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FTC Says More Regulation Needed For Games 149

Posted by Zonk
from the only-in-crazytown dept.
simoniker writes "The FTC has testified in detail to Congress that, though the game industry has 'made progress' in regulating the marketing of violent video games, 'more needs to be done.' It also revealed that it's conducted undercover surveys into whether underage gamers can buy M-rated games. It also commented: that '...the Commission will continue to monitor closely developments in the area and will initiate actions, such as the case challenging the marketing of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, when appropriate.' Will we see the FTC stepping in more often in controversial cases regarding violent video games?"
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FTC Says More Regulation Needed For Games

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  • ESRB? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:31PM (#15541439) Homepage Journal
    What exactly was wrong with the ESRB ratings we had already? They gave an age category and described any potentially offensive content. It was perfect. What more could we need?
    • Re:ESRB? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by meridiangod (940552)
      I don't know if the problem is the ERSB so much as the ESRB's failure to let parents know that they exist and that they need their help enforcing their rating system. Why not run an ad campaign to let parents know about the issue?
      • Re:ESRB? (Score:4, Informative)

        by DaSenator (915940) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:39PM (#15541530)
        They are. The ESRB contacted the great guys from Penny-Arcade to come up with a new ratings awareness campaign. Here are two links below. http://www.penny-arcade.com/esrb_andersons.jpg [penny-arcade.com] http://www.penny-arcade.com/esrb_sarah.jpg [penny-arcade.com]
      • Re:ESRB? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ElleyKitten (715519) <kittensunrise@gm ... com minus author> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:44PM (#15541597) Journal
        I don't know if the problem is the ERSB so much as the ESRB's failure to let parents know that they exist and that they need their help enforcing their rating system. Why not run an ad campaign to let parents know about the issue?
        Oh, like the "Ok to Play?" campaign they've been running for years? Or the new Penny Arcade campaign they're starting?

        Yeah, they're already on that. Anyways, I think it's the parents' responsibility to figure out that there's a rating system; the ESRB's job is not to find every single parent and explain. The MPAA doesn't advertise their rating system at all, and their ratings and content descripters are much less intuitive and detailed than the ESRB's, yet it's the ESRB that always gets bitched at. Fuck that shit. Parents just need to read the fucking label, it's not that hard.
        • Or (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @02:56PM (#15542388)
          How about actually play the games yourself and determine what is and isn't acceptable to you? That's what drives me up the wall is this assumption by some parents that they shouldn't have to investigate what their kids are doing. Ummm, yes you should, you are parents, that's part of the deal.

          One of my coworkers has twin boys age 12 and a younger one age 7. All play videogames. They all have their own computers, they all have their own gameboays etc. None play any games that he hasn't first. He tries them, and decides if he finds them acceptable. He uses the ratings as a guideline, but the ultimate decision is what he feels is ok for his kids. After all, he understands their maturity level.

          I don't see why that's such a big deal for some parents. Nobody is saying you need to be a gamer or spend all your time playing games, but you can spend 30-60 minutes playing a game to see if it's acceptable. Hell, for that matter you can start playing games, play them with your kids. No different than any other activity you might dow ith your kids. Never know, might even find it fun, games are actually designed with fun in mind.

          I just do not see this as a big problem. As a parent you need to be highly invloved in your kids' lives. Yes, that means your social life will suffer, but that's kinda the deal. I think there needs to be more emphasis on good parenting, less on how society can try to Nerf-pad itself to make sure kids never encounter anything harmful.
          • The parents bitching for game regulation seem like they could use some parents for themselves. Someone to say "No dear, a game named after a felony probably isn't the best choice for your 6-year-old" because obviously they don't have the braincells to put that together themselves.

            I wish we could have tests for parenting.
            • To quote Dilbert:

              Luser: "Did we pass the parenting exam?"
              Dogbert: "No, and you'll have to leave some body parts at the front counter."

              Unfortunately barring a manditory but reversable steralization procedure, I see little that can be done to help the problem.

