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Doug Lowenstein on Game Censorship

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the someone-who-gets-it dept.

Censorship 87

An anonymous reader writes "GamerDad has interviewed Doug Lowenstein of the ESA (Entertainment Software Association, the trade body for game publishers) about videogame violence and the future of gaming. From Doug's responses to the interview: 'Every time a new medium is introduced - whether it be movies, television or rock-and-roll - there will always be generations who aren't accustomed to it, don't understand it and, in a way, fear its success and popularity with younger generations. This is nothing new and I think that's what is happening with games today. It's no accident that most of the attacks on video games come from people over 50 whereas the core video game population is between 18 and 35. But as members of the video game generation become parents, teachers, journalists, cultural critics and policy makers, I think we'll see some of the criticism of games balanced by a better appreciation of how they enrich our lives and culture.'"

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w00t (-1, Offtopic)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064643)

/me mods this article up +10 what I've always been saying

I.E. GTA (5, Insightful)

justkarl (775856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064654)

I think that censorship in general could be replaced by good, ol' fashioned responsible parenting. Rather than taking good games off the market, enforce the rating system!!
I heard a mother say in the game store the other day say she'd rather her 14 year old play GTA: 3 or VC than watch cable...Appalling.

Re:I.E. GTA (4, Insightful)

Leffe (686621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064712)

Sure, that would work... if all parents were responsible. Sadly enough, that is not the case, and I doubt that will ever happen.

It just takes one bad parent with GTA3 and a handgun to give the media food for a year, the chances of something NOT happening are too small.

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Interesting)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064855)

Questions for the /. masses, especially parents:

Should we start holding parents criminally responsible for the actions of their children?

If that bad parent knew that they would be the one sent to jail if Little Johnny goes ape-shit with a gun... maybe that one bad parent would make a better effort?

Of course it wouldn't be automatic, but a trial for criminal negligence and complicity.

Why don't we see more of this already?

Re:I.E. GTA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065204)

Should we start holding parents criminally responsible for the actions of their children?

No; people should be responsible for their own actions.

Why don't we see more of this already?

Because it's a terrible, terrible idea. People already think that McDonalds are to blame for their obesity.

Re:I.E. GTA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065874)

You don't think Parents are responsible for their children? Then who is? The 12 year old himself?

Re:I.E. GTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9066932)

You don't think Parents are responsible for their children? Then who is? The 12 year old himself?

Why assume that anyone is? So you know who to sue? This idea that "someone must be to blame" is rising entirely out of our stupid litigious society. SHIT HAPPENS. Get that into your stupid fucking head. Sometimes the shit is an earthquake, sometimes it's a plane crash, sometimes it's a kid not realising that real people don't respawn when you kill them. It wasn't necessarily predictable or preventable, and nobody is necessarily "responsible". Get over it.

Re:I.E. GTA (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072041)

In many countries, yes, the 12 year old himself.

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Interesting)

drakaan (688386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065882)

Should we start holding parents criminally responsible for the actions of their children?

No; people should be responsible for their own actions.

Yes, and it's generally accepted that once a person reaches adulthood, he or she *is* responsible for his or her actions. If a parent is held responsible when little Johhny breaks the windshield of the neighbors' car, why should they *not* be responsible when little Johhny breaks the legs of the neighbors' kid? As long as a child is a child, and you are his parent or guardian, you are responsible for what that child does.

I think the main reason people are afraid of this is that many don't spend enough time or energy to be reasonably sure their kids won't get them put in jail someday. Adults should be responsible for their own actions, and parents should be responsible for their children.

Why don't we see more of this already?

Because it's a terrible, terrible idea. People already think that McDonalds are to blame for their obesity.

Not the same thing, and a very disingenuous (or stupid) argument. Why is it a terrible idea? Because it would keep children out of prison who should be locked up, or because it would force parents to get a lot more involved in their childrens' lives or risk jail when they do soething horribly bad?

People think McDonalds is to blame for their obesity for the same reason that they think video games, TV, and movies are to blame for their kids' bad behavior...they refuse to accept personal responsibility for negative outcomes. I'm not sure why you're trying to stand that on its ear, but it was a valiant attempt. Eat at McDonalds 5 days a week: get fat. Let the media raise your kids: they em grow up with no sense of right and wrong. Be negligent enough in raising your child that he/she maliciously kills/maims/hurts someone: face the music.

Re:I.E. GTA (3, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067048)

Forget asking whether it is a crime. Ask, "If a child does something, does Justice demand that a parent be punished?"

Herein lies the problem. It is not Just to punish someone for something they can not avoid. You say,

I think the main reason people are afraid of this is that many don't spend enough time or energy to be reasonably sure their kids won't get them put in jail someday.

And I say, nobody can spend that much time.

I had loving parents, etc. I'm about as straigh-laced as they come... but in the end, that was my choice. There was many a thing that I did without my parent's knowlege. I could have easily made some serious crimes, like running drugs, one of them. I had the brains. I had the opportunity. And there's not a damn thing they could have done about it if I so chose.

