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Study Finds Games Stores Still Selling to Minors

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the could-be-just-a-bit-biased-though dept.

Games 81

A study funded by the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) has found that almost half of all games retailers are still selling 'M'-rated games to kids. "The two-month undercover survey, which covered 60 US retailers, found that underage teens were able to buy games rated M for Mature (17+) at 46 percent of stores, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune ... the findings of the survey still put the game industry ahead of many other entertainment sectors, including the movie and music industries."

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81 comments

I for one say so what (3, Interesting)

ameyer17 (935373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447871)

Since any attempts to legislate a ban on selling M-rated games to minors have been deemed unconstitutional, I say so what. Perhaps stores shouldn't be selling these games to minors, but that's between the store and the "OMG PROTECT THE CHILDREN" crowd

Re:I for one say so what (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449943)

I'd go so far as to say they should definitely be selling these games to minors. Firstly, the ratings are knee-jerk reactionary mostly meaningless bullshit. kids aren't as stupid as we make out, and know the difference between cartoon and computer game versus real life violence. Secondly, any parent giving their children enough money for games these days and not supervising their purchases should be happy that all little Timmy is buying is a computer game. The stores should do what the hell they like, not cave to whining parents lobbies who want everyone except the parent to be responsible for a childs upbringing. The day we legislate the need for no personal responsibility is the day we descend into totalitarianism.

Re:I for one say so what (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450645)

"Since any attempts to legislate a ban on selling M-rated games to minors have been deemed unconstitutional, I say so what."
When has this been tested in court?
Oh and don't worry the OMG protect the children people will make gaming stores lives so complicated that they may stop selling M rated games all together.
They will just sue the stores. Get local politions to pass laws that the stores will then have to take to court...
The stores better police themselves oreelse things will be ugly.

Re:I for one say so what (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458857)

It's totally a store policy. While it's probably not the best idea to go out and buy your 11 year old Manhunt 2, it's also not against the law. These stores are just looking out for their bottom line. You can hardly blame them...

Re:I for one say so what (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21459585)

I have yet to see anything in a game that is so bad that children shouldn't be allowed to see it. If you don't want your kids buying stuff don't let them have any money. Seems pretty fucking easy to me. But don't make the rest of us go out to pick up Murder Simulator IV: Hooker Sex Edition when our kids are perfectly capable of taking their own damn selves to the store.

Well... (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447885)

Seeing as the ratings are a guideline not a law, and it's up to parents to enforce the guidelines they want to enforce, I am going to have to join in the calls of 'So what?'

The only way to sort out this out would be for people to stop assuming that games are for kids - but who knows when that's going to be.

Re:Well... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449049)

Umm... Las Vegas? I mean, they know for a fact that a lot of adults enjoy playing games. Some even for money.

Re:Well... (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449621)

Dammit, man, you weren't supposed to tell anyone! That's supposed to stay in Vegas! I suggest you stay away from windows for a few days.

IDs? (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447893)

The two-month undercover survey [...] found that underage teens were able to buy games rated M for Mature (17+) at 46 percent of stores

How are they supposed to enforce that anyways? By asking kids their ID? How are you supposed to tell a 17-year old who looks like he's 14 from a 14 year old who looks like he's 17?

Re:IDs? (3, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447931)

Well, in Norway, the legal age for drinking alcohol is 18. Anyone who is in a store learns that if they are unsure, they always ask. Many stores have signs that say if you are under 25, you should show ID before they even ask. Its not rocket science, its really not that different from selling other things with legal ages, or working at a pub or nightclub. How are you supposed to tell them apart? You dont, you ask both for ID.

Re:IDs? (3, Insightful)

kermit1221 (75994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448069)

I think you missed the part about "guidelines, not law". It's not currently illegal for the store to sell these games to minors. Apparently there are some working towards making the video game rating systems law, at least in California at this point.

The fun part is that (so I've read) the law would impose fines of thousands of dollars as well as charging the offender with a felony of some sort, for selling Mature video games to minors. It seems the penalty for (first offense) selling alcohol to minors is a fine of about three hundred dollars.

Re:IDs? (2, Interesting)

ameyer17 (935373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448111)

Several states have tried this, it's been declared unconstitutional. Illinois had to pay the video game industry's lawyers a bunch of money, if I recall correctly.

