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Microsoft

Xbox To Include Censorchip 220

yesthatguy writes: "According to an MSNBC Article, Microsoft 'plans to voluntarily insert a V-chip-like control in its new video game console.' More details are to be released at E3 in May. I wonder if this will catch on, or if it is just a Microsoft move to appease the government, or if, as the article suggests, it will reduce game censorship, and allow consumers to censor the games themselves."
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Xbox To Include Censorchip

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  • I'm going to tell you how to parent, because I think I do a pretty good job.

    Ya of course you do, every parent thinks that...so what?

    In fact, i disagree with some of the points you make. My parents didn't follow your plan at all really; yet they are good parents. What makes a parent good is 1) how the kid feels about them when all is said and done and 2) how well the kid fitted into society (ie, did they become a serial killer or not).

    the problem is you seem to assume that all kids that play violent video games and watch R rated movies and listen to 'explicit lyrics' turn into sex crazed killers. HOwerver that is a large body of evidence that proves otherwise. Just about every in my HS did those things, and none have become psychopaths. I suspect the same can be said for all of america (since most school kids dont go around shooting people).
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:08PM (#382452)
    The way I see it, if all televisions have V-Chips in them, then there is no longer an excuse for the FCC to regulate content on the airwaves. I look forward to live hard-core pr0n on broadcast tv, tagged with the appropriate v-chip setting so that people who do not want to see hard-core porno for free, can set their tv's to automatically filter it out.

    Same thing for video games. The sooner all video game machines have v-chips, the sooner we can get the most extreme perverted stuff in games for everybody - no need to have the stores like Wal-Mart censor what they sell, anyone who doesn't want to see live nude girls on their x-box (or should that be their XXX-box) can set their v-chip to filter them out.
  • Who says it's not good parenting? You? Just because you don't believe it is, doesn't make it so. And also, who's to say that the parent didn't explain WHY the content was going to be blocked to the child AND block it? There is nothing wrong with censorware that is enforced on the user side.
  • "In fact, I'm an expert in religous morality"
    "Burn Hollywood Burn"

    *snicker*
    No comment. ;)

  • Looks like Microsoft has found its niche, Entertainment, not Computing.
  • Actually, the FCC has become involved in regulating content over cable. Like most government agencies, their #1 goal is to expand while their official directives are only secondary.

    One example that comes to mind is the current regulation on the display of hard pore cornography in an unscrambled form. It is currently illegal for most (probably all) cable carriers to transmit unscrambled corn over cable. The justification is just an extension of that used to regulate the air waves - the chance that someone might mistakenly receive cornography and is too feeble to change the channel.
  • Adults can stop their kids by teaching them, not by censoring them.

    What is a VChip if now censorship?
  • ummm a rating level is different than a physically implemented method of restricting ACCESS to that rating level.
  • Yeah it's ok for your 14 year old to play Half Life as long as 1. you don't have real weapons in the house and 2. he doesn't have any enemies at school.

    Just kidding, have to say something tongue-in-cheek once in awhile. I support the view that parenting is your responsibility. Ultimately Smith and Wesson isn't responsible when someone gets shot, just like Microsoft won't be responsible if your kid has violent dreams from playing games on windoze. Personally I think if you teach your children well, and you have a tight relationship with them, your kids won't go on shooting sprees and they'll know the difference between cartoon violence and how things are in the real world.

  • While most people would think it's bad, it's in fact the right direction a game box manufacturer must go.

    Let look at the market in Japan. People have always been saying Sega technically made better box than PS, but PS still sold much more than Sega's boxes.

    The major problem is that Sega actually have some x-rate games. I personally think it's kinda cool, but those parents(especailly in Japan) who made the purchase decision will frown upon these and buy PS for their kids instead.

    A video game developer told me PS and Sega has sole right to decide which game should be released and which shouldn't, unlike the PC game market. Sega is responsible for the appearance of x-rate games in their series.

    Microsoft knows that X-Box market would be like PC game market, where they would have problem restricting x-rated games publishing. Making censorware is a right direction for them for the market domination.

  • Fair enough, nebby; I'm not a parent, either.

    I just don't like to see methods like this used as a substitute for talking to the kids. If you've seen American Beauty, the military guy is a good example of this. He could have had a fairly normal family if he could take the time to talk to and understand his son. And his son could, if he could trust his father to listen to him, and not to beat him. But they're trapped instead, because neither one of them can make the first move towards understanding, trapped by fear of rejection or punishment.

    This is what happens when you don't communicate with people enough, or don't make an effort to listen to them, or understand their point of view. If you do, then you can try to teach them morals, and convince them that something is right or wrong or even just a good idea. If you don't, then even if you can stop them from doing whatever behavior you don't like, you still aren't explaining to them why it's bad. You're fixing the symptom, but allowing the problem to spread--it's a very Western idea, but not necessarily a good one.