              Though maybe this is an oppertunity to try. If your kid does something wrong and blames it on a videogame, we don't crack down on the manufacturer, instead we crack down on the parents. We make them go to a class that explains real simple shit like "Keep
          • Imagine you have 3 kids. Overpopulation, whatever, but you've got 3. As a parent, your primary responsibility is to ensure that they survive and provide for them. So at least one of the two (two, if you're fortunate) will have to find some form of income to put food, clothes and shelter. Simply put, these children will likely have more freetime than you. Certainly the case for the average American household at least. You expect to somehow monitor everything they could possibly be exposed to without placing
            • How are they getting these games, and keeping them hidden? Why are you not looking at their computer to see what's installed? Why do you not have some monitoring software on there?

              Will they have more free time than you? Sure. Right now my aformentioned coworker's kids are at home, he and his wife are at work. So what? The kids don't have any games he doesn't consider are ok. He has their systems locked down so he can disallow games if he wants (the gameboys he just takes with him if need be) there's a webca
          • by syousef (465911)
            One of my cow-orkers has twin boys age 12 and a younger one age 7.

            Mooooooo!

            all have their own computers, they all have their own gameboays etc. None play any games that he hasn't first. He tries them, and decides if he finds them acceptable. He uses the ratings as a guideline, but the ultimate decision is what he feels is ok for his kids. After all, he understands their maturity level.

            "Not now dear I'm testing a game for the kids."

            "Now what have I told you before son. I play the new games and once I'm done.
    • Prosser. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:37PM (#15541516)
      Government: "Come off it, Mr Slashdotter," he said, "you can't win you know. You can't keep the Constitution in front of that bulldozer indefinitely."

      Slashdotter: > What exactly was wrong with the ESRB ratings we had already? They gave an age category and described any potentially offensive content. It was perfect. What more could we need?

      Government: What do you mean "what more could we need"? These are regulations! You've got to legislate regulations!

      Some factual information for you. Have you any idea how much damage that bulldozer would suffer if I just let it roll straight over that Constitution of yours?"

      Slashdotter: "How much?"

      Government: "None at all."

      • by rk (6314) *

        The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

    • The problem with the ESRB ratings is that it merely WARNS of potentially offensive content. The government "conducted undercover surveys into whether underage gamers can buy M-rated games" because they know they can't trust parents to make the right choices when it comes to deciding what games their kids should be playing. Hell, they know that most parents don't even know what games their kids are playing.

      Personally, I don't know why they are going through all of this song and dance. We will all be mu
    • Re:ESRB? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dasunt (249686)

      What exactly was wrong with the ESRB ratings we had already? They gave an age category and described any potentially offensive content. It was perfect. What more could we need?

      In this day and age, most children have an independent source of income that allows them to afford games, consoles+TVs/computers and a private unsupervised apartment to play them in.

      As you can see, it is impossible for parents to dock allowances and take away games if they disagree with the content. The kids will go to their p

      • Perhaps I'm aged at my eighteen years, but I am aware of absolutely no children under the age of 16 with a job or private source of income other than selling weed to their middle-school friends. Additionally, I am aware of absolutely no children, employed or not, with an apartment of their own. Furthermore, all gaming kids I have seen must hassle their (grand)parents to pony up the dollars for their new idolized game/game system. What phenomenon are you describing?
    • Apparently we need to make it clear to parents how to tell when certain games are 'good' and certain ones are 'bad'. My idea for a solution to this is to have a database that catalogs ALL games based on their rating, and what they're rated for (y'know, 'cartoon violence', 'mild violence', etc.), so Parents can pre-select a series of things they don't want, and then recieve a 'whitelist' of games they know are good. Of course, there's no real way to tell the vendors at stores "Don't buy this game for my ki
      • Apparently we need to make it clear to parents how to tell when certain games are 'good' and certain ones are 'bad'. My idea for a solution to this is to have a database that catalogs ALL games based on their rating, and what they're rated for (y'know, 'cartoon violence', 'mild violence', etc.), so Parents can pre-select a series of things they don't want, and then recieve a 'whitelist' of games they know are good. Of course, there's no real way to tell the vendors at stores "Don't buy this game for my kid"

        • As it currently is, though, all the 'T' or the 'M' is, is just a distinction. It doesn't go into any level of detail about what the game contains, and if you want this info you have to have one of the sales crew pull the game out for you. Certainly making it easier and allowing parents (or kids) to go ahead and set up a list of ratings preferences is a good start.