Re:IDs? (0)

kermit1221 (75994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448263)

Ya, I don't agree with the idea either. To me it's another case of trying to govern what should be handled by proper parenting.

I'm still not sure just how to go about increasing the level of parenting in our society though. All the best ideas are completely unconstitutional. Most are okay by me, but that's not enough. If we could just make stupidity illegal...

Re:IDs? (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451095)

A girl I worked with at a convenience store got busted because she accidentally sold alcohol to a minor. It's a felony in my state, and gets you considerably more than just a $300 fine.

Re:IDs? (1)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452351)

What difference does it make whether it is a guideline or a law? It's not impossible for stores to ensure (with reasonable accuracy) that they are only selling to the over 17 crowd. Of course, because it is not a law they may not think it's worth the effort, but they certainly could if they chose to.

Re:IDs? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448091)

Yeah... I remember the last time I got drunk on a shit load of game, had a hangover the next day.

Wait... no I didn't. Alcohol is not like games.

Re:IDs? (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448203)

My point was, how are you gonna require an ID from a 17 year old?

Re:IDs? (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448461)

My point was, how are you gonna require an ID from a 17 year old?
Birth Certificate, and if necessary, combo it with school id. This was exactly the combination I used to cross the Canada/US border (before passports were required), and should likewise be sufficient enough to purchase a video game. If it isn't, the store employee isn't doing the job properly.

Re:IDs? (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480633)

You are incorrect sir; the store employee is not legally compelled to do anything. These are merely guidelines, and has been stated by multiple other posters, any attempt to make this mandatory has been shot down as unconstitutional.

Re:IDs? (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21493175)

You are incorrect sir; the store employee is not legally compelled to do anything. These are merely guidelines, and has been stated by multiple other posters, any attempt to make this mandatory has been shot down as unconstitutional.
I'd be impressed if a non-American law gets shot down as unconstitutional for violating the first amendment.

Here, showing ID is mandatory for movies even if the movie theater agents don't follow the law.

Re:IDs? (2, Informative)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452367)

Is this a trick question? You ask "Can I see some ID?" If they don't provide an ID which indicates they are over 17 then you don't sell them the game.

Re:IDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455511)

The same way that theaters, restaurants, and clubs do: ask for a driver's license.

Re:IDs? (2, Insightful)

Shadowplay00 (1042912) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447947)

Hate to knock down a strawman, but many 17 year olds have a driver's license.

This is not intended to contradict the "so what?" crowd...ultimately ratings are only useful as a way for non-gaming parents to filter what their kids can play.

Re:IDs? (1)

Thanatos69 (993924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448313)

Key word being *many*. My brother is 18 and still hasn't bothered to get an id. I suppose he could ask one of his friends who has an id to pick up the game for him much like a 16 year old could.

I'm part of the "who cares" crowd. The only way this affects me is my tax dollars that go into these useless studies. It isn't illegal, why are we spending our money on this shxt? When it becomes illegal then knock yourselves out on your little sting operations.

Re:IDs? (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451137)

ultimately ratings are only useful as a way for non-gaming parents to filter what their kids can play.

More like parents who don't give a damn about actual parenting. What your child can and can't handle comes down to the actual child, I myself could play violent sexual video games without it fazing me in the slightest, and I don't feel the urge to go kill or rape someone.

Re:IDs? (1)

SacredByte (1122105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448027)

This is similar to what I say when I go to www.wawa.com and I see the sticker on the counter saying that they card anyone under 27 for tobacco products. "How are they supposed to know if you are over 27 or not without checking your ID?" But to get back on topic, this doesn't surprise me. Since the time I found out that stores usually only sell M rated games to those over 17 (when I was about 13) it hasn't been an issue for me to get M rated games. As I see it, there are five options for anyone under 17 to buy M rated games: 1: Go to a store that doesn't treat ESRB ratings as law. 2: Go to a store where employees either don't know about company policies about M rated games, or don't care about said policies. 3: Fake ID. 4: Get a friend/sibling/parent/guardian with valid/fake ID to buy M rated games for you. 5: Wait until you're 17 and use a valid ID I'm not sure where to find #1, but numbers 2, 4, and 5 worked for me. As a side note, I found out recently from an employee of GameStop (Formerly EB) that if an employee is caught selling an M rated game to someone under 17, the manager is fired as well, even if the manager was not present at the time of the sale. It seems like hardcore lunacy to me, but could be fun.... Imagine it: You don't like your manager, so you get one of your friends to fill out an application to work in your store, and when they do, catch them selling an M rated game to someone under 17. But I digress. I have no problem with game ratings being enforced by the state, as long as the agency doing the ratings is transparent in their processes, has NO bias, does not bow to political pressure on individual titles, and requires that stores cannot refuse to sell any game based on its rating.