    By the way, I like Half-Empty; I haven't been there in a while, though. It's still pretty chaotic, I take it?
  • by ConsumedByTV ( 243497 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:49PM (#382462) Homepage
    You can't very well have a person carding a kid everytime they want to use a R rated video game, can you?

    Well its nice to know that you support descrimination. Last time I checked it wasnt the law to make it so that minors couldnt watch an r rated movie without an adult. Most theaters do it so they can sell another ticket (If you want to see this movie, you have to bring an adult with you...). I worked at a movie theatre for a good amount of time and I can tell you, that its bunk. There is no reason that a 16 year old boy/girl shouldnt be able to go see an R rated movie, because the MPAA has raters with a different dogma then these kids and their parents (IF they have parents). This is a war on the youth, and if you support that, well, fuck you. Teens and children are people too, if you put this on a system, your going to find your kids becoming criminals (because of the DCMA) much sooner then before. If your kids respect your wishes (becase respect is earned) then they might not want to play, and to destroy the want (say by not playing it infront of them) is better then to make them punished for having fun like daddy. It is censorship no matter how you look at it, and the difference from this and childproof lids is that medicine can kill a stupid child, a video game wont.


    Fight censors!
  • Youth violence in the U.S. is not increasing; it is decreasing.

    Hardware vendors are not responsible for violence; the people who commit violent acts are. If the offenders are minors, the parents share in the responsibility.

    If violent games do cause violent behavior (cite a scientific study, not just a news story), then maybe this is worthwhile.

    This is ultimately just a way for bad parents to feel less guilty about being bad parents.


    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • ...we could turn it on and block out all the obscene content on the 'net like M$ and M$IE logos.

    O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Law:

  • No kidding. I hope when the knee-jerkers are adults, they have fun hovering over their kids' shoulders 24-hours a day. I'm sure their children will just love that. Oh, and don't forget to leave the gun and liquor cabinets unlocked, the Playboys on the coffee table, and don't even think about setting a root password on your computer. Telling your kids not to mess around with any of those will be perfectly sufficient.

    Microsoft doing this is also a good thing because the game-makers will feel less pressure to sanitize the adult games. Or I suppose the knee-jerkers would prefer the situation where game-makers get called up before congress every time they make a game showing the rape of that chick from Diff'rent Strokes.


    Cheers,

  • BECAUSE...for 90% of the users of this tool...they arent parenting in the begining and are substituting this technology for good parenting. Triggerlocks? You dont need a fucking goddamn triggerlock if your gun is secure in a locked cabinet to begin with now, eh? It just creates LAZY parents. And god knows(shooting today) theres enough all ready.
  • ...clean good AMERICAN themes

    Hopefully the X-box for sale in Canada will filter out the nasty AMERICAN themes!

  • Heh, in Canada and most(all?) of Europe, codeine is available over the counter (though somewhat controlled) in a tylenol(paracetamol)/asprin + 8mg codeine form. Thus, the codeine comment was a bit inappropriate; however I totally agree with you about education and common sense, that's how I was raised, and while I'm only 19 at the time, I think I've turned out pretty well. Being around guns and playing wolf3d with dad when I was younger didn't twist my mind. Hell, dad made me memorize the basic rules to gun safety and be able to take them apart and put them back together (seriously) before he'd let me shoot one. To this day, I've *never* pointed a weapon at a person, loaded or not (because unloaded guns are treated as loaded, duh) and hope I never have to.

    But this is getting off topic, so I'll stop :P

    Matt
  • I think this is a Bad Thing (tm). Not because it will limit good games (it won't), or because it's censorship (it isn't), or because it's an obvious PR stunt.

    This is crappy because it will be yet another way to control children without actually parenting them. We rely on technology rather than responsibility, gimicky hardware rather than supervision. This technology will not solve any problems; it will be used so parents can use a TV as a babysitter with slightly less guilt.

    Some parents will use this responsibily; as for the rest... Five years from now, we will be reading about a renewed uproar over violent video games, saying all console makers should be as responsible as Microsoft and stop letting kids see adult games. Never mind that it's the parents job, not Nintendo's or Sony's.


    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • How dare those bastards make it possible for parents to keep their children from playing violent video games! This is censorship at it's worst, the way they're making it so I don't have to wonder what games my kids have been playing while I was out getting groceries!!

    Thank god it's the X-Box not the Playstation 2 that has this control, since we all know that Microsoft is going to fail horribly with the X-Box anyway, seeing as Microsoft sucks, and the X-Box doesn't run Linux!

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • ...and now watch people bash Microsoft for incorporating the same thing into a game console.

    This puts the power to censor potentially offensive material in video games in the _only_ place it belongs: the home.