          Of course, I feel games should only be regulated as much as books (i.e. personal media), and I never heard anyone claim that Harry Potter created
          • As it currently is, though, all the 'T' or the 'M' is, is just a distinction. It doesn't go into any level of detail about what the game contains, and if you want this info you have to have one of the sales crew pull the game out for you. Certainly making it easier and allowing parents (or kids) to go ahead and set up a list of ratings preferences is a good start. Of course, I feel games should only be regulated as much as books (i.e. personal media), and I never heard anyone claim that Harry Potter create

          • All over the ESRB website there is also a searchable database, as you suggested, which tells the rating and content type. Like I said, the problem isn't lack of tools or information, it's lack of making use of it. The only thing I might agree that the ESRB could do better is make it clearer that these things exist. Their new campaign with penny arcade is a step in the right direction in that matter.
    • What more could we need?

      how about games that erase the minds of any player below the age restriction? of the game i mean, duh :)

      sure would beat trying to police the stores.
    • Re:ESRB? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by digidave (259925)
      The only thing wrong with ESRB ratings is that kids can still purchase M-rated games. Everybody already knows about movie ratings and theatres usually won't let underage kids into an R-rated movie. With games, it's completely different. Very few stores have anything more than casual enforcement of the ratings. If one store turns a kid down, that kid will just go to the next store and buy it there, so the first store would have lost business for essentially no reason at all.

      I think the ESRB should have the p
      • Re:ESRB? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by onecheapgeek (964280)
        Disallowing children of certain ages to not access R-rated movies is voluntary. The same SHOULD be the case for video games.
      • Re:ESRB? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sqlrob (173498) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @02:10PM (#15541920)
        What about the power to fine business that sell R rated movies to kids?

        Which, by the way, is a much larger problem than games.
        • What about the power to fine business that sell R rated movies to kids?

          Or unrated director's cut versions of R-rated movies? And movies regularly carry extra content that is unrated! Who knows what might be found in there! Perhaps a naked boobie on a PG movie, or a penis on an R movie!

          Or do they expect V-chips and parental locks on DVD players to deal with that? But don't all the modern consoles already support their own parental controls?
      • I think the ESRB should have the power to pull M-rated games from the shelf of a retailer who sells them to kids.

        Meet the new VGAA, same as the old MPAA?
      • I think the ESRB should have the power to pull M-rated games from the shelf of a retailer who sells them to kids. That way there would be a business reason to enforce the ratings.

        I think parents should have the power to tell their kids not to do things, and to punish them if they disobey.

        Oh wait...
    • Re:ESRB? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jferris (908786)
      I would assume that what else is needed would be enforcement. Ratings are one thing, but what do they ultimately mean if they are nothing more than a label on a box.

      Today's society has changed. Teen and pre-teen children have larger amounts of finances than I did when I was a child. Television (and video games) and cash have become a steady replacement for babysitters, and often parents do not take an interest in what there child is doing.

      The problem is still, ultimately, a parenting issue. It is in

    • Nothing is wrong with the ESRB ratings. The FTC's beef should be with either the retailers or the parents or both.
    • It's an election year and a lot of parents don't understand video games.

      It makes it look like the government is doing something to protect children.
    • Will the government step in and regulate the sale of music albums next? I mean, I've been buying albums labeled "explicit content" for years.