Re:IDs? (1)

rtwarner (1132907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448037)

Yes that's exactly how they're supposed to enforce such a policy. Drivers licenses typically list a date of birth and have a picture attached. I am 25 and was carded when I purchased Serious Sam 2 at walmart; back in my large unkempt beard days, no less.

Re:IDs? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448219)

But you can't require 17-year olds to have an ID or a driving license!

Re:IDs? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448579)

Just to remind people from outside the US: People are allowed to drive at 16 years of age here. Also do not forget how different our cities laid out and our lack of public transit.

The mere concept of a 16 year old not getting a license a day after turning 16 is probably unconsciously dismissed by almost all Americans. Even if you are unlikely to be allowed to drive you are very likely to be treated like a loser for not having a license.

If you actually tried to make the argument "but what if they don't have an ID?" most of these whiny mothers would simply point out that you that you can get a license for purely ID purposes and dismiss anything else along those lines.

Re:IDs? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449353)

Ha! You're wrong! [wikipedia.org] lol.

"In the United States, the driving age is determined by the state or territory, with the most common age being sixteen. The minimum age for a license varies from 14 years 3 months to 18 years."

That means that not all 17 year olds can be expected to have licenses.

Re:IDs? (1)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452445)

Ha! You're a troll.

In which state can you not at least get a restricted driver's license at age 17? I didn't see one, and I'm guessing your extensive research didn't unearth one either.

But that's beside the point. The post you responded to was not seriously arguing that every single 17 year old in America has a driver's license and for you to take it to such an extreme is a little childish. Many, if not most 17 year olds do have an license and anyone who is mature enough to handle a "Mature" game can be expected to be mature enough to go out and get some form of ID.

Re:IDs? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21470939)

Ha! You're wrong! lol.

Doesn't change much. It's only a couple of examples that happen to be in the few area's which I already noted as exceptions (like New York City).

Re:IDs? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449115)

Our government actually does. Have an ID or be open for an arrest until your ID can be verified somehow. It's in the books. Not only for minors. Any policeman can stop you on the street and ask for your ID. Not able to produce one? Come with me and call someone who can identify himself and you.

Now, mind you, it sounds more fascist than it is. It's one of those "just in case" laws. Never happened to me. Happened to a friend who was waiting for his girlfriend in front of a jeweler's. The idea behind it is that, if you had to show your ID while doing something "suspicious" (like, hanging out in front of a shop selling ass expensive crap), you won't actually go through with the plan in case you had "something" in mind.

Until the terror craze, this was actually a pretty widely supported law. Mostly because it was almost never used. I know people who went through their life without an ID and never got bothered about it. Now that they start (ab)using it a lot more, people start to question it.

Like most laws that interfere with your freedom, it's best if not used a lot. This also includes things like surveillance and searches. They will be supported if they're used very, very carefully and rarely, and only with very good reason. And then, they can be incredibly effective. And due to good results, you will even get quite a bit support for it, despite the very severe impacts it has on the freedoms of everyone.

When you start overusing such laws (as we see now), people will start to resist them and they become less efficient. Mostly because people talk about them and criminals sometimes even get aware of them at all.

Re:IDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455521)

So America really has turned into a place of "Papers please!" then?

Re:IDs? (2, Insightful)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448341)

I think the problem is that makes a huge assumption: if you are 17 ==> you have a driver license.

Other countries have national ID cards that also apply to minors, so it is reasonable to expect you have some state ID with you.
But if there is no legal requirement an ID, and you have no need for a driver license (i.e.: you do not own/drive a car), assuming you magically have a driver license does not follow. For minors, that situation is far more likely.

Not sure it is a big deal - but it reminds me of the 'solution' that e-businesses came up of saying Adult Verification ==> Credit Card. Because obviously that did not introduce risks to a kids uneducated on financial responsability, and the concept of an adult citizen without a car, credit cards and a good amount of debt is unthinkable.