    Any parent who doesn't want their kids playing M-Rated games on a machine can set a switch, and take that kind of responsibility away from the retailers and game makers who don't really want it and don't really do much with it.

    The ESRB ratings are a massive failure when you consider that it's enforced by the teenagers and young adults who are the primary workforce at retail stores that sell games. Since the ratings were introduced some n years ago, I've honestly never seen a single child or under-17 teenager prevented from purchasing an M Rated title, which are some of the biggest selling games available (i.e. Resident Evil, Parasite Eve).
  • This is clearly a marketing stunt. Microsoft supplies the API and OS for the games on their consoles, and thus could easily create an API to provide this functionality. Nothing is stopping any other manufacturer or even MS from adding V-Chip like features without adding the chip itself. By going with the V-Chip approach Microsoft gets more noise made about the X-Box, appeases the government (don't bother explaining to them technology), and actually appeases parents on the issue of buying a console - by creating the impression that the facility is there people are likely to buy the console for this reason. In fact I would be curious to know how many of the people who bought TVs because of the V-Chip ( there are some ) actually take advantage of it.
  • In other words, they want things to be as encrypted and secretive and copy-proof as possible. If they can get more control of a system by adding a V-Chip, so be it. Whatever it takes to get more control - so they can abuse and/or sublet that control - Microsoft will do. At all levels.

    IBM have seen this one coming. Read their peace-love-linux ads carefully and you will see that IBM have learnt about Microsoft since M$ upended the chessboard halfway through passionfingering OS/2. Did you know that Windows NT was originally called OS/2 NT, and the name only changed when lots of copies of Windows 3.0 were sold?

    Committment to Linux and open standards is IBM's answer. ``Keep the playing field level (and the chess-board upright) and we'll do OK,'' seems to be their reasoning. A far cry from IBM of the '70s. Microsoft, OTOH, want hidden decisions, secret b*llsh*t ingredients, maximum authority, endless pain for users and tech support people.

    Sorry if this sounds rantish, but that's Microsoft's basic motivation for doing the V-Chip. At least, it's the only reason which dovetails with the temperament of the beast.

    Expect to see one in CE next. ``I'm sorry, your PalmPC is low on licencing. Please plug it in to a registered Microsoft licence recharging station and keep your fingers clear of your wallet until recharge is complete, in case your credit cards implode.''

  • If there is one thing Microsoft understands is how to promote and get people to use their platform ... They know it's in their best interest to get as many titles as possible written for their system. It's hard to compete based soley on hardware, so they really need the next "killer app", or in this case, killer game. So the easier it is for developers to release games the better. High license fees and a closed API will slow developement. Hell, if I could write a game with a free Windows based development kit, then burn a CD and sell it, I'd write games for the X-Box.

    ---

  • This sounds like you have parents who are unwilling/unable to take the steps necessary to establish and maintain parental checks and balances over you. This does not render the idea pointless in general; rather, it makes it pointless in your specific case.

    Hopefully, you will not turn out like Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold.
  • A V-Chip is a way to enforce what a parent tells a kid. Trust me, if a kid wants to watch a blocked show (and cant find a workaround), that parent will find themselves embroiled in a detailed discussion of why that show should be allowed.
    ___
  • Come on folks, even IE has a Content Advisor (although I don't know how many folks actually use it), so is this such a big surprise?

    It's a good marketing idea for Microsoft too, because like it or not, this will allow them to sell it to the same parents who are using their V-Chip enabled TVs and Content controlled DVD players. Of course we know that none of the software providers are actually using these features, so if it can get MS one more sale then they're going to offer it.
  • by Ig0r ( 154739 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:09PM (#382478)
    Before I start, let me just state that I'm in no way judging you as a (future) parent.

    Just tell your kids why they shouldn't be doing 'bad' things and give them good reasons!

    The problem with a technological rather than social solution is that it only applies to one specific type of device, won't work in the long run, and it DOESN'T teach respect or self-control to kids.
    If you show a kid WHY they shouldn't be doing something, they'll be less likely to want to do it than if you just say "Don't do this... because I say so!"

    Technological measures can always be circumvented if the kid really wants to do something anyway!
    Would you know if you restricted your child's access to this material at home but they were gaining access through a friend who didn't have these limitatons?

    --
  • What exactly are you referring to?
  • I don't know how exactly a V-chip works, but if it's just some software that you can switch 'on' or 'off' (maybe even with some nontrivial keycombination or even a password that can be set) then i think sooner or later the kid will figure it out (maybe find the note with the password) if it really wants to. I think the only thing that'd really work would be some kind of key, that can be removed (and that should be treated like a key, and not left lying next to the Box).

