can, get her to brush her teeth and cook and clean and whatnot... But, seriously, she's 12, you really can't expect perfection at that age.

Re:Wrong idea (0)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910807)

So, your saying that the guy who says "I wasn't anything special at 12, so any kid could do as well as me" is an "egotistical know-it-all"? You must have a funny definition of that term.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25926911)

"When I was 12, I had a college-level reading comprehension and my writing was equivalent to a junior in high school."

Look at that! Your reading comprehension skills RIGHT NOW are inferior to the OP's when she was 12! Amazing!

Re:Wrong idea (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911901)

Who the hell said anything about perfection? This is about teaching kids that hard work and critical thinking skills pay dividends far more than innate ability or smarts do, an idea I happen to agree with. I didn't have everything spoon-fed to me; I learned from an early age that if I want to be better than average I needed to take my life into my own hands, take risks and eat the consequences, and that hard work eventually leads to a pay off if only I can beat my own impatience. Nothing worth having comes easy and learning to read and write was really hard for me. I have a learning disability and was left-handed... The teachers thought I was a lost cause and someone of "below average" intelligence who'd never amount to anything. It pissed me off enough to try that much harder. I hit the books every day after school and sometimes I'd do my homework crying, but I learned, oh god did I learn.

It doesn't matter how old you are, or when you start... Attitude and believing in yourself will get you far in life, but learning that meant I had to accept that I wasn't a precious snowflake. I wasn't somehow "special" just because I was a kid. I had to make myself special, and I learned a lot of things the hard way, and probably before I was ready. Yeah... She's 12. She's 12 and she can either cut on the dotted line like the teacher says, or she can pick up a book that looks interesting just because and sit down and take the time to read it. She can go with doing the assignment like everyone else, or she can make up her own mind about what it means and take her own initiative. She can learn that the judgements of her friends, teachers, and parents mean less than trusting herself to know what's right.

And that's not egotistical... That's wisdom.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25926965)

Don't flip out, I wrote what I did because you were bragging about having reading and writing ability far beyond the level people you age usually had - as well as being able to do chores and such.

You saw early on that being smarter than other people was an advantage, so you worked at becoming smarter than other people. I made pretty much the same choice (This is probably why we're having a conversation on Slashdot right now!) - and it worked out well. This doesn't necessarily mean someone else who doesn't consider these things important is making the "wrong" choice.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911835)

The only variable here is the change in parenting style, which encourages her to be codependent and reliant on others to make every decision about her life...

You're forgetting a big variable: she's a different person than you and everyone else in your family. My brother and I were raised quite similarly (we're only a few years apart), and we're such polar opposites in so many ways, it's hard to believe we're brothers sometimes.

She's still twelve... that's pretty young. She still has a lot of time to grow up. Probably the best you can do for her is just to be a positive role model.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910321)

Flamebait? I think one of the mods has been listening to clerics a bit too much.

I didn't know the term precious snowflake [urbandictionary.com] . I think that was started with the boomer generation. When I was a kid, there were lots of parents doing that at my school, and lots of teachers complaining about it.

Most of the people who graduated from my high school could barely read at a 3rd grade level. Now they've done the same thing with math. No wonder they no longer teach anything, too many people would complain!

Though it is also wrong teaching techniques. Whole word reading is for ancient Egyptian and Chinese. "Discovery Math" was supposed to be a logic program supplemental to a real math program, it was not designed to be a math program. In fact, when I heard about it ten years ago, I looked up the publisher's website, and they said exactly that.

I probably learned much more from programming books than from any schooling. It isn't Americans who can't be taught, it is the schooling system which does not teach. In fact, most teachers seem to think they are just babysitters.

More on topic, I played and watched plenty of violent video games and movies as a teenager. I had two psycho abusive parents. (One bipolar and one unknown because she won't get treatment for her condition--probably psychopathic personality disorder.) I've been thinking for a while, and I probably had HUS and my first stroke as a child because countless times they force fed me undercooked tainted meat (among other things) and wouldn't take me to a doctor when I was rolling on the floor in pain and vomiting. Yet I haven't killed anyone (but probably should have).

Not caring about others makes a person a psychopath, not video games, movies and such. People can play blame games, but censorship is not any answer. Parental and personal responsibility are the answer.

A movie is not a video game (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911021)

I'm sorry, but telling the video game industry they're doing a good job of "keeping inappropriate" content out of the hands of children is both a slap in the face to the parents that should be watching what their kids are buying, and a slap in the face to the kids who buy these games hoping for something interesting, only to find talking frogs, barbie, and games where everybody gets along and wins -- when they're 14! Why can they go see a few hundred zombies get set on fire, shot at, or otherwise die in the theatre (as long as they're all non-smoking zombies), but can't get the same thing in a video game?

.

The video game is not a movie.

That is why the game based movie sucks rocks.

It is also why the action game based movie has an adolescent male demographic, which for the theater owner also sucks rocks.

The geek knows this - but balks at admitting that a movie is not a video game. That it is a different experience with a different set of rules.