You can make a case for negligence being actionable, because that is a direct action the parent takes. Negligence should be actionable independently of whether the kid ever does anything. But while a child is not a truly free actor yet, neither are they robotic automatons responding directly and solely to their parent's actions. You can not hold parents legally responsible for their children's most heinous crimes... all you can use it as is as just cause for investigating their parent's behavior, and since nobody can define "good parenting" very well anyhow...

In the end, one must be careful not to make the action of having children something that gives parents pause because of the significant possibility of totally random jail time based on the (in the final analysis) uncontrollable actions of their children.

Now, to any potential Slashbots smashing the reply button to angrily contradict me, make sure you understand what I'm saying. Parents are not devoid of responsibility, legal and moral. But neither is the child. It's equally wrong to wipe the responsibility away from either party. The correct answer requires analysis of both parties. No easy answers here!

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Interesting)

drakaan (688386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067473)

Forget asking whether it is a crime. Ask, "If a child does something, does Justice demand that a parent be punished?"

Herein lies the problem. It is not Just to punish someone for something they can not avoid. You say,

I think the main reason people are afraid of this is that many don't spend enough time or energy to be reasonably sure their kids won't get them put in jail someday.

And I say, nobody can spend that much time.

And I disagree. While it takes a great deal of effort to raise a child and to be able to trust them to make good decisions (to be *reasonably* sure, I said), it's not only very possible, it's done every day by many parents.

I had loving parents, etc. I'm about as straigh-laced as they come... but in the end, that was my choice. There was many a thing that I did without my parent's knowlege. I could have easily made some serious crimes, like running drugs, one of them. I had the brains. I had the opportunity. And there's not a damn thing they could have done about it if I so chose.

...and yet, you didn't. Your loving parents took enough time with you to teach you what you needed to make good decisions. You had the brains and the opportunity to do something that you knew was a crime. That's exactly the outcome I would expect and it directly contradicts your statement that "nobody can spend that much time", although I know it doesn't always work that way. So would a jury judging your parents, if you had made a different decision, and they were held accountable.

You can make a case for negligence being actionable, because that is a direct action the parent takes. Negligence should be actionable independently of whether the kid ever does anything. But while a child is not a truly free actor yet, neither are they robotic automatons responding directly and solely to their parent's actions. You can not hold parents legally responsible for their children's most heinous crimes... all you can use it as is as just cause for investigating their parent's behavior, and since nobody can define "good parenting" very well anyhow...

Hmm...here I partially agree with you. True, older kids are not completely under their parents' control, but that doesn't mean that the kid with the crack business, or with the guns in his room is the only person responsible. It's a scary thought for parents, and that's part of the reason we want no part of it. How do we control our kids who are so much more edgy/dangerous/advanced than we were at their age? How do we keep them from doing terrible things?

To have that thought probably means that you aren't devoting as much time to your kids as you should. Not definitely, but probably. Of course, NOT having that thought doesn't mean that you're doing great, and needn't worry about it. You cannot hold parents SOLELY responsible for their childrens' most heinous crimes, but except in cases of mental instability in the kid, the parent definitely shares some of the blame, and even then, sometimes the parent is the *reason* for the mental instability. I'd define good parenting as an overall result, not a set of particular skills...some kids need more guidance than others, and some parents may need to put in overtime with their kids.

In the end, one must be careful not to make the action of having children something that gives parents pause because of the significant possibility of totally random jail time based on the (in the final analysis) uncontrollable actions of their children.

Except that it wouldn't be random. Juries are made up of fathers and mothers and sons and daughters, and they're going to understand that Mr. Smith spent weekends out camping with Johnny, and played catch with him, and kissed him goodnight, and told him that he shouldn't break people's lefs, but Johhny did it any way. In the end, one must be careful, I agree, and any law along these lines would have to be carefully crafted to avoid unwarranted sentencing of innocent people.

Now, to any potential Slashbots smashing the reply button to angrily contradict me, make sure you understand what I'm saying. Parents are not devoid of responsibility, legal and moral. But neither is the child. It's equally wrong to wipe the responsibility away from either party. The correct answer requires analysis of both parties. No easy answers here!

Agreed, 100%. I'm not saying that the kids shouldn't be held responsible, but I *am* saying that we've been ignoring the role that the parents play in many cases. Definitely no easy answers, though.

Re:I.E. GTA (3, Insightful)

macrom (537566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066026)

Should we start holding parents criminally responsible for the actions of their children?

I think that depends on what the crime is, from the parents' perspective. It is not a crime to let your 12 year old kid watch R-rated movies or even porn! (correct me on the porn part, if necessary) It isn't a crime to let your kid play violent video games, listen to rap music or watch graphic TV. So if a kid goes out and acts out GTA with the neighbor's kiddos, of what crime is the parent guilty? Being a bad parent? What if the parent was being good by letting their child experience a bit of freedom, and that child was being exposed at a neighbor's house? Do you now hold those people responsible?

I think that crimes (let's not get into IP and copyright arguments) are things that are generally, socially accepted faux pas. Very few people will debate that murder, rape, arson, theft, etc. are crimes against society and/or people's personal rights. But being a bad parent has such a broad definition and is subject to so many different viewpoints that I think it is a topic best avoided by the judicial system.