      ESRB works just like it should; I can tell if any "objectional" content is in the game, and I can make an informed decision whether or not to purchase it (for me or my child). I've never had a problem with this before.. but I guess it wouldn't be an election year without some sort of "think of the child" issue.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrSquirrel (976630) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:32PM (#15541447)
    I mean, it's about time they did something about these horrible video games! I mean, they've already fixed all the other problems in the world like... the war in Iraq, FEMA handling the New Orleans relief, stopping Iran from producing nukes, world-hunger, huge corporate scandals, huge governmental scandals (that Rove guy was totally innocent, he was framed by the evil liberal media... even though the huge conservative corporations own almost all the media outlets). THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
    • Maybe we should think of the children first.
      • Maybe we should think of the children first.
        Well, ok, but let's think of the children still living in rotting-away housing in New Orleans, the children going to falling apart schools while politicians are embezzling money away from the states, the children dying of hunger, etc, etc, BEFORE we worry about the children who might buy an M rated video game.
    • Re:Finally (Score:2, Informative)

      by Yst (936212)
      Quoth the article,

      Lydia Parnes, Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection...

      Quoth the poster,

      they've already fixed all the other problems in the world like... the war in Iraq, FEMA handling the New Orleans relief, stopping Iran from producing nukes, world-hunger, huge corporate scandals, huge governmental scandals

      So are we to understand that the Congressional Subcommittee
      • OK, how about the FTC crack down on 'Customer retention' policies that seek to prevent you from cancelling service, bait-and-switch rebate scams, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam and spam, the proliferation of advertising on every nonporous surface in the country (let's get some help protecting kids from THAT!), prescription drug advertising, redlining, extended warranties, and all the other consumer fucking going on in this country?
      • Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection should be checking in on corporations as that would seem to be part of thier mandate.
  • "The ESRB is completely useless."

    Government involvement probably isn't the answer, and this hopefully is just one step towards another independant system.
  • by DaSenator (915940) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:34PM (#15541475)
    ...because parents these days don't want to be responsible for their kids. We just need to off all of the stupid parents who let little 5 year old Timmy play GTA.*

    *Hyperbole alert.

    Seriously though, it is (and should) ultimately be up to the parent to decide what their kid (read: under 18 years old in the US) can play. Even thats a bit arbitrary, as I was sixteen when I was playing Counter Strike, a 'M' rated game. Its more of the fact that I knew it was a game, and knew that it was not real. Six year old Timmy is more than likely unable to properly make the distinction.
  • When are they going to start regulating the sex in advertising, the violence in the news, and the evil thoughts that only the Shadow Knows...

    Oh wait....
    • Don't forget impure thoughts and bad touches - the GOP's been livid since Divinyls' release of "I touch myself".

      Oh yes - Hillary Clinton too - but I think there's some other issues going on there.

      Sometimes a penis is just a penis.
  • I would like to see more regulation by parents. I think it's good to have a rating system like this, but it only works if parents are involved. Parents need to monitor what their children are watching, playing, and doing on the Internet. Of course, this assumes that parents have an idea of what is appropriate.
    • Very true. Why is it so hard for parents to play the game or watch (since some parents are videgame challenged) their kid play a game and then take it away or talk over the game with their child. I am a parent and do this with my kids and plan on doing it more as they get older.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:35PM (#15541496)
    shock and awe, my friend, shock and awe.
  • Save the CHILDREN.... Vote for me.
  • Bureaucracy.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerf (17166) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:43PM (#15541584) Journal
    Investigator speaking to bureaucrat: Does more need to be done?

    Bureuacrat: Yes, more needs to be done. And I need more resources with which to do it.

    The exact topic du jour matters not one bit.

    The primary motivation of any bureaucracy is to extend its dominion and claim more needs to be done.

    A surprising number of organizations, many of the quite large, are basically moving along with this motivation and nothing more. I don't care to get flamed so I won't name names, but there's a lot of 'em.
  • by faloi (738831) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:48PM (#15541641)
    The FTC essentially says that game manufacturers need to actually tell the ESRB about the content in their games, and that retailers shouldn't sell "M" rated games to underage kids. Aside from this being Slashdot, is there anything truly unreasonable in those requests?

