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Don't Blame The Games, Blame The Parent

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the talking-some-sense dept.


jayintune writes "2old2play has an interesting article up on the recent push for more laws on videogame sales to children. It goes over the history of violent crime amongst teens and how it relates to the new surge in videogame-related legislation. Do laws really help our children or is it ultimately the parents role to decided?" From the article: "I'd say by the time a kid is three or four, he or she should know it's not okay to hit someone else. The child should be aware violence is not an acceptable response. Parents, grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers... anyone older than a child should reinforce certain societal values and traits. Kids should and mostly do know better. I talked with a psychologist who told me children can separate reality from fiction at about nine or ten years of age. Well, "pre-teen" is what he said. At that age, they know what's on TV isn't real, what's in a video game isn't real. Video games are easier; they're basically just moving cartoons."

cancel ×


Two words. (4, Funny)

kunwon1 (795332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404339)

'No shit!'

Re:Two words. (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404522)

That's right. My roommate's mother gave me trouble for working on a baseball video game for kids when I was at Atari that forces kids to stay indoors instead of going outside. I told her it was the parent's responsibility to raise their children that they brought into the world by screwing around. That didn't go over too well with her.

Re:Two words. (2, Funny)

killermookie (708026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404523)

I'm sorry, but your reply has been rated M, therefore the majority of Slashdot users are forbidden to read it unless their parents do so for them.

Where is the disconnect? (5, Insightful)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404341)

When I was a kid the hype was all about violence in cartoons.. I watched them but I never dropped an anvil or piano on someone (not to say I didn't want rocket-powered roller skates).

I think people give far less credit to kids and their concepts of reality vs make believe.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404377)

(not to say I didn't want rocket-powered roller skates).

You mean they *aren't* real!

You spoiled my dreams! I'll see you in court!

Re:Where is the disconnect? (3, Funny)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404508)

"Hello, Acme Lawyers of Walla Walla Washington? Yes. I was riding my rocket-powered roller skates down the road minding my own business when WHAM I drove straight into a cliff face. The odd thing was I thought it was a tunnel. It sure looked like a tunnel. I saw Winckle sneaking off with a can of paint. I don't even think I would have noticed him were it not for the guy in the bushes playing sneaking music on the oboe. I want to sue him for a million-trillion dollars and a Illudium PU36 Explosive Space Modulator.

Yes, I'll hold."

Re:Where is the disconnect? (2, Insightful)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404380)

And now I notice that they rarely -- if ever -- show the oldie-but-goodie cartoons such as Looney Toons, Tom & Jerry, etc. Maybe it's that there are so many new cartoons that they don't have enough time to show the classics. But it also looks like the cartoon-violence crazies may have won.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404420)

But instead they have tons of other characters with more realistic weapons causing violence.

Re:Old cartoons (2, Informative)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404554)

They've been placed on the Boomerang [] network.

The Google entry [] for that page says "Go to for more information about our 24-hour network for classic cartoons!", but that's a completely unrelated site. It's also in the page's description tag, which is where Google gets it from. Anybody know what happened to that domain?

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404411)

I agree. Kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for.

Don't forget, we evolved over many years; most of our history has included pretty tramatic things, like losing one or both parents, maybe getting lost.

Its nice to have some science in this debate finally; maybe that will quell parents fears. Of course science doesn't seem to stop creationists from presenting their 'theory'.. maybe I'm hoping for too much.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404452)

Well I did drop a piano on a kid after watching cartoons when I was a kid. He didn't get up and I was scarred for life because of it! I wish my parents would have told me dropping pianos on people would actually hurt them.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (3, Insightful)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404469)

That is interesting...

I remember being lectured over and over as a child that television and cartoons are fiction, I also remember trying to explain to adults that I understood the concept.

I have always had a very vibrant imagination and a good memeory for detail I think this is why I like science Fiction like Stargate, BSG, B5 and Star Trek... I can ususaly keep the minor details of the setting sorted out (without focusing on how "unrealistic" it all is) which usualy makes these kinds of shows more enjoyable.

I think grounding your kids too deeply in reality is a bad idea... children need to have there imaginations stimulated otherwise they lose them... having said that parents should do there best to be involved in there childs life for a number of reasons but in this case mostly to make sure they don't get to out of touch with reality.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404494)

I think people give far less credit to kids and their concepts of reality vs make believe.

that's because most adults cannot seperate reality from fantasy and believe in gods and crap like that /i love trolling with the truth

Re:Where is the disconnect? (2, Insightful)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404525)

When I was a kid the hype was all about violence in cartoons

I remember a strong reaction to Dungeons & Dragons. Interesting, really - at that point in time (early 80's) they seemed to think the biggest threat to children was their own imaginations.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

esper (11644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404735)

Didn't you read any of the anti-D&D propaganda? They weren't trying to protect us from anything as innocent as our own imaginations - D&D was a real training program, intended to teach us to cast spells in real life and gently lead us into worshipping Satan!

*sigh* If only the truth of it had been that exciting...

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405018)

You wouldn't be talking about This tripe [] , would you? I know the URL looks shady, but its some Christian cartoonist.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (2, Informative)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405648)

You wouldn't be talking about This tripe, would you?