Re:IDs? (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449861)

I've had this problem in Canada. Most places ask for a driver's license, but I don't have one. They will also accept a passport (but who carries their passport around with them all the time ? I don't have a passport since I don't travel but I have heard that if you lose it you can't get another one). Many places will not accept a health card and I once tried to open a bank account and I forgot to bring my birth certificate and the account manager told me that it's illegal to accept an Ontario health card for ID and she pleaded with me not to even take it out of my wallet since she could be fired.

We do have an 'age of majority card' but it costs a chunk of change and requires a passport photo and all sorts of other documentation. With that said the only reason I haven't gotten one is laziness and the fact that my Ontario health card works most of the time at liquor stores. It still really pisses me off when I get refused though. I once waited in line for 30 minutes at an LCBO on New Years Eve and they refused to accept my health card. They also wouldn't let my cousin (who was with me and just presented his driver's license to pay for his stuff) to pay for mine. But that's what I get for not being sane and buying it in advance. They're always way more vigilant on New Years Eve.

Re:IDs? (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451115)

I believe all or most states will issue state ids, which pretty much look like driver's licenses anyway. Not required to have one though as a minor or even as an adult, just it's a less of a hassle to carry one if you don't have a driver's license.

Re:IDs? (1)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452501)

Such a requirement doesn't make the assumption that you all 17 year-olds have a license. If you're 17 and don't have any ID then tough luck. Maybe getting some ID should be a higher priority than playing a mature game.

The same applies to drinking. You aren't forced to have an ID when you are 21, but you can't expect to go into a liquor store and have them take your word for it. And it also applies to your example of credit-card verification. You aren't forced as a citizen to have a credit-card, but your rights aren't being violated if specific e-business deny your access to porn or gambling (or whatever) because you don't have one.

The problem with credit-card verification is the opposite. I.e. that it doesn't prove conclusively you're not a minor (although it certainly is a deterrent for some).

Re:IDs? (1)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 6 years ago | (#21459069)

You may not be 'forced' to get an ID, but your life is made pretty darn difficult.
And the rest of society has significant trouble dealing with the exceptions - have you tried opening a bank account without a 'driver's license' at hand? Depending on the IQ of the clerk, convincing them of accepting other government-issued IDs (e.g.: passport) can be difficult / impossible.

Now, if that's a policy set by a private business, then you're right and there is no issue: just do business elsewhere, if you really need that product/service.
But when the policy is a regulation by government or commerce authorities, you do not have that option - implicitly you are requiring the driver license for completely unrelated transactions.

At that point, you might just institute a national ID system and be done with it - or it just gets absurd and inefficient over time. The CC as age verification is just an example of how absurd it can get.

Regarding the CC verification concept:

My reference to credit-card verification was not to a specific business policy. I was referring to legislation (I think COPA is what I was thinking of) - where ALL businesses are required to deny you access to those services if you don't have a credit card.
That codifies an assumption that if you do not have X-unrelated-transaction-token, you cannot engage into a set of Y,Z,... transactions. So you are forced to engage into X, as the set of Y, Z... grows over time. Of all possible X to depend on, credit just seems to me like a really bad choice.

Now I'm not familiar enough with it to say whether it was the congress, or the industry, who made stupendously stupid idea of requiring CC as the verification system, but I do remember back then in dot-com days how they both made a big deal of 'reaching a solution' that seemed remarkably absurd for the consumer.

The problems with CC verification are manifold - and you're correct that it doesn't even do what it is supposed to do - verify your age. But I have to admit among the problems I see the risk financial loss as a more concrete threat than the dangers of pr0n (or the hassle of getting a driver-license/ID, for that matter, which would at least do the job).

What always struck me as ridiculous is that it REQUIRES legal businesses to presents themselves as an obvious phishing / scam scenario, and therefore makes it more difficult for some consumers to identify the latter (i.e.: "Please enter your CC/personal information here - it is ONLY for legally required age verification. Seriously, you will not be charged, but we have to ask for this by law.")...

So for the sake of protecting the 17-year olds from the dangers of porn, we have inexperienced 18-year-olds with their first CC and bank account doing impulse buys with increased risk of CC fraud and identity theft.