    Yeah, I know I'm also choosing to believe that the FTC wouldn't step in with some wide ranging rules allowing the ATF to become the ATGF. Although visions of moderately trained ATGF agents conducting a SWAT style raid on a LAN party do make me smirk. "Damn, those are good speakers! That really sounded like a flash-bang!"
    • It's not universal to all media.

      It's not Constitutional.

      So yes, it's unreasonable.

    • Flash-bang? All you'd really need to do is turn on the lights or open the blinds at a LAN party....argh...natural light!
    • Is saying that the devs should provide more info bad in itself? Nope. Is suggesting that maybe retailers shouldn't sell M games to minors bad in itself? Nope. Is making those things law bad? Yep. The second is most definitely censorship. The first, well, I'm not sure there's anything illegal going on there but it is setting games apart from books, movies, magazines, etc as if they are more dangerous somehow, which is bad and incorrect whatever the legality. Also, keep in mind that the FTC doesn't ap
      • Also, keep in mind that the FTC doesn't appear to actually comprehend how video games or digital content works, based on their decisions to force games to an M rating (which is highly questionable imo) based on content that, while coded somewhere in the game, was not coded to actually be shown or viewed and required a third party modification to do so

        But as I understand it the FTC didn't force the rating to an M. Public outcry caused the ESRB to modify their rating. Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic.
        • I read the article more like a "You know, the industry is doing ok, but there's room for improvement" than a "We want to assume power over games!"
          While that does seem to be the case, I don't see why the FTC is involved at all or doing any monitoring of this sort of thing if they have no intention of intervening if they decide the ESRB isn't doing a good enough job. Maybe I'm just a little too paranoid and untrusting... I don't know.
          • While that does seem to be the case, I don't see why the FTC is involved at all or doing any monitoring of this sort of thing if they have no intention of intervening if they decide the ESRB isn't doing a good enough job. Maybe I'm just a little too paranoid and untrusting... I don't know.

            As I've admitted, I may a little too optimistic on this front. Which is an unusual turn for me. My point of view is that video game censorship has become a neat political talking point. People on both sides of the ais
  • Regulation is good, we need more. We certainly don't have enough. Without regulation, people learn responsibility, and the evil market forces have their way with the economy. Regulation helps us spend our excess tax money, and allows us to avoid tackling really hard issues that will make people all mad.
    • Of course I recognize the use of irony in your statements, and I agree to some extent. Government regulation can indeed encourage lack of responsibility, waste tax money, and impair market forces that could ordinarily take care of problems without any ham fisted intervention. However, at a certain level, some regulation is useful. Would you want to drive on highways without speed limits or traffic laws? Would you want to eat in restaurants without health inspections? I think if government regulation do
      • Of course... no sarcastic statements should be taken to be blanket statements. I'm not an anarchist, I believe the government has several duties that I happily pay taxes and desire services for.

        I do not believe that prohibiting a store owner from selling a video game to minors is one of those services. I'd rather my tax money not be spent on such a thing. Here is why... the minor cannot easily consume the content without parental consent, given acceptable levels of parental responsibility.

        This
    • We certainly don't have enough

      I figure you were being sarcastic.

      Thing is, sometimes personal responsibility affects others, and unfortunately that's where we need regulation. Take for example drunk driving. If the only victim was the drunk person, we can be sure society wouldn't give a rat's ass. But the thing is, the innocent bystanders are the victims.

      Unfortunately, this is also true with irresponsible parents - the ones that don't bother getting involved. They let their kids be exposed to all kinds o
  • BBFC (Score:3, Informative)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:53PM (#15541725)
    The UK's BBFC system works well Independant from the government and from studios, non profit organisation that receives it's funding from review fees. It ratings for individual titles aren't influenced by media or public pressure but for its overal guidelines it surveys the public to see what they think is acceptable. Bascially if someone goes "who thought XXXX was a film suitable for 12 and unders?!?!" the BBFC can essentially say "you did".
    • Re:BBFC (Score:2, Informative)