Wow, that's really over the top! There was some of this pressure, but it was only at church - where they were pretty much opposed to everything. What I'm talking about is the idea that D&D would somehow make us all become delusional and believe we were living the lives of our game characters, like the main character in Mazes And Monsters [] . It's loosely based on actual events. (Very loosely.) It's embarrassing to admit just how many people thought this was an accurate depiction of what happened to people when they played too many RPGs.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404621)

I played tons of Wolfenstein, Doom, and other such violent games when I was a kid. I don't think it had any affect on me. All my friends were playing the same games, and we didn't turn out that bad. Then again, things are a little different now. Games are now much more realistic, and instead of killing nazis, or demons from hell, we're killing cops. They try to mimic real life much more. I think that games can be bad for kids who already have inadequate parenting, and these are the same kids who will be playing age-inappropriate games. I wouldn't let my 5 year old play games like GTA, but most likely my teenager would be allowed to play. I grew up in the era that invented Parental Advisory labels on Rap albums, with songs like cop killer. It didn't screw me up, but for kids that are already screwed up, it could end up giving them the wrong message.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405107)

Games are now much more realistic, and instead of killing nazis, or demons from hell, we're killing cops.

My grandfathers killed Nazis, You Insensitive Clod!

Re:Where is the disconnect? (1)

ShortBeard (740119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406501)

I agree.

I loved watching the Looney tunes cartoons as well as others.
There was a Bugs Bunny cartoon with Pete Puma wherein Bugs repeatedly asks "How many lumps ya want". After he got an answer he would pound Pete that many times in the head. I have not seen it since I was a child although I will still watch them now.

In my life I have been in two fights (both inconclusive) and slapped one person (twenty years ago) and never used a hammer or other tool to strike someone's head or body.

Sure, I might blow up one day. So might you.

I like my cat.

Re:Where is the disconnect? (2, Insightful)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15407120)

The people who say that games and cartoons are making kids hurt each other, are the same ones that say the Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter are going to destroy Christianity. They are looking for a defense of their insecurities about being a parent, and find them in things that make people think or act differently from how they were raised.

Childish rant.... (-1, Troll)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404356)

Wow, incoherent random blog entry from some guy who thinks he's saying something new.

I lost count of the straw men in there about midway through...

It's a shame (5, Insightful)

aitikin (909209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404364)

I've been hearing this from people in the social and psychological fields since shortly after Columbine. The shame is that Jack Thompson and his band of conservaative game haters never heard it or never listened to it. Studies have been done for years that prove this, very few that prove the contrary, and yet only the ones that prove the contrary seem to make the news outside of slashdot and gaming boards.

Re:It's a shame (2, Insightful)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404409)

John Stewart said it best when trying to explain why everyone getting main media attention seems to be a nutcase. To paraphrase, he said it was very hard to get a mob to form around you if you stand in the streat and keep screaming "Be reasonable! Just be reasonable!".

Re:It's a shame (2, Interesting)

esper (11644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404690)

Yup... There was a guy I went to college with, die-hard Republican, back when the Iran-Contra thing was hot. One of the left-wing groups on campus had a big rally one day to protest it and all the local news stations showed up. This guy rounded up a couple of his buddies and set up across the street to protest against lime jello.

Hundreds of people protesting a real issue on one side. Three loonies claiming lime Jello should be banned because it killed one of their mothers on the other side. Guess which way the TV cameras were pointed... (Hint: The Iran-Contra protesters were not happy about being ignored.)

Re:It's a shame (0, Offtopic)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404614)

It's like the marriage issue. They don't do much of anything to help men and women engage in appropriate activities to encounter each other to get married. They don't do much of anything to teach people how to behave in a manner to avoid divorce.

What is the big push for? What is the thing that is constantly touted as the salvation of marriage?

Why keeping non-one man, one woman, couples from acquiring the label of being married, of course!

Re:It's a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15405000)

Well, if you filter the information so that you only hear what you want to hear then this is probably what you have heard from social and psychological fields since Columbine.

It is generally accepted in psychological fields that a vividly imagined experience has a similar effect on a person as a real experience. This is a very important concept because it is used heavily in sports psychology as well in helping people deal with their fears. The reason this is important is that practically every army in the world now uses videogames as a method of conditioning their soldiers for battle; they have had limited success, and it has been demonstrated that as games get more realistic their ability to emulate battle field conditions improves.

The question that is on everyone's mind is what happens when videogames are (practically) capable of emulating reality? When you have 1,000,000 people playing a very realistic World War 2 simulation on their PS4 what will it do to their minds?

I'm not saying "videogames are bad" but the question is what are the consequences of our actions? Remembering that (from my experience) at least 10% of the population has a very loose grasp of reality to begin with?

Re:It's a shame -- "I hate Mondays" (3, Insightful)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405571)

I've been hearing this a lot too and it's pure BS. In the 70s a young girl took a gun to school and killed several of her classmates. When asked why, "I hate Mondays" was her only reply. (IIRC, a punk rock song came out of that incident.) This girl was not the only student to commit such violence at a school in the 70s. You can't blame GTA or any other violent game for that; all that was available at that time was pinball and the early Atari games. This has been going on longer than there have been violent video games. Why are they focusing on video games being a cause now when this problem obviously began -- and well withing living memory -- before these kind of video games existed?

Thing is, a lot of people who advocate this are the same age as me or even older so they should remember these incidents too, which makes me wonder what kind of brain-washing techniques the leaders of this movement are using.

This may sound cliché but, (4, Insightful)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404365)

Hitler did not have video games. Neither did Ghengis Khan or Alexander the Great. It is up to the parents to raise their children properly. Kids are a product of their whole environment, not just video games.

And sometimes... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404431)

And sometimes you will still get a violent child. It happens, sometimes. Nature overriding nurture and so forth.