Re:IDs? (1)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472859)

You may not be 'forced' to get an ID, but your life is made pretty darn difficult.
Honestly, I don't have a problem with that since by not having an ID you're making everyone else's lives more difficult. The rest of us shouldn't have to suffer for the minority who for whatever obscure (and probably misguided) reason don't want to have ID.

And the rest of society has significant trouble dealing with the exceptions - have you tried opening a bank account without a 'driver's license' at hand? Depending on the IQ of the clerk, convincing them of accepting other government-issued IDs (e.g.: passport) can be difficult / impossible.
Case in point. Why expect banks, bars, etc. to handle more forms of ID if it isn't necessary? That brings up the cost for the rest of us who aren't being intransigent, and I don't want to have to pay for that (or wait in line behind such a person).

But when the policy is a regulation by government or commerce authorities, you do not have that option - implicitly you are requiring the driver license for completely unrelated transactions.At that point, you might just institute a national ID system and be done with it - or it just gets absurd and inefficient over time.
A national ID card would eliminate some of the inefficiency since you would only need to verify a single form of ID. However, requiring every individual to have one (and even worse carry it at all times) is a totally different matter.

But this is off-topic to the original question, which is whether it is reasonable and practical for an individual store to try to enforce a 17 and over policy for M rated games. And it is.

My reference to credit-card verification was not to a specific business policy. I was referring to legislation (I think COPA is what I was thinking of) - where ALL businesses are required to deny you access to those services if you don't have a credit card.
This is even further off topic, IMO. I agree that there are many reasons why such legislation is stupid, but they have little to do with the original topic.

Re:IDs? (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448589)

In my own experience, I was carded more when I had my own variety of unkempt beard. To 'the man' it makes you look:
a) more shifty
b) like you're trying to grow a beard to look older

I almost never got carded when I was clean shaven.

Re:IDs? (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448079)

How are they supposed to enforce that anyways? By asking kids their ID?

Yes. Exactly like that. You mention it as if it was something unthinkable. If a minor wants to get an M-rated or 17+ rated game, tough luck. Let him bring his parents to buy it.

If he's an adult, well, he can go back home and get some ID, can't he?

Re:IDs? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448247)

If a minor wants to get an M-rated or 17+ rated game, tough luck.

Yeah but if you're 17, you're a minor, and you're allowed to buy the game tho. That's the difference between 17+ and 18+ that prompted my comment.

If he's an adult, well, he can go back home and get some ID, can't he?

And if he's not an adult?

Re:IDs? (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448367)

Are you kidding me? I know you said in another post that you can't require people to have ID on them. Thats true. Even of 30 year olds. In spite of that, the 30 year olds are likely to have ID on them.

17 year olds are likely to have ID on them for the same reason that anyone else has one on them. Licenses are common, are available, and they're nice to have if you feel like driving around in a legal fashion.

Re:IDs? (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448847)

Furthermore, nobody's asking that every single minor carry ID, only that the people who want to be acknowledged as adults prove they are.

Re:IDs? (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448803)

If he's an adult, well, he can go back home and get some ID, can't he?

And if he's not an adult?

... He shouldn't be sold the game? Are you doing this on purpose?

Re:IDs? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449387)

He shouldn't be sold the game? Are you doing this on purpose?

You retard, 17+ means you can buy the game if you're 17, that means a minor, that means not an adult (in some states you're not an adult before 21 anyways), that means he should be sold the game.

Re:IDs? (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449499)

How is everyone missing the point of the parent post?

If you are 17 you won't have an ID because you aren't old enough to have one.

Re:IDs? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450269)

Thanks, although I'm not sure my claim is correct, as I'm only French, but after all it seems that most Americans around here ignore the fact that in some states you can only have a driver license at the age of 18, let alone be an adult only at 21.

Re:IDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455663)

but after all it seems that most Americans around here ignore the fact that in some states you can only have a driver license at the age of 18

No, it's because you're just an idiot. All states (and DC) where the driving age is 18 or 21 issue restricted licenses at age 17 or earlier.

Re:IDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455777)

If you are 17 you won't have an ID because you aren't old enough to have one.

WRONG.

You will have either:

  • A "full" driver's license.
  • A "restricted" driver's license. All states and DC issue these to drivers 17 or under.
  • A state ID card. This is issued to you if your license is revoked.
  • A passport. Even newborns can get passports.