      Just to clarify the parent: the BBFC [bbfc.co.uk] classifies games insofar as it's required to as the designated authority for the Video Recordings Act, and so only the 15+ and above ratings are required. (For games in general there's PEGI [pegi.info].) For films there's a wider set of classifications; the BBFC's role in the film industry predates its legislative functions. I don't know how much flexibility the Video Recordings Act offers to reflect public opinion in practice, but I suspect it's less than the Board enjoys in its no
    • by Castar (67188)
      That's essentially how the ESRB works: "representative" clips from the game are given to the ESRB panel, which is made up of regular non-industry people, who indicate where they feel the game should be rated.

      It works very well, too, the rating system has been graded very highly in the past. The problem is twofold - lax or no enforcement by retailers, which the FTC report touches on, and lack of knowledge from parents, which is a much larger problem. Something like 90% of games that kids get are bought by
  • Games and policies do not exist in a vacuum. Minors of any sort can view "Mature" content (and worse) freely on the internet. Content blockers don't and can never work. Minors regularly see "Mature" content on standard TV. Minors regularly see "Mature" content in theatres, where the ratings system is a complete joke. Minors regularly hear "Mature" content in music which has stickers for explicit lyrics (which only drives sales to minors).

    Lawmakers would be better off spending the time and money on education
  • really?

    can't people just police their OWN behavior?

    why is america becoming SUCH an nanny-state??

    rock and roll was supposed to 'corrupt the youth' back in the 50's. didn't happen.

    why do they think video games are any different?

    (they also tried this with comic books. sigh. the morality police just never give up, do they?)
    • #1) The ESRB notice is relatively large on the package.
      #2) The ESRB notice is FAR superior to the moving rating system... since it tells you why a movie got the rating it received.
      #3) It's the PARENT'S job to oversee what their kids do, not the government, not the gameshop.

      The government has been legislating for over 200 years... do we NEED any more freaking laws?!
  • Unless the game industry can produce games that turn children into flaming christian zealots the current pile of shit representing themselves as our government will fuck with the state of games. The same is true with prose, movies, and music.
  • the problem is retailers. You see, the MPAA and movie theaters (who have their own large collective organization, reached an agreement when it came to the ratings system we have in place. Not only is the ESRB pretty one-sided, it is only the game industry making an effort, the retail outlets are not organized like many theaters are. And the only reason most large retailers will not sell R-rated movies to minors is because they would have a slew of parents protesting or some other BS from some lobby group
    • Not only is the ESRB pretty one-sided, it is only the game industry making an effort, the retail outlets are not organized like many theaters are.

      Not organized? Most game stores are owned by one company (Gamestop), so they don't need to have a collective organization, and they work closely with the ESRB (notice how their stores and magazine are covered with ESRB ads?) and have very clear policies against selling M games to minors. 90% of the games not sold by a Gamesop store are sold by an equally large

  • DVD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kalayq (827594)
    What is the difference between DVDs and Games in this respect? If you look at them, both mediums have a wide variety of genres, content and they both have Non mandated and self governed rating systems for parents. What is the difference here?

    Games have been around for a short while compared to movies. Movies in the beginning went through the whole "they are evil and will corrupt our children" phase already. Been there, done that. Games haven't finished with it and it looks like they still have a ways


  • If the government forced everyone to have an RFID tag implanted, then you could be readily identified by scanners so everyone can tell what information has been deemed "good" or "appropriate" for you as determined by the government. Have the FCC/FTC take over "voluntary" ratings programs and voila!
  • by Sierpinski (266120) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:08PM (#15542494)
    Do I Play GTA: San Andreas?
        Hell yes.
    Would I let my child buy and play a game like GTA: San Andreas?
        Hell no.
    Who should be responsible if my child is able to purchase and play GTA: San Andreas?
        Me (the parent).

    Its too easy for parents to blame others for not raising or supervising their children properly. Let the school teach them Sex Education. Let the FTC to lobby to Congress to prevent the sales of violent video games to children. Too bad they don't do the same with religion, or else we might have a few more open-minded people running this place in the next few decades.