Re:This may sound cliché but, (1)

SgtPepperKSU (905229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404455)

Bzzzzzzzt [] . You lose.

Re:This may sound cliché but, (2, Funny)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404563)

Heber's Law: As an online discussion which has invoked Godwin's Law grows longer, the probability that someone will point it out approaches one.

Re:This may sound cliché but, (2)

Blinocac200sx (955087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404669)

Godwins law requires a comparison. IE "Hitler probably would have banned video games". But here Hitler was used as an example of someone who never played video games and still commited violence.

Grr... (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404922)

I'm really sick of this. Godwin's law states that any discussion long enough will eventually come around to Nazis/Hitler.

Nobody loses.

Where did these stupid kids get this idea?

It even says so in your frickin' link.

Godwin's Law - the idea (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405554)

Further on in the page, it says:
There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.

And if you looked at the talkback page, in the section called "good or bad?" you'd see my comment that says that the article's opening focus underemphasizes the tradition that whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress, which is what most people seem to think of when referring to Godwin's Law.

I'll second that (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404457)

I am a parent and I plan to be as active as I can in the media that my kids will enjoy.

That said, I think ratings are a critical tool to help a parent but the current rating systems suck. There really needs to be something more along the lines of an indicator of what the content is rather than some arbitrary scale that means nothing to me. It goes without saying that I do not agree with censorship at all but there should be something to help us understand what the content is so a parent can choose how a child digests it (if at all).

Re:I'll second that (1)

Masami Eiri (617825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404532)

Then read closer. There are descriptors, and they're usually more descriptive than the ones the MPAA slaps on movies.

Re:I'll second that (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405134)

I purchased a video game today. The rating tag reads:

E 10+
Fantasy Violence
Mild Language
Mild Suggestive Themes
Use of Alcohol and Tobacco

You have to flip the box over to get that as there's just the non-descriptive rating on the front of the box, but that looks pretty good to me. There's usually also some text and screenshots on the packaging that would let a concerned parent know a little about the game. I guess I don't understand where you see the problem.

Re:I'll second that (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405938)

I forgot about the descriptions on the back; my kid is too young for games yet so I still only buy for myself.

Looking at the website and the descriptions there it always feels like there is a subjective element that comes in with the ratings. I guess that's always going to be the case since context/culture/maturity seem to change the severity of an "act". So what one person finds is Mild Violence might not be to another. I just wish there could be a better measure but I guess this is a subjective matter in the end.

I guess this leads to your point about the text and screenshots on the box. It really does come down to a parent looking into something thoroughly before you let your kids consume it.

Blame, blame, blame (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404426)

Blame the game or blame the parent? WTF. It's all of the above and more. Does anyone honestly it's as simplistic as "it's the games fault that Johnny went postal" or "it's his parents fault that Johnny went postal"? Actually I guess there are people that do.

Listen up folks, regardless of which camp you fall into, you're both wrong. When someone performs such acts it's almost always a complex interaction between many factors. The child themself, their parents, their friends, their environment, all those things factor into how one acts/reacts. There is no such thing as "perfect" parenting. You could apply the exact same parenting style to two different kids and get to very differently behaved kids. Ditto the other factors. What happens is that all these factors play together and if you get the right (or wrong depending on your perspective) then something bad can happen. Blindly trying to blame a single point of failure, while comforting to many, almost never works.

That is what is so upsetting about both extremes of this debate. On the one side you have folks who want to ban violent video games. On the other (and many on /. fall into this category) are those who claim that the media (including video games) have NOTHING to do with it and responsibility falls on the parents. Both are right and both are wrong.

Re:Blame, blame, blame (1)

KevMar (471257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405573)

While you have some very valid points, parenting has alot to do with it. The parents of these kids have been poor parents for a long time. It not that there is one correct way to raise a kid, but the leasons they need to learn are the same. These parent have failed to teach there kids how to behave correctly and most cases have lost toutch with them. You have to be a parent from day one.

If you possibly could blame the games, its because of over exposure to them. Something that proper parenting could correct. The story never reads "Johny spends all his time with his parents and just got his first video game so he decided to kill some classmates", its more common to see "Johny comes home to an empty house after school because both parents are working and he fills the time playing violent games."

seriously people.

of course... (5, Insightful)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404437)

Back in the "old days" it was the Waltz, then there was the Tango, the Charleston and then...

1950s OH MY GOD THE WORLD IS OVER, Rock and Roll... our children are being corrupted

1960s OH MY GOD, ELVIS is such a good boy, but those BEATLES

1970s TV is KILLING my Children

1980s HORROR MOVIES are KILLING my Children

1990s NIVARNA are forcing Children to top themselves

And of course now its Video Games which are forcing Children into a life of violence.

This is just another great "Aunt Sally" for politicians and "academics" to debate and get money from. If it wasn't this they'd be battering on at Cartoons for glorifying violence (there is nothing in Doom III worse than the violence of Tom and Jerry or Roadrunner). The young are ALWAYS being corrupted in the minds of the elders, and what corrupted them in their youth is now seen as innocent.

And have you noticed... its always the over 40s who start wars... something must be making them do it.... I blame mugs of hot chocolate.

And lets not forget when Marge banned "Itchy and Scratchy"

Re:Doom III (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404644)

"(there is nothing in Doom III worse than the violence of Tom and Jerry or Roadrunner)" ...other than those evil demons/zombies throwing fire and ripping people apart, and the blood everywhere, and the... You get my point.