    While i agree with above statement, i feel it should be added, that it's probably a good idea to explain to the kid why you don't want him to watch some movies or play some games, especially not unsupervised. That would avoid the kid regarding this as just another stupid rule or even a challenge.
  • how does it know?
    HOW DOES IT KNOW?
  • >>The reality of it is that HUMANS ARE VIOLENT!
    There is a difference between Escapism and Reality, and it is important to keep the distinction, as in shooting people versus playing war games. IIRC the fairy tales, aimed at very small children, can be pretty gruesome. The trick is to have the violence in the non-real world of Escapism INSTEAD OF the real world. Between such as RoadRunner-Coyote and most of Walt Disney's stuff, it seems like Walt Disney has done more to promote "moral decay", since it promotes disrespect for authority as a "real world" desirable quality. (Expressed badly, but maybe you can see the point.)
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:51PM (#382488)
    The x-box needs a DVD content control chip anyway, so this seems like a logical extension.

    What it all comes down to is making life easier for developers. By simply taking advantage of the chip, parents can block anything they do not want the kids to see. Great examples would be:
    - A Soldier of Fortune port with both the no gore and normal versions.
    - Giants, with the lockout turning blood green and adding underwear.
    - Games could even incorporate the German style violence workaround: With the v-chip on, all life forms become robots.

    This is a good thing. Really. Too bad Microsoft is doing it.
  • I am a parent with two children. The way you keep them from playing video games you don't want them to play and from watching TV shows you don't want them to watch is to exercise your parental authority and forbid them to do it. This means, of course, that you must actually spend the time to raise your children yourself and not rely on "electronic nanny" to raise them for you.

    If it is worthwhile to bring children into the world, then it is worthwhile to make the effort to raise them properly. All the V-chips in the world can't substitute for it, and they're unnecessary if you're doing it.

  • by perdida ( 251676 ) <thethreatproject@@@yahoo...com> on Monday March 05, 2001 @05:57PM (#382490) Homepage Journal
    I for one intend to introduce extra salacious material onto my video games.

    Anatomically correct Mario, anyone?

  • I find your lack of lack of faith disturbing.

    It is perfectly reasonable for you to want to filter content, where the qualities that you want to filter are a function of your values.

    The probably that the V-Chip or a corporate-sponsored ratings board, will happen to coincide your values (or any other human being's) is vanishingly small.

    When you let the corporations, or the government, or a mysterious focus group, select what is acceptable and what isn't, you are letting someone else shape your kid's mind. MPAA ratings are a great example of this. Unless you are a media expert, I bet you don't have any idea where "the line" is between PG-13 and R movies. I can tell you right now, that qualities such as sex and violence are only a minor parameters. And it's pretty sad what qualities (e.g. product placements) are left out of the function altogether, or are even selected in reverse to commond sense.

    Filtering according to your own values may be good. Industry-standard filtering is slavery, brainwashing, and an asset in someone's marketing portfolio. If you love your kid, don't sell him.


    ---
  • maybe not for Mario, but there are quite a few adult themed [digitpress.com] Atari 2600 games you can play with an emulator. There's even female targeted versions of some of the games.

    Bachelor Party [vgmuseum.com] and the female version Bachelorette Party [vgmuseum.com]

    Beat 'em and Eat 'em [vgmuseum.com](due to the Atari's lo-res, I first thought the guy was holding a bazooka! Gameplay is like Kaboom [vgmuseum.com], but instead of losing a bucket when you miss, the ladies fart)

    Burning Desire [vgmuseum.com] and the female version Jungle Fever [vgmuseum.com]

    Custer's Revenge [classicgaming.com]

    Knight on the Town [vgmuseum.com]

  • Thanks for the up-to-date info. The last time that I read the code of federal regulations WRT telecommunications was when I was in college in 1988. Obviously, things change and I'm pleased to be corrected.
  • by zaius ( 147422 ) <jeff.zaius@dyndns@org> on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:14PM (#382507)
    Many of the comments here suggest that if your kid can walk over to your computer and start up half life it's your fault, but that's entirely incorrect. What these people need to realize is that you can't supervise your kid 100% of the time.

    In a way though, they are correct. Let's say you have two kids, one who's 14 and one who's 9. It would probably be ok with you if the 14 yr. old played Half Life, but you wouldn't want the 9 year old to. What happens then when one is and the other one's in the same room? V-chips don't help this, so in that regard they're useless.

    Sorry about the incoherency... it's late.

  • Its easy for you to say that they arent responsible, its easy for all of us to say that. But now, tell that to plantiffs and lawyers, lawmakers and senators. These people dont believe that all the time.

    These people believe that their job is to protect our kids from our lifestyles. That makes Microsoft and Smith & Wesson nervous - and that makes them resort to silly things - content control, "smart guns" (aka useless pieces of metal), etc etc. This makes corporations fearful, and it hurts the consumer ultimately.