    Tangent aside, the parents should ultimately be the ones responsible for what their child does. That's the way it is in other areas now. If my child goes out and buys a video game and plays it in my house without me knowing, there is a serious issue there. Maybe they can hide it for a day, but I care about my children to get involved with what they are doing. I care enough to want to protect them from violence until they are old enough to handle it. I play violent video games, but I never do it with or in front of my children. If they want to play something with me, I break out Sim City 4 or something like that.

    I'm not saying there shouldn't be a law against the sale of rated M games to minors. I think there should be restrictions on that the same way that a 15 year old cannot get into a rated R movie without a guardian, or into a NC-17 movie at all. What I am saying is that the parents need to stop relying on other people to decide what is best for their children. One day you might realize that all that stuff that they taught your child isn't the best for them, or you. Too late Mom and Dad, you already screwed it up by then.
    • I'm not saying there shouldn't be a law against the sale of rated M games to minors. I think there should be restrictions on that the same way that a 15 year old cannot get into a rated R movie without a guardian, or into a NC-17 movie at all
      There aren't any laws saying that 15 year olds can't see an NC-17 movie. The movie theatres self-regulate. I don't think it has to be different for game stores.
      • In many States, it is indeed illegal to allow a minor in an "R" or higher rated movie. It is not all States and sometimes it is at the county or city level. Not that I necessarily agree, but...
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:53PM (#15542940) Homepage
    I posted about this on my blog earlier today. The article from the Washington Times, "Lawmakers slam FTC for video game actions [washingtontimes.com] contains the following quote:
    Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat and ranking member of the subcommittee, criticized Wal-Mart for the ease with which consumers under age 17 can buy explicit games on its Web site simply by checking a box certifying they are the proper age.

    "That age verification is a joke," in an era when 13-year-olds can be issued credit cards and other children have access to their parents' cards, she said.
    Wow, I know that if I were under 18 and had a credit card that the first thing I would buy online would be violent videogames. Because we all know that there isn't any pornography online or anything or even places where you could buy things you could use to commit real violent acts if you wanted to. Besides videogames the internet is all rainbows and puppies...

    Such statements indicate that Rep Schakowsky is either totally clueless and incompetent or just fear mongering and will say anything to look "pro-family" and not at all concerned with real problems.
  • A regulatory agency advocating more regulation. Shocking!
  • A hammer was quoted as saying that the world needed more nails.
  • Doesn't congress have some little Iraqi kids to maim and slaughter?

    The dichotomy is sickening. These nanny-state loving goons can all go to hell, as far as I'm concerned, and they will.
  • "Government Says More Government Needed"

    Simple evolution folks. Any government that didn't try to amass power would die out and be replaced with one which does.
  • I love the concept of further ad reviews for GTA. Not once did I recall an ad for this game that started with:

    "HEY KIDS! Now you can beat the snot out of hoes - right in your own living room!
    Be the first on your block to collect all the pimps and drug dealers you can get in YOUR gang's territory!
    Got catch-em ALL!"

  • To my knowledge it's not illegal to sell M rated games to underage children as the ESRB ratings are A FUCKING GUIDELINE NOT AN ALMIGHTY GOD TO BE OBEYED BY EVERYONE. (sorry, just had to vent there).

    Anyway, this survey proves just about as much as one saying that minors are allowed into PG-13 rated movies without accompanying adults.
  • How about this.

    Give us libertarian types, say, western Oregon, as in independent nation.

    We'll let people do what they like as long as they don't hurt each other or the environment. I'm strongly tempted to outlaw religion in the government, just to simplify things. Hm, and make religious indoctrination of minors cause for divorcing parents, but ZING! let's let that lie. (Though I'd wonder what a nation running on the Golden Rule [masochists excepted] would develop into. Probably a nice place to live.) Cults
  • Exactly what is the legal/Constitutional basis for this?

    If someone could spell this out with a straight face I'd be surprised.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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