Re:of course... (2, Interesting)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404724)

One thing people never mention is when God ordered the death of someone for working on a sunday, now I know I don't have a right to challenge Him; but surely God is more important than a videogame, especially in a country where most people are active in their faith... why did no one say "that kid at columbine had read the bible, people were killed in the bible, it must be the bible's fault, ban the bible" instead they blame Manson (even though they weren't fans anyway).

Video games are on the whole no more violent than the bible, they often contain messages of hope or the idea of good winning... I always fail to see why people always blame games

Re:of course... (0, Flamebait)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404725)

Aside from the fact that I don't know what Nivarna is(I think you mean Nirvana), you're totally right. Actually, it goes back further than Rock and Roll. When novels were first introduced, they were demonized by preachers.
I blame religion. 99% of deaths were caused by very religiously devoted people(And before you even mention Communism, the Communist cults of personality without which Stalin and Mao would have fallen were religions, just not called that.) From the Romans to the Crusades to the War on Terror(both Bush and Osama are religious nuts), religion is the source of our problems. When the church controlled everything, we were in the Dark Ages.(And when they started loosening up, we were in the Renaissance.)

Re:of course... (1)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404848)

99% of deaths were caused by very religiously devoted people(

Interesting and completely unfounded statistic. I'd say that a pretty big chunk of deaths are caused by old age and disease.

And before you even mention Communism, the Communist cults of personality without which Stalin and Mao would have fallen were religions, just not called that.

In that case you should probably use a different word since most people mean something different when they say 'religion.' Generally i doesn't involve atheistic beliefs.

When the church controlled everything, we were in the Dark Ages.

During the Dark ages, the church was one of the few places to preserve knowledge and learning. You can thank the church that the Dark Ages weren't worse.

Re:of course... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405045)

I'd say that a pretty big chunk of deaths are caused by old age and disease.
Replace deaths with killings, and the majority of such were caused by religion.
In that case you should probably use a different word since most people mean something different when they say 'religion.' Generally i doesn't involve atheistic beliefs.
Mao's portrait was forced to be in every single home in China. Although officially atheist, the people of Russia and China were essentially forced to worship the communist revolutionaries as gods. If not a religion, Soviet Communism was close enough.

Re:of course... (1)

TimboJones (192691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405834)

The line between personality cult and religion is blurry and ill-defined.

Does a word exist that encompasses both? I'm not aware of one.

Re:of course... (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15407189)

Aside from the fact that I don't know what Nivarna is(I think you mean Nirvana)

Nice job dude. Way to demonstrate your ignorance of history, human nature, and even statistics, in a badly written paragraph full of parentheses and scapegoating. What was that you were saying, about a spelling error?

I probably shouldn't take your lame remark too personally though, since it isn't even my typo. []


D&D (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405893)

For those that want a little history, can somebody here dig up some of the good ol' days of D&D witch-hunts? D&D promotes devil-worship, etc etc....

Itchy and Scratchy (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405952)

Itchy and Scratchy was a criticism towards the hipocricy of extreme right-wing groups and the corruption of the media.

Like when the women helped Marge in banning Itchy and Scratchy... but then they were scandalized at Michael Angelo's David and Marge was accused of treason. Then the TV company saw this and played Itchy and Scratchy again.

The same hipocricy and nonsense can be seen in the "conservative christian" groups banning the .xxx domain.

I also find the entertainment media hipocritical - instead of accepting that they *COULD* be *PARTLY* responsible, they blame EVERYTHING on the parents. It would be a scandal that censorship might *GASP* take away their profits! (Shock!)

I think that BOTH the media and parents are responsible. (Of course, this will get me flamed by people from BOTH sides).

Extremists (both left and right wing) just put noise into the environment and don't let the public take the right choices.

Re:of course... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406142)

Video games have been a "target" of the "thought police" (as it were) ever since the days when a video game was a large wooden cabinet that you needed to put 20c into in order to play.

And even before that, electromechanical and mechanical machines of amusment were targets (Pinball was a big target for years).

I grew up playing games on the Nintendo and on PC (including Doom and C&C) and I am perfectly normal. Oh wait, no-one who posts to slashdot can be perfectly normal :)

I mustn't be hearing right... (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404443)

So in fact, what he's saying is that games arent the greater evil that drives our teens nuts ? That in fact parents should take responsiblity and raise them better... wow, I must be dreaming....

We have to admit that movies & games *are* getting more and more explicit & gory in days where we actually attempt to control that very same violence. ESRB just being there to relieve the non caring parents from having to decide what's good for their kids or not. Sure I could believe that a mentally challenged kid could see a movie like...hum..Doom, Silent Hill or play a game like God of War and start thinking its right but we know that the kid is ...not right to begin with so you can't really blame the media but the person who allowed the media to be in contact with the mentally challenged kid.

I've been playing countless violent games and watched even more violent movies and yet my last fight goes back to when i was in high school and merely resulted in a bloody nose and a hand that hurted like hell.

sports=violence? (1)

dick pubes (963843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404477)

Well, then what about sports - i.e. football, lacrosse, hockey. They all involve hitting people, fairly hard too. I can think of many more high school/college jocks that beat up people, than other people who were playing vid games. Let's ban football - oh wait, that would be "unAmerican".

Re:sports=violence? (5, Interesting)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404500)

Just as an interesting aside that your comment reminded me of, I was watching Real TV, or at least a similar show, basically video clips of crazy stuff happening. Anyways, there's one of a teenage ice hockey game going on where a fight breaks out. Big brawl, involving a number of players from both sides. One kid out there thinks that the fighting is stupid and a waste of time, so to protest and stop the fight, he takes his shirt off, and drops his pants, while skating around the rink.