Now, if you want to make it an offense (like a misdemeanor) for providing rated content to an underage child, then you might be able to extrapolate a few laws if those exposed children commit crimes. Even still, you're now subject to a lot of interpretation in enforcing said laws. How would you go about proving that the child committed acts based on his/her exposure to the "illegal" content? Is the parent responsible? What about the retail establishment that may have sold the items to the parent with the child present?

And now we have a huge new argument that can go on forever. I think this is the reason that courts generally stay out of a parent's way unless a childs personal rights are expressly violated.

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Interesting)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066385)

> if you want to make it an offense (like a misdemeanor) for providing rated content to an underage child

No I want to put parents on trial for complicity and negligence on a case by case basis. That way your neighbor analogy and most minor offenses, mistakes that ALL parents make, and factors beyond their control would not implicate them in a crime.

I want to try them before a jury of their peers to decide if lack of parental involvement or damaging involvement contributed significantly to the childs actions.

It IS a difficult line to walk. I'm not even too sure the benefits would outway the problems that arise with such a "solution". But it might be worth trying.

True, however ... (1)

arhar (773548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066387)

If you let your kid play violent videogames, watch violent movies, etc. it is YOUR responsibility to make sure your kid 100% understands that it is just a game, and it is WRONG to go out on the street and kill passerbys.

If your kid does do that, you as a parent should be held responsible, because you failed to bring up your child in such a way that he would understand that.

Of course, a line needs to be drawn at some age, where it is assumed a kid can think for himself. But before that, it is a responsibility of a parent.

Re:I.E. GTA (1)

krs-one (470715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065210)

But why should my rights be taken away (to play an M rated game) because of a few morons? Remember, your rights end where mine begin. I shouldn't be held responsible for others actions, and I should be able to play a game (listen to whatever, view whatever) that I want to play. Period.

-Vic

Re:I.E. GTA (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065977)

It just takes one bad parent with GTA3 and a handgun to give the media food for a year,

A year? More like five years, ten if the game is that big of a hit (think Doom). Watch, in another 10-15 years, someone will write a book about GTA3 and call it 'The Second Mortal Kombat' and restart the whole argument.

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Interesting)

kreyg (103130) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066108)

It just takes one bad parent with GTA3 and a handgun to give the media food for a year, the chances of something NOT happening are too small.

Do the odds change in any significant way if you only remove GTA3 from the equation though? Anyone influenced to violence by a video game already has enough issues that making games a scapegoat isn't going to help anybody.

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Insightful)

Dan Farina (711066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064884)

At 14? That doesn't seem too bad; children by that age shouldn't have a problem knowing that they should not re-enact behavior that they play.

Re:I.E. GTA (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064903)

I wouldn't count on it....see any high schoolers lately?

Re:I.E. GTA (4, Insightful)

Lynxara (775657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066489)

Sadly, I have to agree. I worked a stint in a high school library recently, and saw a lot of students who basically just imitated whatever they saw their friends doing with total disregard for whether or not it was a good idea. It seems entirely possible to get into high school and still be thinking on a very concrete, somewhat literalistic level, under which it's okay to do whatever you see people you like doing or whatever seems fun.

The problem is that it's never "just a videogame" that leads kids to commit acts of violence; there's always a lot more going on in their lives that leads up to the act. It's just so hard to convince people of that when the form of the crime explicitly imitates some game scenario or another, and seems to present a "simple" explanation.

Re:I.E. GTA (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#9070367)

Depends on the 14-year-old. I played GTA at that age, and it had no (noticable) effect on me. Some 14-year-olds may be inspired to go on shooting sprees. It's a judgement call for the parents. Unfortunately, parents whose kids might go on a GTA-inspired shooting spree are probably the same parents who aren't going to enforce rules about the games their kids play.

Re:I.E. GTA (1)

I am Kobayashi (707740) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065038)

Of course if it weren't video games it would be something else. Someone who is inspired to commit a crime or violent act because of a video game is going to be a bad apple even if there were no video games....

Re:I.E. GTA (0)

escher (3402) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065947)

Without video games, violent unstable people would have to turn to places like the Bible for inspiration for truely gruesome acts.

Re:I.E. GTA (2, Interesting)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066771)

I'm not the first to say this, I know, but I can't belive anyone would say that. To many of us, 'good old fasioned parenting' is in conflict with out beliefs. For instance, my parents raised me without a bedtime, something their parents would find apauling. My grandparents' parents would often physically discipline them, something the whole family line now finds apauling. Your riteous creed may be the way to take your family, by I don't have a problem with what that mother said. Unless the kid has gone on a killing spree since she said that, it oviously hasn't created a problem. Why keep the kid from having fun?

Personally, I do hate GTA. I find it repetative and not at all fun. I mention that so I don't come across as a rabid GTA fanboy.

[please censor]Urgent Help Needed!! (0, Troll)

Captain Goatse (715400) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064659)

Urgent Help Needed!!