    When mothers demanded child-proof caps everyone said "what could it hurt.. if it just saves one life..." and now its institutionlized. Companies get recalls forced if their caps to chemicals are "child-proof". It sounded innocent. The next step is always "your product killed my child, pay me money". You throw a little responsibility out the door, you throw it all away. The same thing is happening with video games - "they portray violence, how about a voluntary rating system", then "these games are too violent to sell to minors, you'd better check ids when you sell a game" and now "your video game caused my son to kill 10 classmates, pay us all money". Its a trend, and its not going to stop unless people realize that you can't trade a little bit of safety now for any amount of freedom.

    Products that are inherently dangerous - specifically, ones that cause a probability of injury should be heavily regulated, products that simple allow the possibility or injury should be freely distributed with the warning that they may cause damage. It is up to the consumer to assess, wiegh, and act on the level fo risk inherent in the product.

    This is the perfect rule to apply to this MS thing. Video games *do not* have a probability of injury or physical violence being committed, therefore, they should be free of all governmental regulation in terms of safety/content control/parental control devices.
  • Say, V-Chip as Violence Hardware Accelerator. You just set up violence level and blood color and voila - hardware accelerated blood and gibs! Only supports Direct3D API, though.
  • First, the console market is already fairly highly subscribed if not totally saturated, so the X-box will have to be pretty special to make a large proportion of gamers reach into their pockets again. All the other popular consoles are closed platforms. A way of becoming "pretty special" is ready and waiting.
    I think the inclusion of a harddrive and out-of-the-box broadband could very easily qualify as "pretty special".
    Second, it just so happens that virtually all the big players in the console arena either have or will be bringing out new mega-powerful systems within the same time frame,...
    Sony? No. Sega? No. Nintendo? Yes, but it will sell primarily because of franchise titles, not because the hardware or development tools are anything special.

    Nothing is gained by restricting what can run on a platform (all the talk of controlling for "quality" is unadulterated rubbish --- people like to decide for themselves, thank you very much)
    You'll have to pardon me if I strongly disagree. It's not about letting people make their own decisions. Look at the PC market for games -- there's tons of shovelware being released every day, and getting (and maintaining!) shelf space is virtually impossible unless you've got a big name or move lots of copies right out of the gate.

    Limiting the market, as is done with consoles, gives expensive high-quality games the opportunity to become known and grow in the market. Trust me, AAA developers don't mind licensing fees that separate the wheat from the chaff at all.

    And though it's true I've been talking about things that help developers, one thing it seems that MS understands is that really good blockbuster games are what sell consoles, not a "name" in the industry, and not powerful but tweaky hardware. Which is at least one thing they're getting right.


  • Adults can stop their kids by teaching them, not by censoring them.

    Tell a 10 year old kid not to play Quake because there is blood and guts and naked girls (ok, not in my Q3, but you get point..) and he'd probably still try to sneak in a game of Quake. I wouldn't necessarily blame curiosity on bad parenting.

    What is a VChip if not censorship?

    It depends on where you draw the line for censorship. I consider censorship to be the restriction of speech or expression of someone by and outside source of illegitimate authority. Parents are one of the only forms of authority who should be allowed to "censor" stuff from their kids. That's what this does.. though "censor" is a rather strong word for it. Is covering their kids' eyes during the scary parts of a movie "censorship?"
  • So I guess you just keep cleaning products and medicine left open all over the house.

    After all, *you're the parent* and so it's YOUR responsibility to keep your kids from having a meal of Codeine with a Drano chaser. You can't expect some furniture company's locking cabinet to do your parenting for you.

  • I can see how this could work. If Microsoft does this right, they can allow the programing community a bit bor freedom... Here's how I hope it comes out:

    The V-Chip is controled though a physical key or code key. Yes, they are breakable (in more sence than one) but most "kids" won't be able to break them. If the kid is able to break the lock, he's old enough to know right from wrong, so I guess he should be able to react alot better to the more mature content.

    Alright, Game developers will want the kids to play their games as much as the adults, (More moola, the allmighty buck!) So, much like "Mortal Kombat" for the SNES, there will be sweat instead of blood. Plus, you can turn on the "Gibbed" version of your game with the proper key!

    This will encurage a couple of things:

    A> Game companies will have to spend time making more games appealing to more audiances, and not just us "one shot, one kill" young adults that like blood, guts, a little additude, and a lot of inside mature humor. Instead they will have to produce some of the real gems that we learned to love as youngsters: Mario, Metroid, PacMan, DigDug, SpaceInvaders, Asteriods... Those old games that make us all smile...

    and B> Developers can finaly make "Mature" games without having to worry about making the press scream "This is what you're 4 year old is playing!" as they seem to like screaming nowadays.