Re:IDs? (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485525)

In most states you can get a State ID card from age 13+. As far as I'm aware, 17-year-olds in every state can get a State ID card. You can also get a Passport from at least age 5 on. A Passport is valid Picture ID. Every American who isn't batshit crazy should have a Passport.

Re:IDs? (1)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450347)

Also consider this:

There are within maybe a few miles of my parent's home, approximately a dozen game retailers. ALL of them employ staffs comprised of mostly teenage high school kids or those out of high school less than 2 years.

Am I surprised that they sell to their younger friends/relatives. Not in the least.

Re:IDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21466821)

Oh, I don't know, card them if they look young?

Priorities (2, Insightful)

ACS Solver (1068112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447939)

Yeah... always good to see people getting their priorities right. How about trying to fight the problem of shops selling booze to kids?

And yes I know this is a study by a group studying media.

Re:Priorities (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448103)

Problems are different to everyone. What is important to you isn't important to me, and vice versa. What's the deal with selling booze to kids anyway? Shouldn't it be up to the parents to control and decide whether or not their children are mature enough for alcohol, and if so, how much?

Smoking and porn too, I suppose. Hell, why do we have a restriction on any of that?

Re:Priorities (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449077)

Shouldn't it be up to the parents to control and decide whether or not their children are mature enough for alcohol, and if so, how much?
To a certain extent but you're ignoring the fact that alcohol is a poison which damages a child's liver and require them to have a transplant if they're lucky or die if they're not. We all know how stupid some people can get and it's a good idea to have laws against stuff that can kill children because of a parents ignorance.

I don't think drinking and playing violent games are in the same category. Although I guess some people argue about the long term effect no one died from playing video games, well except those weirdos in Korea but I blame the internet cafes staff. They could kick them out any time but they let them play there for three days because all they care about is making money. I bet if you kicked those kids out before they died they'd start thinking "damn I'm hungry, I'll get something to eat on the way to the other cafe", etc, etc.

Re:Priorities (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449289)

But, of course, we have the odd exception cases (i.e. most of Europe), where the drinking age does not exist, yet alcohol abuse amongst use is not pandemic. I know many an European family where tradition had kids enjoying a bit of wine at dinner with their folks, or champagne at New Year's, or any number of such situations.

America's alcohol problem is not an *alcohol* problem per se, but rather a cultural one, where abuse is cool and getting your stomach pumped is treated like a rite of passage. Take away this cultural problem and you won't even need a damned legal drinking age.

I'm pretty neutral with regards to age limits on games, drinking, smoking, etc, but IMHO you can't have one without the other. If you're going to be a total nanny state and strip parents of their powers, then do so, don't do it half-assed.

Re:Priorities (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451277)

I'm pretty sure if we decided to make a legal bread-eating age children would be stuffing themselves with that. In Europe it's commonplace to have a little beer or wine with a meal, and parents typically model a healthy sense of moderation. So the children see this, realise that beer/wine are perfectly normal. Here in America, it's typically very taboo to even speak of alcoholic beverages let alone imbibe one with dinner in some circles.

Consequently we have children trying to defy the taboo, just like they do with piercings and tatoos and drugs.

Study finds... (2)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21447959)

that studies that tell us what we already know, are lame.

Mod me lame?

Re:Study finds... (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448043)

How do you actually know what you say you already know? I like some lies^Wdamn lies^W^W^Wstatistics to confirm or deny what seems evident. Plus, the study could have found that stores _didn't_ sell to minors.

I know that with enough statistics, you can prove any point you want. Still, it's nice not to rely on common sense for once.

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21448209)

Rules about selling to minors deserve to be ignored. I had a lot of fun as a kid playing games that apparently weren't meant for me and turned out okay (well, some may disagree :p), why should other kids be prevented from enjoying themselves with equally harmless, yet demonised games.

What they should really be bothered about is what leads kids to be problematic in the first place as it's clearly not playing games.

Welcome to the digital age (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21448295)

If kids are willing, but unable to purchase digital media, then they will steal it.

I was denied entry a few months before my birthday to a movie, so I went home pirated it and enjoyed it.

Re:Welcome to the digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21449223)

The "digital age" doesnt excuse your parents for raising an apathetic asshole for a son. Seriously, they must have done a great job if your first instinct is "if I can't buy it I'll just take it!"