I need more sites to satisfy my rare fetish - rabbits with things on their head. I only have one site at the moment, http://www.fsinet.or.jp/~sokaisha/rabbit/rabbit.ht m [fsinet.or.jp] , it has a lot of pictures, but it is sadly not enough. There's also http://www.analse.cx/ [analse.cx] , but that one is not that good. I thought about asking here on Slashdot where most people are like me, and this fetish can't be unique now, can it?

What I need is rabbits with the most crazy things [infoseek.co.jp] on their heads, carrots or pancakes is not enough, I need the most hardcore stuff that's out there. I don't know what I'll do if I can't get this, I'll probably go out and put things on the heads of people or something,

HELP PUL33ZU! NOW211~~~!1~~~

Oh, and before I forget: I've also got another fetish - brutal gorre hentai ^^ It's the same here, I've been there done that, I need more and better! If it's not as good as Doku Doku Ryouki Zukan [roshi.hu] (Not work safe!), don't even think of suggesting something. I don't really get off as easily when reading h-manga though as I do when watching them rabbits ^^

yeah its happened before and will again (3, Insightful)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064665)

I've seen this happen a few times. The most memorable one was with skateboarding. When it first came out there were laws passed banning skating and if you were out on the sidewalk on your board a cop would surely stop you. Now you can find public skate parks in most cities that are supported by the local government.
I'm sure when the printing press was invented, people freaked out just as bad at the thought of someone's opinion being widely available to anyone.

Skateboarding may not be a crime, but... (5, Insightful)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065131)

When it first came out there were laws passed banning skating and if you were out on the sidewalk on your board a cop would surely stop you. Now you can find public skate parks in most cities that are supported by the local government.
Perhaps that's not the best example to work with. Anything which enables someone to travel quickly on a sidewalk, possibly bumping people out of the way, will probably get jumped on by local authorities. They tend not to allow you to ride bicycles on the sidewalks, and driving a car is right out. (Trust me on this.)

The skatepark arose as a solution to that problem. They still can't let hooligans loose on crowded sidewalks with those things, so they sponsor a place where they can be used to full effect. (More often than not, though, I think the skateparks are owned by private individuals, not local governments.)

The skatepark isn't an overall acceptance of the hobby, it's just a solution to an old problem: where can someone use a skateboard that won't knock people over?

Re:Skateboarding may not be a crime, but... (1)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066228)

It wasn't so much that people were afraid of a small hard wheeled object on sidewalks, it was the damage that skateboards do to curbs, stairs, railings, and it was the blantand disregard for public safety that a lot of skaters had while riding on public areas. I wasn't afraid of a skater running into me, I was afraid of a skater trying some trick on a railing and shooting his board at high speed toward my head.
Skate parks weren't a solution because if it was, they would have been common a long time before they were. The skaters where I grew up tried to get a park built and were met by deaf ears and harsh opposition. Skaters and their friends grow up and take office in government, get jobs as teachers, or other things that give credibility and before too long public opinion changes to be more accepting.
Time is the real test. Skateboarding by itself is not a bad thing so it survived. Violence and gore in games is another. So far it has survived because enough people not only think its okay, but are willing to pay good money for it.

Re:yeah its happened before and will again (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067102)

(Disclaimer: I'm talking about 'blading in this post, not 'boarding.... that's just the kind of skating we got into.)

Yeah.... that's one that never ceased to baffle the fuck out of me. My friends and I used to skate everywhere and all the time. It was our primary way of getting around town. It was our way of getting exercise (And at the hight of our skating days, we really were in EXCELLENT shape.). It was a good way of socializing. And it was an avenue for some friendly competition. It was good, clean, HEALTHY, and harmless fun.

And we got no end of harassment from the pigs because of it.

I mean... WTF... would they prefer that we went home, sat on our asses, and played video games and did drugs? (Which was what we wound up doing, sometimes, when we'd get busted for skating. But that was usually the last choice after getting hassled more than a couple of times a day/night for skating.) Well, I guess so... that would give the pigs a chance to bust us "punk kids" for more than skating. But talk about some mixed fucking messages.

cya,
john

Re:yeah its happened before and will again (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067844)

Perhaps you should move? Up her ein my town their pretty relaxed about stuff like skate boards and roller blading. We have a huge river valley with dozens of paths near the river. We have the largest amount of parks of any town in north America.

It's Edmonton Albert, in Canada. Where the people are nice, the girls are horney(odd statistic, we represent the largest concentration of chat hosts in north america for the porn cam girls per capita), and the cost of living low.

Re:yeah its happened before and will again (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067922)

> Perhaps you should move?

I have moved, actually. Many times. The events described took place years ago, when I was still a teenager.

Nowadays, I live in San Francisco; so skating is not much of an option. While I'd, no doubt, get quite the good workout going UP the hills here; going DOWN those beasts on my 'blades would be near-suicidal.

cya,
john

Oh yeah... (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067147)

Skate parks are all well and good if all you are is a "trick" skater. But we weren't, really. We did the occasional jump over/through that $obstacle but most of our friendly competition was more along the lines of race from here to there... which brings up the second point:

Skate parks are completely, utterly, useless, if part of your reason for skating is to get from point $a to point $b; which was more than a small part of the reason for us.

cya,
john

While you are all hooting and hollering... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9064682)

Just try to remember this whole debacle in 30 years when you get the urge to support the censorship of your grandchildren's favorite medium.