The movie runs 90 minutes to two hours and you sit at a significant physical and psychological distance from the action.

You are not hunched over a keypad role-playing Hannibal Lector for the better part of two weeks --- or two months.

I tried showing her some "real" video games, only to have mom come down on me like a ton of bricks...

There was earlier story today about a geek who wanted to give his two year old son a laptop. Computer For a Child? [slashdot.org]

"Generation Snowflake" reads - but reads books which share her own interests and values, and it these books which are being successfully adapted into films. `Twilight' is the new breed of chick flick [google.com]

There are more on the way, including James Patterson's Maximum Ride.

Re:A movie is not a video game (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911959)

Yeah, I took her to see Twilight on opening day with a friend, and she is reading the book. She's also interested in Harry Potter but it's above her reading level so far. The problem is that it's easier for her to just sit down and watch youtube and play webkinz all day and reading is hard.

It gets easier if you stick with it as we all know, yet it takes drive and ambition to accomplish that. Being told over and over that you're special and gifted leads to the conclusion that if something doesn't come easily right away there's something wrong with you. But if you're told that you start in the same place as everyone else, then you understand its a race and you need to put effort in to be special. Not everyone is a winner then-- So if you don't immediately succeed, you don't look inside and see yourself as ugly or lacking and instead tell yourself -- I just have to try harder. People who know they're in a race don't give up when they see they're falling behind, they push themselves harder and in the end they're better for making it to the finish line even if they didn't finish first because they have the belief that if they keep working at it, someday they'll cross that finish line ahead of the rest. In the long run, earning those victories puts a person's self-esteem on a firm foundation because it's not dependent on the approval of others.

Yes, it's harder, but then self-esteem doesn't come out of a talking head, it comes from earned experience.

Re:Wrong idea (1)

roboticforest (1419423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954793)

I agree. Generation "Precious Snowflake" has had an impact on my life as well. The other side of that coin seems (to me at least) to be the more common one and that is Generation "I have kids?".

Video games seem to me to be split to the extreme. There just aren't very many games made these days that are "appropriate" for younger children, yet engaging enough for teenagers and adults. This is one reason I'm a fan of older games. I think they're higher quality.

I don't think that parents would need to worry so much about video game or movie content if they talked with their children. The people I've known that had intelligent, patient, -talkative- parents understood, even at a young age, what to expect from movies, video games and even the real world around them. They were better adjusted to things. To them Mortal Kombat was just another game. Something that they could look at and decide for themselves, like or dislike. To the other kids I knew, and many of the ones I know now, Mortal Kombat either frightens them or they... "get inspired", and I don't mean in a good way.

It depends, to a degree, on the child as to what appropriate is, but I believe (and it seems you do as well) the main issue is actually parenting, -not- content control. I have known very few children and teens that played video games I personally thought were appropriate for them. It didn't have much to do with their age (although I don't think that 5 year olds should be playing Grand Theft Auto), but rather what I gleamed from their personalities.

I'm sure I've just upset someone somewhere, but I stand by what I said. This is a parenting issue more than a content control issue.

A side note:
I knew a women who honestly believed that the ratings on video games were a difficulty rating, not a content rating. She admitted to me that she had -never- read the ratings closely or read the back of the games boxes or cases when she bought them. She new that M meant Mature, but she thought "Mature playing skills", and her 7 year old son took full advantage of her lack of thoroughness.

changing subjects (1)

Teferison (1403841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909827)

They changed the subjects every time in four consecutive years? With so little consistency the grades don't mean anything.

Simple answer: (2, Interesting)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909839)

Parents shouldn't buy their kids games that they consider inappropriate (Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, etc). They should keep an eye on them to make sure they don't play these games.

Re:Simple answer: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910621)

If your not allowed to get GTA, how else will I know I can get my money back from a hooker by running her over?!?

Seriously though:
Rather than be concerned about mental problems (its VERY difficult to create mental problems in people when they are given a wide range of experiences)

why not be concerned about our fat asses?

I sit way too much... damnit.

Re:Simple answer: (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912219)

(its VERY difficult to create mental problems in people when they are given a wide range of experiences)

Your name's not Zaphod, right? C'mere, I got a little thing called a total perspective vortex [wikipedia.org] I'd like you to see...

Re:Simple answer: (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913865)

Because fat people don't do school shootings. They do pie.

Re:Simple answer: (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25914951)

School pie-ings?
That's something I'd like to see (except in the school where I work :P

Wow! (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909845)

From the summary and they're making an effort to shift the focus onto the parents to keep their kids' gaming habits under control. If that is not a sudden out a break of common sense, I don't know what else could be.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909881)

Seriously, now, why do we even give a short one for what the "National Institute on Media and the Family" think?

Re:Who cares? (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913849)

Because these are the types of organisations that lead more trusting people astray and thus, they need to be mocked ceaselessly.

Hypocrites (2, Funny)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909981)

Did they even think before choosing that name ?

National Instutite on Media and the Family.

N.I.M.F. ... Nymph?!

I'm going to found the Coalition of Unsolicited Neutering of Fundamentalist Sectists.