    So, How could this be bad? Bad implementation, bad desgin, bad ideas on what's "mature" or not... Not ALL of this is in the X-Box's hand, but they sure could mess this one up.

    Best of luck to the X box. I won't be buying one (I'm cheap, wouldn't pay $500 for my most rescent computer!) and I bet they're going to go all the way, just like Sony did the last time around.

    On a side note, I'm going to buy a Game Boy Advanced the INSTANT it comes out. No compatition, really (I've heard about something else, but do you REALLY think they'll beat Nentendo??)

    Pathway
  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:00PM (#382523)
    Its not surprising that this crowd has turned this into another anti-Microsoft rant. You know, they don't ALWAYS deserve it.

    I think this is a great idea. If games have ratings, and parents can control that, then I don't have to worry about my games being censored.

    If i'm missing something, let me know.

  • Yeah, but we all know Linux will be ported to the X-Box within 3 hours of its release.

    - A.P.

    --
    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • What I remember is being told not to do somethings with no reason at all as to why I shouldn't, so I ended up doing them just to figure out what was wrong with it!

    --
  • Completely agree here: the v-chip is just like filterware; if you have no kids, it doesn't affect you at all, and if you have kids, it gives you a bit more control on things that you don't want them to see until you believe they are mature at times where you cannot constantly monitor your kids. Slashdot editors continue to call both censorship, and while I do agree that a few slippery slope legislations can make filters into censoring mechanisms, it's not at that point yet.

    However, there's the other extreme, where parents that buy these items expect them to be the only means to control their children's viewing habits and take no other active participation in this; they are then the first to complain when their children have inappropriate items. V-Chips and filterware are not placebos for taking an active role in parenting, unlike how many wish they could be.

  • I never said that they wouldn't ever even think about playing those games.

    I just said that they would be less likely to want to, and if they knew that you were open about the issue, they would be more likely to want to talk to you about it rather than do it behind your back without your knowledge.

    --
  • You contradict yourself in the first paragraph.

    Yes, if a person really wants to see/do something, they're going to find a way to do it. You can control things in your own house, but what about a neighbor or friend's house?
    If you really did *explain* why a game is 'unacceptable' and they really understand it, then they are really unlikely to want to play it.

    But don't forget that a child isn't an extention of their parents! You can't force your thought patterns and morals on another individual and expect them to follow exactly what you say. They are intelligent and searching for knowledge, good or bad. The only way to learn about something is to experience it, and just having a directive without reason behind it is just ignorance.

    --
  • Parents should be able to decide when their children are mature enough to take responsibility for their actions with help from good parenting and a working school system. The way we have it in the States assumes that all kids are at this mature point by age 18; some kids might reach this point earlier by as early as 12, but we have no system in place to 'advance' these kids to adults because there IS a serious problem with parenting in the states. So it's not that 18 is a magic age when every child becomes morally mature, but it's a point where 99% of all children would have reached maturity by that time. (IMO, we need to have a way for parents to grant their children 'adulthood', a special card that says they are knowingly responsible for their actions, which can be given to the child before they reach 18.)

  • by Richy_T ( 111409 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @08:32PM (#382537) Homepage
    It is currently illegal for most (probably all) cable carriers to transmit unscrambled corn over cable

    How about cream of wheat?

    Rich

    (And yes, I know it was a deliberate transliteration)

  • If they want to have competitive hardware, they'll have to either charge twice as much as their competitors (and enjoy all the great mass-market success of 3DO and NeoGeo), or lose money on it. That's the way the console market works. Selling cutting edge hardware to teenagers is unprofitable.

    The profit of the console market is in the software. To have any hope of breaking even, let alone making a profit, they need whopping licensing fees from the game developers.
    ---
  • by Bluesee ( 173416 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `ynnekkcirtapleahcim'> on Monday March 05, 2001 @08:37PM (#382540)
    I'm going to tell you how to parent, because I think I do a pretty good job. And also because I deplore the situation in which parents are so confused and bewildred that they feel they need Net Nannies and censorship on TV and yes, v-chips.

    I wonder what kind of parents these congressmen are...

    Ok, when a kid is 0-5 there is nothing in their environment but what you have created and placed there. You don't listen to NIN in their presence, you don't watch TV with them. You don't leave it on while you get the dishes done and they sit there, numb and brainwashed. You never turn it on, ideally, and its not part of their day.

    You expose them to classical music. You roll on the floor with them, you fingerpaint, you color with them. You devote more time than you ever thought you could spare to them because between 0-5 they have and should have no one else in their world but Mommy, Daddy, and close family.

    Which is to say that you don't Ever send them to Day Care. You make necessary sacrifices, which in this day and age means you must often choose between having a family and having a career if you are the Wife, or having a house if you are a Husband. But once you chose kids, the mother (or father) should stay at home all day and have the child(ren) by her side at all times.