That probably wouldn't have been my first idea had I been in his case, but people started cheering for him, and everyone stopped fighting to see what was going on. So his plan worked. What made it more interesting, however, was that someone in the stands didn't approve, and called the cops. And the cops arrested him for indecent exposure, and took him to jail.

I'm not anti-sport, or even anti-violent sports like hockey and football, but I think that it's amazing that in the midst of all that fighting, the guy that goes to jail is the pacifist who felt like taking his clothes off. It wasn't really lewd or sexual(unlike the infamous superbowl incident). He caused a fight to stop. He stopped people from trying to hurt each other. And someone found that offensive enough to call the cops. That just, to me, says something very strange about our culture.

Life imitates a movie: Slap Shot (3, Informative)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404618)

The hockey player striptease is the climactic scene in the classic movie Slap Shot [] .

Re:sports=violence? (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405568)

That just, to me, says something very strange about our culture

In America, movies that have people being decapitated get rated PG-13. But you see one female nipple it's rated R.

So apparently sex is bad, and violence is good, or at least bearable. Strange culture indeed.

Educating the parent (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404505)

Theory 1:
Back in the old days, parent had other people to rely on, and to some extent get some education on being a parent from.

Theory 2:
These days parents have more responsibilities that keep them away from their kids, so they don't get the feel of what a kid really is.

Theory 3:
If #2 is true then parents have less of an idea what is appropriate for their kids.

Theory 4:
If #1 is true, then new sources should be created to replace the lost ones.
Are parent's incentive to learn and resources available from which to learn sufficient to satisfy society's stake in having parents educated?

Re:Educating the parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15405917)

"then new sources should be created to replace the lost ones." = internet. Google "parenting".

Purity of source Re:Educating the parent (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406726)

That isn't a very effective method of assuring purity of source.

Subject, meet summary... (1)

frostfreek (647009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404548)

How did Zonk get that title from that blurb???

On a slightly different topic, how am I supposed to monitor my child all the time to make sure he's not doing violent things, when it takes time away from me playing VIOLENT VIDEOGAMES!

Re:Subject, meet summary... (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15407230)

Hey, it beats giving up murdering hookers!

Not just moving cartoons (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404568)

Video games are easier; they're basically just moving cartoons.

If you play modern first person shooters, they can be very realistic. The graphics are superb these days. Not 100% perfect, but far better than 'moving cartoons'. You can get totally immersed in the game and begin to think about the game also when you are not playing it. The level of realism possible will only improve in the future. Obviously the author has never played this sort of game, and ought to try it before claiming to know about games.

However it is still correct that it is the parents' responsibility to ensure that their children play games that they consider suitable for their age, and to limit the number of hours they play. Just please don't pretend that it's OK for children to play all games because they are like cartoons. Some aren't.

Re:Not just moving cartoons (3, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404636)

You can get totally immersed in the game and begin to think about the game also when you are not playing it.

I used to look at people's faces and want to put L-shaped tetris blocks between their eyebrows.

If you're going to say something, please be clear. (3, Insightful)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404594)

Dear Random Nobody,

Okay, you don't like legislation affecting video games, we get it.

But please, your blog entry comes off as incoherent, at best, and childish at worst.

a) You start off with a straw man. No legislators are calling for people to burn video games. No legislators are claiming that they're the root of all evil.

b) You take a quote from someone who runs Common Sense Media [] -- an lobbying organization that also happens to provide rating services -- at face value. In the same article you call journalists lazy.

c) You mistakenly cite GTA as the "start" of this. "This" has been going on since Doom. GTA3, and Hot Coffee, weren't out when Colubine happened, if you remember.

d) You waffle, and end up attacking video games yourself by saying "I wouldn't let my children anywhere near one of these games", and that the game sucked. That's like defending Manhunt by saying it was so bad people wouldn't play it.

e) You talk with "a psychologist". No citations, no refernces, no studies that indicate when a child can seperate reality from fantasy. Just your word.

f) You commit the fallacy of accident -- just because you haven't been violent, means that video games don't make people violent. That's not proof, that's circumstance.

g) You site crime statistics that are meaningless in support of your proof. There are well understood reasons why the crime rate dropped nationwide in 1993. This does not preclude, in any way, video games from having a detremental effect.

h) You "read studies" -- you don't cite, you don't reference, you selectively remember. For someone with an alleged Master's degree, you sure as hell don't know how to form an argument.

By the way, I live in a province where the government regulates video games and movies. Oddly, I'm still able to go to EB and buy GTA if I want. And my son can't.

I can't for the life of me figure out why that's bad.

Re:If you're going to say something, please be cle (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404777)

There are so many things wrong with this post and your "logic" that I wish I could reach over the internet and swat you with a rolled up newspaper.

Rephrase (4, Funny)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404627)

By the time a child is three or four, they should have had beaten into them the idea that hitting someone is not okay.

Re:Rephrase (1)

TeamSPAM (166583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406012)

"You want something to cry about? I'll give you something to cry about!"

My mother said it to me and I plan on saying it to my kid.

Re:Rephrase (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15407142)

Sounds good to me too. Some crying is fine, but I've seen kids where the crying is so obviously faked ("crying about nothing" as you imply) that it is annoying that their parents still let themselves be manipulated by it. Deceit and deception should not be encouraged by parents - some kids already have enough internal desire/motivation/reasons to deceive which the parents have to counter.

All that stuff about kids fragile egos and self-esteem is bullshit (dangerous too IMO).