Re:While you are all hooting and hollering... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065519)

I wonder what medium that will be.

Interactive neural webs?
Downloadable skill sets?

Hell, with the ways thiings are currently going, I wouldnt be suprised if my kids favorite activity is going to be sitting around the campfire, telling stories of the "old world," where food was abundant, yet unhealthy.. and millions of people lived like kings, but at the same time were trapped in their own prisons.

*cough*

Anyways, speculation on the "next" form of entertainment?

It's not going to happen... (4, Insightful)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064720)

Look at all the pot smoking hippies and free love of the 70's. Now that these people are in power, pot is still illegal, and obsenity laws are becoming more and more stringent.

It seems to me the 'newer generation' getting into power is being influenced by the current people at the top.

A bit disturbing (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064974)


70's: Left---Center---Right

90's: -------Left-----Center-----Right

What used to be considered middle of the road in the 70's is today considered Liberal Left.

How did THAT happen??

That is only a far-left point of view (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065067)

"What used to be considered middle of the road in the 70's is today considered Liberal Left."

This is something repeated by the far-left over and over again, but it doesn't make it true. There are many ideas that were considered to be left-wing back then that are getting close to being mainstream now (increasing government control of health care, animal rights, etc). Environmentalism ideas that were only found on the left back then are now found in the left, center, and even part of the right.

In the 00's it is "Left---Center---Right" just like it was in the 1990s.

Re:A bit disturbing (1)

EvanTaylor (532101) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066570)

40s: left-----center-----right
50s: left----center------right*
60s: left--center--------right*

*During this time heavy religious influence took over the Republican Party in many places in america through the abuse of quorums (sp?) and really pushed out the Liberal Republicans (Yes, there WERE Liberal Republicans). Also the 2 dimensions of political parties is wrong anyway, it's more like 4, for a basic understanding.

I personally find the smaller newer parties like Civil Libertarians and Green to be Essentially Left Wing Republicans (Libertarian), and Right Wing Democrats (Green). But not in the sense of what is currently considered left or right wing.

Re:It's not going to happen... (3, Insightful)

mapMonkey (207912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065010)

Couldn't it also be the case that all the "pot smoking and free love of the 70's" was recognized as a bad idea by the people who were doing it back then. Pot smoking, for all its harmlessness to the average college student, does have some side effects that are not healthy for the average working adult/parent. Free love is also not the barrel of laughs it typically appears to be.

Re:It's not going to happen... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065083)

I know of people that have been killed because of the effects of drinking.

I know of no one that pot has killed.

Deady drug abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065120)

" know of no one that pot has killed."

Check the crime stats. This is just another dangerous drug that is abused and causes brain damage. There are many DUI crimes involving injury and death where the intoxication is from marijuana abuse. It is less of a problem than alcohol abuse right now, because it is illegal and thus the abuse is greatly limited.

Re:Deady drug abuse (2)

JofCoRe (315438) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065199)

is less of a problem than alcohol abuse right now, because it is illegal and thus the abuse is greatly limited.

Bwahahahah. Good one. No, I don't have a point, I just wanted to laugh at that, and I have karma to burn :)

"when you lose small mind you free your life"

Re:Deady drug abuse (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065200)

Please provide a like to these stats.

Re:Deady drug abuse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065249)

You must be kidding....
There is a Frontline on POT where a significant number of DEA agents feel it is a waste of time enforcing this law.

It is quite silly to group all "drugs" into one group while Cigs and Booze destroy more lives then any "banned" drug.

Frontline (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065294)

Frontline is not known for fairness or accuracy.

"Cigs and Booze destroy more lives then any "banned" drug."

Of course. This is because the banned drugs are abused much less due to the problems associated with illegality.

Re:Frontline (3, Interesting)

JofCoRe (315438) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066557)

This is because the banned drugs are abused much less due to the problems associated with illegality

Uh-huh. So ask high school (or any other under-21 person) which is easier for them to get: weed or beer?

making it legal allows the government to better control it. making it illegal just creates a thriving black market. :)

Re:Frontline (1)

JofCoRe (315438) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066925)

How many times in one day can I forget to put that / in the closing tag? sheesh...

Re:Frontline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9071081)

Uh-huh. So ask high school (or any other under-21 person) which is easier for them to get: weed or beer?

I'm a year out of college, slightly older than the age you're talking about, but I'll answer anyway.

I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. Never had any interest in any of them whatsoever. But yet I can remember as far back as 8th grade it was common knowledge where to go if you wanted a pack of cigarettes. About halfway thru high school or so it became common knowledge where to get beer. When you start college, you know what stores will sell you beer before you know what your schedule is. These things came up so often it was harder not to know them than it was to know.

That said, I've never known where to get weed.

Re:It's not going to happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065621)

Thats because those people ARNT in power.

Its the other side, the people that hated the hippies, that gained power.

Hippies wanted to live in peace, and have very little drive for power.. Unlike most politicians.

Parents.... (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064736)

But as members of the video game generation become parents, teachers, journalists, cultural critics and policy makers, I think we'll see some of the criticism of games balanced by a better appreciation of how they enrich our lives and culture.