    You read to them constantly, sitting on the couch, close and warm, taking time for the child to ask questions. Often the child will prefer only one book to be read over and over again. That's okay, and never to be questioned. You can marvel at how the little brain is imprinting itself through repetition of the same (frikkin') story over and over again. You read to them every night.

    After 5 years old, you guide them in their development, giving them signals that it is time to start growing up a little. This means - beyond potty training - exposing them to new experiences.

    Ideally, at this point, they don't know what a TV even is. And they certainly have never seen gore, violence, or rage, except as played out within the safe circle of the family. Roughhousing is a wonderful exercise!

    But also, their stories become richer in texture as elements of violence enter into the nightly readings. I prefer Finn McCollough (pronounced "Finn McCool"), of Irish Myths and Legends. It is amazing how gory and grim (pun intended) and frightening some of these stories are, but they serve a good purpose: mankind is not without its Dark Side, and it is better to acknowledge it and 'take it out for a walk' than to bury it. Start with them young, let them know that it is okay to entertain some negative thoughts. Frighten them, sure, but with a strong degree of comfort and security.

    Then they come to rely on your judgement heavily so that only your influence matters in their lives. Others, including the TV and video game mfrs and rock stars, are powerless to influence the child, and their access is limited and always under controlled circumstances.

    Then, as they grow beyond the age where you can control their access, you try to instill them with all the wisdom you can and teach them to discern between right and wrong, good and bad.

    When they hit about twelve years old, they will begin to experiment with violent games and images. Here is where all those scary stories pay off (I don't recommend you read exclusively scary stories, but they will tell you which they like and which are boring, or too scary). You have taught them that their 'dark side' (the side that is scared, in reality) is okay, and they recognize the feelings. They also turn to you to validate them. At this point they know what is and what is not good for them. This is not to say that they won't disobey your wishes! There is a tacit acceptance that they will experiment, but you have done all you can at this point.
  • War on youth? I don't know if I agree with that, but when I was under 16 I had no qualms having an older buddy or my parents run in and get the tickets for me and my underage friends. Of course, there were times when we'd sneak in, but that's not the point.

    The issue here isn't that a 16 year old shouldn't be able to go see an R movie. I personally agree that the age for movies is a bit ridiculous. The point is that giving parents control over what video games their kids can play in their house is a good thing, not a "war on youth."

    I'm a kid too for christ's sake, I'm only 19 (watch my reputability drop...)

    Having a parent turn off violent content from games their 13 year old wants to play is not discrimination even though the 13 year old "is a person too." Like it or not, you ain't got no rights at 13 years of age (in the U.S., at least.) It's for your own good, most of the time, anyway. 15-16 is a grey area, its different for each person how they mature, but the line does have to be drawn somewhere. Luckily in most cases the line can be shifted around by parents (ie, the movie case.)

    And, BTW, it matters not what the opinions of the "raters" are of the MPAA.. (the use of that acronym spells troll to me, but I'll continue) .. we all know what makes it an R rated movie or a PG-13 movie. It doesn't really matter how ridiculous you think it is, if everything is rated relative to one another, parents can decide that an R movie is in fact something they don't want their 13 year old kid to see. 5 years ago an R rated movie was different than an R rated movie today, but the parent can still make the judgement call effectively.

  • Not really. With medicine, if you lack attention for a few minutes, you risk finding your kid plain dead.

    Well, the analogy was not for the consequences of the two things, but merely the notion of helping parents keep kids out of doing things they shouldn't be doing.

    Not quite the same as finding him playing a violent video game and having an opportunity to teach him why you don't want him to do this, and discuss alternative video games

    If you turn a video game off from letting a kid play, and he asks you why.. you can have your little talk then without him seeing the stuff and being extremely curious.

    You're probably right about it not being real useful in parenting, but it really can't hurt (except if you're like that guy who doesn't want to pay for it.. Christ :P) .. and notice the title of the story. That's why I shot it down as not being censorship.

  • > It's not censorship

    Of course it is not. But it is not a vital feature either. I even doubt it have a real help in parenting.


    Maybe not a vital feature, but a good one (IMHO). IANAP either, but I can definately agree that while yes, you should talk to your children and tell them what is right, wrong, acceptable and not, you may not want to leave the (perverbial) playboy channel unlocked. This doesn't have to deal with violent video games either, what about pornographic (or explicit, like Duke3d (maybe a stretch, but you get what I'm talking about)) games? Yes, there is a time and place to talk to your children about sex, girls and boys and why they are different, but that doesnt' mean I want my 5 year old son/daughter accidently turning on my xbox and starting up "Hot Redhead Nurse Strip Poker" which I left in the night before.