Re:Hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910179)

check your acronym

Re:Hypocrites (1)

ronoholiv (1216262) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910887)

Coalition of Unsolicited Neutering of Fundamentalist Sectists.

Don't you mean "Coalition of Unsolicited Neutering of Traditionalist Sectists?"

Re:Hypocrites (1)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 5 years ago | (#25915859)

There's something fishy about those guys...

Re:Hypocrites (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26017275)

No, screw them! They're all cunts!

Re:Hypocrites (1)

Neflyte_Zero (866396) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911509)

I've founded the Media Institute for Life and Family. Lots of single moms have signed up so far and I'm helping them through their time of need with very pleasing results.

recommendations (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909983)

I haven't read the report from these people in previous years, but the last few pages are recommendations for parents on how to monitor their children's game use. That's good for parents who want to do a good job supervising but don't have the "technical" knowledge on how to do it.

I have to wonder about a couple of things though. The blurbs for games they recommend and games they avoid all look like they came from marketing departments. In a way, it's good that they're not editorializing too much about the games, but at the same time it makes it look like they didn't play the games themselves.

The other thing is this report is 31 pages long? I'm not shopping for children so I just skimmed to the end, but it seems overlong for most folks who don't already know they need the information.

Re:recommendations (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910859)

Your right. 31 pages is too long. It should basically just be a chart with a 1 to 5 in columns named things like Sex, Violence, Religion. This would be simple AND quick to read.

I wouldn't worry too much about just taking the game industry's word for what is in the games. Businesses lie for gain. Video game manufacturers have no reason to lie on these. If they say that a game is less violent than it really is, they are likely to lose more sales than they gain. It is kind of like porn. The porn industry doesn't try to pass off their goods as rated PG because they have no incetive to do so. People buy their goods BECAUSE they are porn.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910041)

Well, we did give Video Game a stern talking to after mid-terms to straighten up and fly right.

Brilliant list (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910587)

Their list of games [yahoo.com] to be concerned about looks like the best "Top 10 Games for Christmas" list I've seen yet.

Kids are Kids (3, Interesting)

Jekler (626699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910697)

Video games have been around for about 40 years. To put them in some kind of special category that needs unique oversight or attention is just ridiculous, alarmist behaviour. Kids have been entertaining themselves with one thing or another as long as humankind has been around. They play with fire, fight, pick on and make fun of each other, climb to dangerous heights in trees or towers, toy with combustibles and explosives... sometimes they get hurt, sometimes they die, but video games haven't altered childhood in any significant way.

Of course parents should be aware of the games they're playing, but no more so than they should be aware of everything their child is doing.

It's frustrating that the world is scrambling to deal with computers, cellphones, video games, movies, etc. They haven't really changed the nature of what it is to be human. We had Sweeney Todd, The Tell-Tale Heart, King Lear, and MacBeth long before we had video games. Kids have been getting warped ideas into their head as long as human imagination has existed. Sometimes kids even act out those fantasies to horrific ends which I don't believe is any more frequent either before or after the advent of video games.

As much as people want to attribute violence to video games, people are very quick to hush up once they realize the perpetrator of the latest school shooting, mall shooting, or spree killing wasn't even a gamer. For the first 48 hours, dozens of investigative reporters tried to draw a line between the Virginia Tech killer and Quake/GTA/Halo until they realized he didn't like video games or TV for that matter.

The whole video games : violence angle is a dead horse.

Re:Kids are Kids (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911027)

Hey! No fair using logic and well though out ideas!

Seriously, when my parents were kids, they would play cowboys and indians. This would entail physically acting out the action of slicing the flesh from a living victims head, and physically acting out burning people alive.

Re:Kids are Kids (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913843)

Yeah but back then, there was a serious possibility of zombie attack.

Re:Kids are Kids (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911817)

Sticks should all be rated for violence, depending on the stick.

Cardboard boxes can be used for sexual activity. Why is there no warning label for parents?

Your child may have access to sticks and cardboard boxes... and you don't even know about it.

Hmmm... Really? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911387)

So lets see video games have been available and around for 30-40 years. And so how many "violent" acts have been caused by video games? Very few. How many injuries have been caused by video games? Very few. I think people better ask your parents how they spent time as a child/teenager and you will find that many of them shot themselves/others in BB gun fights, played with M-80s and other high-powered fireworks, played violent games of "cops and robbers", and most of them probably got hurt doing such things. On the other hand even if I kill every virtual living thing in Manhunt or GTA nothing really happens except the kid might become obese possibly. Today kids are much, much, safer playing even the most violent video games today then playing games 40-50 years ago.

Video games are... (1)

Sabz5150 (1230938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912029)

Video games are no more responsible for violence than guns are responsible for killing.

Re:Video games are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25920257)

Although no people are killed by video games, the same can't be said of guns.

Not for Australia (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912255)

It might be better in general but it's never been worse in Australia.

long lost credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25913149)

They've been idiotic for so many years that they can't possbily have any credibility left, which means that, like Jack Thompson, it is best to ignore them then to give them any credence by reporting on them.

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