I think that what you will see in that once gamers become parents they will be horrified at how much time their children waste playing video games when they should be working to educate themselves.

Ed-j00-m'cation? (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9070780)

...will be horrified at how much time their children waste playing video games when they should be working to educate themselves
They are educating themselves.
I won't pretend that games are a replacement for schooling, but they're FAR from being completely "mindless", as so many critics claim. Not everything you need to know about the world can be found in a text book. :)

Re:Ed-j00-m'cation? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077830)

they're FAR from being completely "mindless", as so many critics claim.

Maybe not COMPLETELY mindless, but the difference is small enough to be inconsequential.

Not everything you need to know about the world can be found in a text book.

The only thing that you can't get from a textbook is experience applying the knowledge therein.

Enrichment (1, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064887)

Yes, I feel my cultural life is enriched by "Manhunt".

Ah... (2, Funny)

paRcat (50146) | more than 10 years ago | (#9064927)

Marge: Thank you, Doctor. Whenever the wind whistles through the leaves, I'll think of your name: Lowenstein... Lowenstein...

For bonus points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065451)

What was her real name?

Re:For bonus points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9066913)

You were supposed to forget it...

Re:For bonus points (1)

dewie (685736) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067295)

It's not for *bonus* points, it's an integral part of the quote! In fact, it's the best part! The quote is about 0.2 times as funny without it!

Marge: Thank you, Doctor. Whenever the wind whistles through the leaves, I'll think of your name: Lowenstein... Lowenstein...

Dr. Zweig: My name is Zweig.

Marge: [whispers] Lowensein...


Simpsons philistines.

Re:For bonus points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9069546)

Indeed. But it is a very _DIFFICULT_ simpsons quote.

I got someone with a "wiggle puppy" reference the other day.

It's not the medium, is the content (3, Insightful)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065211)

Every time a new medium is introduced - whether it be movies, television or rock-and-roll - there will always be generations who aren't accustomed to it, don't understand it and, in a way, fear its success and popularity with younger generations.

This is just plain stupid. It's not the medium that people are concerned with, it's the content of some games in this new medium. I am 29, and I still don't want my kids to see blood splattered all over their monitor when playing games. That just doesn't seem like a healthy thing for 14 year olds to be exposed to more than is neccessary. Even if they no it's not real, it de-sensitizes them to it and makes it more acceptible. If the only argument this guy can come up can be boiled down to "Old people suck!", then it's really not worth listening to.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9066729)

Really?

Apparently the reaction to the introduction of Cinema, Television and even books were about the same.
Oh my god, you can read about "immoral content", censor it...

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (3, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066763)

This is just plain stupid. It's not the medium that people are concerned with, it's the content of some games in this new medium. I am 29, and I still don't want my kids to see blood splattered all over their monitor when playing games. That just doesn't seem like a healthy thing for 14 year olds to be exposed to more than is neccessary. Even if they no it's not real, it de-sensitizes them to it and makes it more acceptible. If the only argument this guy can come up can be boiled down to "Old people suck!", then it's really not worth listening

The bloody splatter and such aren't unhealthy. The same with nudity and sex. The north american culture is unhealthy. Violence in context is very very repulsive. Violence in movies is glorified and made to be something it's not. In real life violence has consequences. People hurt, killing someone affects not only that person but everyone who knows him. If you have a violent scene in a game that has repercussions, that has emotional impact for some characters, then it's constructive. But the garbage hollywood and the game industry generates has no value. in GTA killing someone has very few consequences. It's problbly be a very diferent game if it did.

As for sex, that type of stuff should be taught. We should know how sex works and whats "normal". They should known porn is fake, and they should leanr what you do, why you do it and the consequences if you don't take precautions. The last few generations of parent shave been very negligent in teaching this and thats why the US has a very high rate of teen pregnancies compared to the rest of the western world.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

be951 (772934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067060)

The bloody splatter and such aren't unhealthy. ... The north american culture is unhealthy.

That's debatable.

As for sex, that type of stuff should be taught. We should know how sex works and whats "normal". ... The last few generations of parent shave been very negligent in teaching this and thats why the US has a very high rate of teen pregnancies compared to the rest of the western world.

I disagree. Students get this information in high school and/or junior high. I think the real problem (both with teen pregnancy and violence/other problems) is that kids don't consider the consequences of their actions --either because they don't think they'll get caught or because they think they can get out of it if they do.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067463)

Students get this information in high school and/or junior high.

Better check your school. A lot of them now are teaching boys and girls that they have evil monsters between their legs that should never be touched or shown to anyone else.

Or whatever other lies the religious right wants them to teach this year, hoping that by keeping people stupid, they'll somehow teach them to overcome their natural reproductive urges.

Source? (1)

be951 (772934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067586)

Do you have a source for that, or are you just trying to stir up anti-religious FUD?

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9068036)

Better check your school. A lot of them now are teaching boys and girls that they have evil monsters between their legs that should never be touched or shown to anyone else.
Not really. All I've seen is that the schools are only now teaching the students honestly about sex - and that is even wihtin a Catholic school. The same Catholic school provided courses on personal morals and world religions after providing the standard religion courses up to Grade 10 or so (a time where faith in religion sometimes begins to fade.)