Most kids think the world revolves around them or think it should, they definitely need to be domesticated/trained to think otherwise- even if the only reason is it is untrue. (The small minority of "angel" kids? You'd spot them fairly quickly).

I never understood all that talk about boosting kids self-esteem.

Why praise people for just being in their current state? If you want a well trained dog you don't praise it just for being itself. You can love a person for just being in their current state (and show that love). But don't just dish out praise for anything.

You praise your kid/dog/subordinate for doing something good. And scold them or even punish them for doing something bad.

If you can't figure out what is good and bad, don't frigging be a parent.

As for not physically punishing kids, that's stupid as well. Pain affects the subconscious and conscious, so it is very effective in training. However you want to train the child to avoid doing the wrong thing, and not train the child to avoid you all the time. Pain should never be the dominant tone at all: you also want the child to _want_ to do the good stuff as well because the child enjoys doing good.

So what if the kid doesn't do anything bad, not very impressive if the kid doesn't do anything good either.

Oblig. Harvey Birdman reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404631)

I've watched quite a few home renovation shows but I've never had the urge to renovate an old victorian house.

I've read 'Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee' a few times and never felt the urge for gov't sanctioned genocide.

If the older generation doesn't understand it then it must be evil, right? (See: Elvis, comic books, Marilyn Manson, the internet, etc)

The Blame Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404641)

Now to play the blame game...

Okay, I'm tired of the blame game! Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!

Solution: Vote (3, Interesting)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404687)

Seriously, if we have law makers passing this kind of legislation, it is our responsibility to vote them out of office. The article speaks of a generational gap between us (the under 35/40 crowd) and the older crowd. Not surprisingly, it's the older crowd that has the most active voting population, and they vote people in that have their views, which are usually anti-video games. They also have a well organized group (AARP) that feeds them the propaganda that they want to hear so they will write their congressperson and let them know they think violent video games are bad.

If we want to change this situation, we, as a generation, need to take action and vote out the people who are making these laws. This problem can only be addressed by doing something. We need to vote on election days and write on congressperson every time this issue comes up to let our voice be heard.

It's the old gun argument. (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404811)

The shooter is responsible for what he does with his gun. The driver is responsible for what he does with his car, and the individual is responsible for what he does with his games. The eater is responsible for how much mcDonald's he shoves in his maw. I tend to agree. This "get rich quick via torts" mentality is reaching the end of its tenure. People who constantly accuse products and businesses of destroying America and her precious children trivialize real and legit cases of product liability, and give people the false impression that the courts always side with these ludicrous claims.

Re:It's the old gun argument. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405075)


In defense of the litigation-happy parents (I sympathize, plus I like to play devil's advocate), what most of the litigation does is simply help parents retain their power of choice for their children. It's hard to raise kids right in a media-crazy world. Unless you throw out the TV and radio and never let them get out of sight, kids are quickly exposed to adult themes that some of them are not emotionally mature enough to understand. The two big ones are sex and violence, of course.

We're talking about people who simply think it's best for their children to learn things a certain way, and at certain times. If we're going to hold parents accountable for their kids, then we need to respect them as parents and make it possible for them to control their childrens' access to adult-themed material. I'm not saying ban everything from being accessible to a minor, I'm saying that we as a society simply need to respect ratings and ensure that things are rated properly.

Moving Cartoons!?!??! (1)

nsmike (920396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404816)

Man, give me them good ol' fashioned static cartoons!

Re:Moving Cartoons!?!??! (1)

MrBulwark (862510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405321)

Are you crazy? Comic books are teh root of all evil!

Sorry too much sense here (1)

Usekh (557680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404866)

Sorry this is far too logical and sensible for the mainstream press to pick up. Come back when you can tie gamers and pedophiles together

Huh? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404910)

Do laws really help our children or is it ultimately the parents role to decided?

I thought laws were made to get politicians re-elected?

How about... (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405007)

How about we blame both? Saying that it is either one or the other is simplistic and completely ignores the myriad of factors at play here. As it is, the only discussion on the subject is people from each camp yelling about how the games/parents are killing the children/irresponsible wankers. It's a ridiculous argument on both sides.

My kid has it figured out at 5 years old (1)

jhutch2000 (801707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405029)

He likes to play World of Warcraft with me (it's really cut to watch him play). When my wife said something to effect that she was worried about the violence, he turned to her and said, "It's not real, mom. It's just pretend."

If my kid gets it at 5, you can be damn sure every teen-ager out there gets it. It's the ones that don't CARE about the difference between fantasy and reality that should scare you. And video games have nothing to do with it.

Re:My kid has it figured out at 5 years old (1)

jhutch2000 (801707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405121)

Ok, obviously that should say "cute to watch him play". Stupid fingers not typing what I tell 'em to...

Unfortunately, that's not the case (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405924)

Some people are less mentally stable, less well-reared, and more easily influenced than others. My sister, for example, has had several arguements with me claiming that the Davinci Code (the book, this was back before the movie) was all true and that there's a massive church conspiracy etc etc.

Some people just can't seem to glean that what they see on TV or read in a book/magazine isn't real. Heck, even I get a bit irate when I see the stuff that happens on certain cop shows (although mainly because the shows reflect the abuse of the law that happens in real life, such as arresting non-terrorists under Patriot, etc).

It doesn't make the shows or games evil though, it just means that some people are too easily influenced. In the case of kids, it's a parents' job to determine whether such material is appropriate for their children or not.