Digital age nothing. Apparently this is the "Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie!" age.

Re:Welcome to the digital age (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449667)

It's not about gimmie, gimmie, gimmie. Its about being marketed a product, wanting to PAY for the product, then being discriminated by age and told I am unable to buy a product. Why should someone live in a consumer world, and be inundated with marketing for something that they want, something that they should be able to buy and use responsibility, but denied that because they are too you.

Re:Welcome to the digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21450021)

Welcome to the real world. Just because you see advertisments that make you want a product (even if the advertisement are TARGETED at you) doesn't make you entitled to said product.

Things are denied to people who want them all the time. Sometimes for stupid reasons, sometimes for good reasons. Regardless you don't get to take something just because you want it and no one will sell it to you.

Re:Welcome to the digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451025)

>Regardless you don't get to take something just because you want it and no one will sell it to you.

Actually he does get to take it... Welcome to the Digital Age! New Rules apply. We are happy to pay money for available, reasonable priced goods. If those are not available we will simply create a digital copy.

Pornographic games? (0)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449395)

If the guidelines aren't law, what is done about pornographic games? Is it actually legal to sell games featuring explicit sex to minors in the US (some states anyway)?

Re:Pornographic games? (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#21449779)

That would fall under the obscenity statutes. The type of media is irrelevant.

And that's also one of the reasons why these game laws are unconstitutional. They must apply to all media or none.

Waiting for Jack Thompson to Show Up (1)

DarkNemesis618 (908703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451645)

How long will it be before Jack Thompson finds this and uses it to try to get video games banned?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiT2cbyRtAI [youtube.com] (Great video on Jack Thompson)

This would hurt him more than help him. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485277)

Considering it proves that movies, television, music, etc are enforced worse off than games currently.

It just proves that the gaming industries ratings work better than any other out there and that self regulation within the gaming industry is tip top and working a-ok.

This Just In! (1)

MarkAyen (726688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453907)

This just in: stores are still selling tobacco and alcohol products, pornography and r-rated DVDs to minors! Shockingly, near- (or at-) minimum wage-earning retail clerks in deadend jobs sometimes don't give a damn about the selling legally-prohibited products to kids just barely younger than they themselves are.

Does TFA tell us which stores? (1)

Kintar1900 (901219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479363)

Because they're sure as snot not around my home city. I'm tired of getting carded to buy a game when I'm nearly two decades past the "sell-to" age. :P

They're lying... (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485701)

NIMF is an anti-gaming pressure group AND they don't bother to detail the methodology of their "study". They're almost certainly flat-out lying about the results. I can think of countless ways they could fudge these results, assuming they're not just making them up out of whole cloth (which is typical for such "studies"). Among other things I suspect few of the retailers were actually specialty game retailers. You CAN purchase video games at Rite-Aid, where I suspect the cashiers are poorly educated about carding kids for games. It's also possible that the "kids" they're using are 16-year-olds with fake IDs.

Secondly, in order for something to be a proper study it requires controls, proper methodology, and control cases. I seriously doubt that NIMF bothered to do this in their survey.

And as others have pointed out, these results are better than more credible studies of tobacco and alcohol sales to minors. Most studies show that minors can purchase alcohol and cigarettes about 60% of the time.

Finally, I consider it completely absurd to expect non-specialty games retailers to know the ratings details of every, or even ANY, game on their shelves. It's equivalent to expecting cashiers in grocery stores to know the ingredients on every product they sell. NOBODY expects this level of scrutiny on R-rated or even X-rated games. How many studies do you see of how hard it is for a teenager to buy a copy of Hustler at the local store? What do you think the success rate would be? 90-95%?

IM 25 AN THEY CARD ME ALWAYS! (1)

Shadow-Copy (1194657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486877)

I always buy videos... which if i dont have my ID card i'm screwed.. cause they card me at best buy super target an other places... this is a outrage anyways because.. games.. are just as mind inflicting as cartoons/ horror flicks.. people can watch tv all the time.. with gore, killings, sex, and other gang activities just by watching cable/satellite tv this is bogus.. if you try an gag games you might as well gag television cause they curiosity, sight, emotion is still there for movies, tv, sitcoms, animes and video games.. its all the same in my book.. an pointless all together!
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