The only place where sex does not get taught in schools (at least in the American culture) would be in Bible Belt areas. From what I understand, that is the only place where monsters [netfunny.com] get told about when there is absolutly no other information about sex available (requiring people to find out from themselves).

Or whatever other lies the religious right wants them to teach this year, hoping that by keeping people stupid, they'll somehow teach them to overcome their natural reproductive urges.
Church-sanctioned lying, as demonstrated years and years ago, serves only to undermine the faith of those who already believe in the religion. The only thing it does is create fragments of the parent religion (aside from Henry VIII's Anglican Church) and stifle progress in advancing humanity from a simple despotism.

Besides, you should provide sources to actually support your theory of "lie of the year". That way, there is an actual record of which areas to avoid raising your children in order to raise them with a proper religious upbringing.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9068471)

OK, not yet in the US, but there are cases of Church sanctioned lying out there:

Condoms are made with holes that allow AIDS to pass through [guardian.co.uk] . As if the original claim wasn't bad enough, read to the bottom and note that there is (admittedly hearsay) claims that people are being told that condoms are laced with AIDS in the first place.

Or, if you want a little closer to home, you can see what people think about Bush's abstinence-only sex ed drive:
How we look and act abroad [guardian.co.uk]

Admittedly Fox News, but opens with a great quote [foxnews.com] : "(Abstinence education) tells teens they have a choice," said Jennifer Marshall, family issues director for the Heritage Foundation ... and what would this be, a choice between no sex, and ignorant unprotected sex?

I only have ancedotal evidence for this (my boss's wife is an OB/GYN) but there are people out there who at least make a good show of ignorance about their own body. His wife has seen patients who apparently didn't know that they don't pee from their vagina. Some who didn't know that they were pregnant at late stages - with high obesity rates, who notices a few extra pounds around the middle? Hormone treatments, The Pill, and the crap in our environment already mess with periods, even more so in young people who haven't established a regular enough cycle to notice missing a month or two yet.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (2, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067781)

If this is debatable then ask why the japanese don't have as high a rate of violence even though their media is argubly more violent.

And explain how Europe has low teen pregnancy and rampant sex init's media. They also have a very developed sex education system. Even canada has lower rates then America, we are taught about sex starting in grade 7.

In many states, there is legislation making it illegal to teach sex ed. In the same states teen pregnancy is higher then the national average. The states are freely available from states on the US.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

be951 (772934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072378)

The U.S. has gotten away from stressing personal responsibility in favor of moral relativism. Such as the notion that it is understandable (if not okay) to resort to crime if you're poor and a minority because it is too hard to make it any other way. Similarly, there are two irresponsible attitudes that contribute to teen pregnancy in the U.S. (which has been declining steadily for over a decade, by the way). On one hand, there is the line of thinking that "well, she can just get an abortion if she gets knocked up" and on the other is the reasoning that being a "baby's momma" is a good way to bind yourself to a man, along with the thinking that "I'll just go on public assistance when I get my baby". The UK has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe. The similarity between the US and UK may be more closely related to their similar issues of ethnic makeup, immigration and poverty that are significantly different from other developed nations than education.

I will agree that more and better education would help, but still dispute the notion that kids today don't know that sex causes pregnancy.

In many states, there is legislation making it illegal to teach sex ed. In the same states teen pregnancy is higher then the national average. The states are freely available from states on the US.

But you didn't know how to post a link?

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075732)

You then must consider Canada. We have a very very similiar ethnic mix, but have lower teen pregnancy. Stats for Canada and the united States [statcan.ca] . Check the 15-19 range for the US and Canada. We have under half of what you have. As well we have ghettos and a comprehensive plan to support single mothers, more so then the states. I am a minority group that has some of this happen (chinese) and I work and interact with another minority group that has this happen rampantly (Black/Jamaican). And still our rates are 1/2 yours. Why? We have Sex ed starting at grade 7 in each and every school, catholic or otherwise (The new islamix schools most likly will not). Thats one reason there are many more, it's not black and white but it does help.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

be951 (772934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9076271)

I still blame the minorities [teenpregnancy.org] . I say that partly in jest, but if you look at the link, one of the charts (page 2) shows the rates for various ethnicities. The rate for white (non hispanic) is actually pretty close to that in Canada, though still a bit higher.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078682)

Wealth and education tends to lower teen pregnancy. Inccidentally teen pregnancy tends to impede getting wealth or education. So it's a vicious little circle.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9070044)

OK, back to the topic at hand of games. Games would fall into the category of unrealistic pretty much every time. As much as you want to say that 14(ish) kids can distinguish from real and a game or movie, repeated exposre to it is just not good. I'm not sure if you agree with me or if you're just trying to come off as some better-than-though liberal.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078779)

Basically, what I am is a compassionate conservative. I don't beleive violence causes violence but I also don't believe the portrayal of violence in north america is a good thing.

I'd really rather let children see a sex scene(which they will eventually do, just not too soon) then see a violent act(which I hope to god they do not do).