A bit oversimplified... (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406039)

There is a difference between conscious recognition that something is "just pretend" and actually not having it effect you, and the fact that someone that is 5, or a teen, or whatever can say "its just pretend" doesn't imply that it is not having a bigger effect on their thinking and behavior than it might on a person with a more mature brain. And there are plenty of studies that support that this is, in fact, generally the case.

Note: I'm not saying I agree with the mindset that the state should regulate; I believe that parents are the best regulators, and that the role of the state should be to empower parents while not constraining the free flow of content, which is a tough balance to strike. And, further, I think that sheltering kids from "mature" content isn't really the best response. Sure, there needs to be some control, but more important is to prepare them for increasingly mature content and helping them develope the mental facilities to deal with it. All I'm saying is that its a bit naive to say that kids are generally safe because they consciously recognize the distinction between "pretend" and "reality".

Because sooner or later they are going to run into sex, violence, etc., in art and/or reality, and they ought to be prepared to deal with exposure to it when they do.

content labeling good, restrictions bad (2, Insightful)

PMuse (320639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405037)

Can laws help? Yes, absolutely. What a parent who is doing his/her job needs is a content label that tells them what's in the game (mild language, strong language, extreme sexuality, moderate violence, etc.).

The first problem ratings, e.g. motion picture ratins, has always been that they don't tell you what's in the film. Instead, they tell you if the film is 'safe' or 'dangerous'. Now, video game ratings are the same way.

The second problem is that no sooner does a work get labeled than some @$$hat write a law restricting sale/ viewing of works with particular ratings.

The only law that's worth having here is one mandating content labelling to give partents information. After than, leave it to the parents to decide.

Wait for it. (2, Interesting)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405040)

As with most of life's problems, this one will go away if we just wait long enough.
In 20 years or so, those of us who grew up with video games will be in our 40-50's and in control of most things. The people who grew up in the mists of the dark ages will either be dead or pretty darn close to it. Once that happens we can all agree that video games are not evil and insted work on preventing the corruption of children by whatever new evil has come about by then.

Re:Wait for it. (1)

deacon (40533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405989)


Boy do I have a surprise for you:

The current generation is going to turn into their parents, and if there is any change it will be more, not less restrictive.

Notice how all those weed smokers from the 60s that are in charge now don't allow weed smoking? Even though, if weed was as harmful as claimed, these people should have disqualified themselves as mentaly unfit. Or at least they should have an obvious drool.

Grade school kids nowdays are supervised every waking moment. A generation ago we used to run free in the woods or the streets like the happy demons we were, carrying toy guns. By the time we were 13, our parents got us real guns.

Helmets for toddlers. Car seats for everyone. Mandatory seat belts. No Smoking.

UP next: No saturated fats. No alcohol. NO "junk food"

And no, I don't have a solution to the problem. I do have a finger to point though: Fabricated hysteria, created by busybody "experts" who want to lord it over the rest of us, neatly packaged by the MSM to get people to watch TV and read the papers, so their eyeballs can be sold to advertisers.

Re:Wait for it. (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406335)

NO "junk food"

They've aleady got you beat on this one. Campuses are starting to remove soda mahcines and anything tasty from school menues.
I weep for the US, it had a good run, but we have managed to rise to decadence and are now working our way to imploding. I expect that we'll go the way of Rome in the next 200 years, we have an economic empire and are running out of areas to conquer, implosion can't be too far off.

studies? what studies? (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405058)

From TFA: What studies? . . . I'm so tired of people stating their opinion as fact and the media reporting it without context. . . . Do the statistics support his claims? If not, don't give him the headline. . . . Yes, I blame the media... for being irresponsible and lazy.

You gotta love an article that complains about a lack of studies, but doesn't cite a single study showing lack of correlation between playing violent games and performing violent acts.

Those overall crime stats are nice, but let's see a study that compares game playing behavior to criminal acts, or the lack thereof.

Wow great. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405096)

So exactly how is the author of this an expert of child development? Is he or she an expert in violence is society? Maybe they raised several children?

From his own keyboard "I'm so tired of people stating their opinion as fact and the media reporting it without context. If a guy says that about video games, it's the media's job to do the research.".
Yet all we get from this guy is his opinion. No studies on any connection between violence and video games or lack there of.
This article is as valid as one that states, "Mac are not computers because more people buy Windows systems."
I see everyone saying how great this piece is because they happen to agree with it. Face it folks this is a piece written on a gaming site that tells you what you already think is true!
Frankly just like the person that wrote the article I don't have a problem with a rating system ,you all did read that he thinks ratings are a good thing didn't you? Yes I do agree with some of his points but this article proves nothing and is not exactly news worthy.

In other news... (1)

phiwholigan (898048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405129)

the sun is hot, and water is wet.

Work work work.... (1)

KeiichiMorisato (945464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405180)

In my opinion, our society has created an environment where both parents HAVE to work to live a stable life. Unfortunately, as work hours get longer and work demands get more demanding, they have less time to spend with their children. What do many of these parents do to compensate for not being with their children? Buy whatever they want, give them what they want, etc. But basically supplementing some quality time with material goods.

Children need guidance and advice from their number 1 source, their parents. If they can't get it from their parents, they'll get it from other sources, be it TV, video games, books, friends, etc.

Violence: They know already, morons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15405221)

"I'd say by the time a president is in his first or second year, he or she should know it's not okay to hit someone else. The president should be aware violence is not an acceptable response. Senators, representatives, joint chiefs, governors... anyone in office should reinforce certain societal values and traits. Presidents should and mostly do know better. I talked with a psychologist who told me presidents can separate reality from fiction after about nine or ten months in office. Well, "used to the oval office" is what he said. At that point, they know what's on TV isn't real, what's in a video game isn't real. Video games are easier; they're basically just moving cartoons."

Seriously - we expect our children to not believe violence is an acceptable solution to their problems. Meanwhile, we use it every chance we can get. And all joking aside, it's not just a single president, or a single country, or a single culture - it's the history and nature of mankind itself.

And yet, go figure, children tend to be far less violent than adults. The truth of the matter is, they should be expecting *us* to not believe violence is an acceptable answer. :p Sad that people who believe in Santa Claus have figured out something that college educated people haven't.

silly argument (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405402)

While it's true that the ultimate responsibility lies with the parent, this argument is spurious. Just because a kid should know better, does that make it okay for me to sell him something that's potentially dangerous?

Obviously you can argue the games aren't harmful, but that's not the point this guy seems to be trying to make. His point is, "It's the parents' fault, ergo there shouldn't be laws that prohibit sales to minors." That doesn't follow. By that logic, nothing should be prohibited from being sold to children.

Of course! (1)

jvj24601 (178471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405517)

I am the father of an 11 year old. He doesn't play his Playstation 2 on weekdays, and even when he does play, it's only sports games (football is our favorite). No TV until the weekends, and definitely no TV in his room.

How do kids have all this free time? He's either at practice (soccer, baseball, basketball - whatever is in season) or outside in our backyard playing with the neighborhood kids (or me).

These parents who complain about TV or videogames just seem a little lazy to me...

But... (1)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405931)

But... but... the parents can't be milked--I mean, sued in a court of law--for as much money (and free publicity, McCarthy-style)!

Governmental Parenting (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405974)

The problem truly is that a great many parents are just damn lazy. They would much rather have some great overseer take care of the problem then have to deal with it themselves. I cannot count the number of parents I have seen with their children in public who I watched and wondered, who is really in charge of this situation?

Maybe I was just fortunate enough to have parents who were responsible and actually wanted to know what their kids were doing. I use to complain about my parents monitoring my internet activity at age 14/15 and what I perceived as their paranoia about pedophiles out to get me. They also seemed a bit concerned at first when I started roleplaying online (and not the sexual kind of roleplay). Yes, they eventually backed off, but I know it was their own concern for my well-being that they acted the way they did and not just some techno-phobia.

I see this a lot with my mom today, who even consults me on occassion about items of purchase for my 13 year old brother. She will ask me about games, movies, or websites and even shows some degree of interest in my brothers online activities. He has a myspace account, but I know he is smart enough to not put anything stupid up there and with me listed as a friend, it probably wouldn't last long.

I just wish more parents seemed to show the same concern about their childrens activities. You may not be perceived as the coolest mom/dad ever, but your kids and, hopefully, their kids will be better for it. I learned that line, "You will thank me for this when you are older," isn't the complete bullshit I thought it was. My parents always did what they did because they cared about me, and they were doing what should come naturally to parents, protecting their offspring. So, will the government do us all a favor and leave the parenting to the parents and stop trying to create laws that really accomplish nothing and in many cases have been overturned by courts as unconstitutional anyway.

Re:Governmental Parenting (1)

fessor eli (977181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15406660)

All three of our family computers, the GameCube, the stereo, and the TV are out in the open in a big family room at my house, leading to interesting arguments among the various adults, teens, and preteens who live here over who gets to do what. (Headphones are as critical as negotiation skills.) But we are ensuring that we know what our kids are doing, and they get to see by our actions what's appropriate, kind of like an updated version of the family gathering around the radio for the Grand Olde Opry. We also use the same approach with video games as we do for movies and music--If it's R (or M, or PG-13, or T, depending on which kid and what media) rated or has the Parental Warning sticker for lyrics on it, it's an automatic "no" unless mom or I have actually seen or heard it or have talked to another adult parent we trust and have decided that it is ok for our own children. We also talk out loud about this decision making process in hopes that we're helping build good thinking skills. I am a libertarian at heart and don't want any government agency deciding for me what is ok for my children (mostly because my standards are probably higher). At the same time, though, I teach high schoolers whose parents have absolutely no clue that they're playing GTA all night (and sleeping in class), pirating porn flicks, chatting with pedophiles, etc., etc. So it seems there needs to be some way to protect these children as well, at least to slow down the purchases by kids who aren't mature enough to really know it's not ok to slap a prostitute just because you can. A stronger version of some of the voluntary agreements in existence might be part of the answer.

Laws can help actually ;) (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15407216)

Perhaps there should be laws and regulations preventing just anyone from having kids ;).

Maybe before anyone is allowed to have kids they must have provably brought up a dog of a not super-compliant breed to be well mannered, not destructive but still not totally cowed (can't have one always running away and hiding). The Regulatory body picks and assigns the dog (you don't get to choose the super easy candidates ;) ).

If they don't pass, they have to keep paying maintenance for the dog and they don't get a chance to have kids till they get to try again and pass. (if they fail terribly the poor dog gets taken away from them for its own good),

If they can't bring up a dog, they can't bring up a human. After most dogs have been bred to be tolerably obedient over the generations. Not so for most humans (not saying it is good or bad, but it is something to keep in mind when training humans).

Theyre catching on. (1)

SiLenT366 (941538) | more than 8 years ago | (#15407420)

This is the obvious problem and it has been so since the beginning. Also, if a videogame causes a kid to kill someone, they are already fucked up in the head in the first place. Pardon my language.
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