Americans heavily protect their children from every thign and it does absolutly nothing to make them better people or more responsible people. Europeans expose their children to lots of things and they tend to be better off for it(UK excepted, their like Americans in their attitudes).

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9067452)

> I am 29, and I still don't want my kids to see blood splattered all over their monitor when playing games. That just doesn't seem like a healthy thing for 14 year olds

[Gets out calculator] Also keep them away from whatever it was that got you into procreating at 15.

Re:It's not the medium, is the content (3, Interesting)

TheLoneDanger (611268) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067537)

Yes, some games have objectionable content (Manhunt or Soldier of Fortune come to mind), but this is a very small minority of games. There are an extremely small number of games that come even close to having the graphic violence of your average summer action movie or slasher flick. In fact, I personally find ACTUAL blood and violence as shown on TV newscasts (or those captured on camera, something attacks shows) much more disturbing as it exploits real violence and suffering for shock value.

My point (and Lowenstein's, I think) is that the average videogame doesn't really have that much in the way of graphic violence. The media tends to take one or two examples and blow them out of proportion, because it is easier to incite people against what they don't understand (currently videogames). The violence that does exist just isn't nearly as bad as the few extreme examples.

It's not old people suck, it's older people don't understand younger people and always think they are going down some wrong path because they don't think it's the same path they took. This is true for every generation, and perhaps always will be.

This isn't a different medium (2, Insightful)

pudge_lightyear (313465) | more than 10 years ago | (#9065221)

Yeah... his is a great arguement, but this isn't a different medium than movies, tv, computer games, etc. They are all visual and watched through a TV set or monitor. Most video games are full of FMV's, many from popular movies. Why can you not discuss censorship just because the movie is played on a ps2 rather than a dvd player?... oh wait... both are DVD players.

These arguements are just attempts to change the subject and not deal with the matter at hand.

gamerdad sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9065323)

This guy is such an uptight asshole.

Just shut the fuck up and monitor what your kids do. Be a parent. Don't make other people do it for you through censorship.

Testimony of Douglas Lowenstein (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066473)


he's made good comments

Eh? (0, Flamebait)

jo42 (227475) | more than 10 years ago | (#9066714)


How does running around shooting and blowing things up "enrich our lives and culture"?

Don't get me wrong, I used to play games - a lot. Then one day I realized what a complete total waste of time it was. There is more to life than sitting in front of a computer, getting fat, and smacking keys or diddling the joystick to get a higher score...

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9066900)

And that is the point where you realized that you should spend much more time on slashdot, right?

Re:Eh? (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067112)

How does looking at a paiting of a sunflower, or watching people hit a ball with a stick and run around "enrich our lives and culture"?
Its all a means to entertain ourselves, divert our attention from the stresses of life.

Better Alter-Media Examples (1)

NaugaHunter (639364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067062)

would be Comic Books and Dungeons & Dragons. Both were chastised for years for their portrayals of sex/violence/whatever, not much any longer because they've been around awhile and have shown to not really have a significant negative effect.

Not to say they don't still get flak, but it's not the news media stopper it once was mainly because they have been around awhile. Yes, partially because they've been replaced, but as the same types who use them play video games it would be zero effort to lump them together if the news media thought it would mean something to anyone.

Enrich our lives and culture (-1, Redundant)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9067625)

Yeah, enrich our lives.

Re:Enrich our lives and culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9067649)

whoa, some spastic errors in keystrokes resulted in me submitting before i even got going with my post. now i'm wholly disenchanted. apologies.

We're seeing this happen already (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9069514)

I look at it this way, within a few years, we'll start seeing this change that Doug Lowenstein is talking about. In fact, we're already seeing this take place:

1) Sen. Joe Lieberman, the main person who started this, has toned down his rhetoric over the last couple of years. Lieberman has even said that the ESRB is the best rating system in all of entertainment.

2) California recently rejected two bills that would have regulated the industry.

3) Federal Courts have said that video games are protected by the First Amendment and have rejected appeals of lawsuits claiming that "violent content" in some games caused the Columbine and Paducah school shootings.

4) In fact, IMO, some of the main critics now have no credibility whatsoever. Jack Thompson has single-handedly made PROSTITUTION more noble than his own profession. Thompson has also damaged whatever miniscule credibility he had by lumping Wal-Mart into that lawsuit in Tennessee(even though Wal-Mart has a ID policy that's been in place since even before 9/11) and by filing a complaint with the FCC over a episode of Howard Stern's radio show two weeks ago.(Never mind the fact that Stern's no longer on in Florida thanks to Clear Channel.) Dave Grossman looks like Forrest Gump's more retarded evil twin who rode the short bus just to get his degree from a box of Froot Loops.

BearDogg-X

What I'm wondering is... (2, Insightful)

Glamdrlng (654792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078219)

As a 26 year old, what up-and-coming trend/technology/pastime am I going to want to legislate out of existence when I'm a crotchety old bastard? At what point will we collectively quit being intimidated by that which we don't understand?

Re:What I'm wondering is... (1)

Crispin Cowan (20238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088479)

Go read a Neal Stephenson novel and take your pick :-)

Crispin

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