    Don't forget, this has been done in a variety of ways before, to some degree anyway. The PS2 we have at work had a code to lock out DVDs if we wanted to, and games from as far back as ... erhm... duke3d anyway, have had a "parental lock" feature, and no one complained. Non-parents ignored it, parents (probably) used it, and everyone was happy. MS has just taken the next step and put it on the console level, like the v-chip.

    Whether this feature is used or not is going to be the thing, but not I hope, whether it was a good idea.
  • "Yeah, good point. Look at how those games screwed you up. Hypocrite."

    Flamebait, eh. I'll address it anyway. Let me tell you something about me. I know right from wrong. In fact, I'm an expert in religous morality, both past and present forms. When I was a child, morality consisted little more than "will I get spanked for this?" and "can I get away for this?". That's the reality of a 5 year old. They don't fully understand the implications of death, much less the implications of love and sex. I sure didn't. Which is why I want to expose my children to such things in a controlled enviroment, rather than let some video game writer do it for me. As they get older, and I am certain they understand right from wrong, and that games are not real, I will let them play games. But, it will be my choice. I'm not a hippocrite, I just don't want others raising my kids.

  • But, how is a parent going to know when their child is 'mature' enough to play a certain game.
    Is there a magic age when a person realizes that the violence on the screen isn't real?
    Some might realize this at an early age, and some might never realize this.

    The parent still has to play an active role in the process, and I agree with the rest of your post.

    --
  • You are absolutely right, I don't know what it will be like or what she will think of it or what will happen, however that's where two things come to play, 1. Love, 2. Communication.

    You mentioned that should sex not be satisfying that it would be hard to talk about. That's the major difference, sex is a very important part of a marrage, if you can't talk about something that's that important (i.e. explaining to each other what you like or don't like) then I think the relationship is going down anyway. I feel that I love her enough to be able to take the time and care about what she wants. Those are things that make the relationship work.

    You are right that there is not a 100% perfect way to enter a relationship, but I choose to do it in a manner consistant with my belief structure. Also and I don't have a copy of this but I have read statistics that show engaged couples who have sex before they get married have a higher occurance of sexual dysfunction (especially on the part of the women) when they get married, as opposed to those who waited.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Please see my reply to AC above

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Someone says "Microsoft" and you guys jump all over it like crazed people! So, my DVD player and cable box are "censoring" content by having a parental lock feature? Because that's all this is... If the linux-based Indrema console had the exact same feature, you'd all be lauding it for responsibly giving parents the ability to control what their children are exposed to and giving developers an "out" that lets them create whatever content they desire. ("If you don't want our violent/sexy game played in your home, you can just lock it out!")
  • For a case like that, couldn't you just set your more mature games someplace more than a few feet off the ground, and you wouldn't have to worry about small children finding them and managing to become adept at slaughtering virtual enemies?

    --
  • by nebby ( 11637 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:33PM (#382560) Homepage
    Gotta love the knee jerk reaction to this comment that all the /. geeks throw out about the poster being an irresponsible parent. I'm just adding my comment into the mix because it seems to me that only one or two other people in the thread made the point that the VChip is a tool for parenting not a replacement. You cannot watch your kids 24/7, and even if you do tell them "no" it's always good to be able to keep them from the temptation of breaking the rules.

    Granted, I'm not a parent, not even close, but I'm sick of seeing the idiocy of this issue.. the notion of "Microsoft being the nanny" because they're adding a feature to their video game system to allow parents to choose what can or cannot be played is absolutely ridiculous.

    There's no difference between this and childproof lids on medicine and the fact that you need to be carded at movies or be with a parent. You can't very well have a person carding a kid everytime they want to use a R rated video game, can you? If the parent wants to let the kid play the R rated game, then they just turn the thing off.

    It's not censorship. People on this site use the term way too loosely.
  • by plaa ( 29967 ) <sampo.niskanen@i ... i minus math_god> on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @03:24AM (#382562) Homepage
    You have lots of good points, but I'd like to add a few comments...

    As the other reply said, I believe that a moderate amount of daycare is good for children. They learn to play with each other, to cooperate and settle arguments. Parents should have a close relationship with their children, but at the age of 3-6 I'd say it's also important to have other social contacts (even without the parent around) and daycare is a good way to offer them.

    ... and you will never have to confiscate guns or drugs or condoms from them.

    What the hell is wrong with condoms? In my opinion, safe sex is one of the most important things you should teach teenagers. Here in Finland, for instance, in the course of general education at the age of about 15-16 every boy and girl gets two condoms (one through mail along with a leaflet explaining about veneral diseases and one from the school pediatrician). It's not supposed to encourage students to use them and have sex (and I don't believe it does), instead, to show that safe sex is not a taboo and that condoms are an easy and safe way to protect from diseases if and when the time comes.

    Of course, sexuality should also be discussed at home, not just at schools. At least my parents have done their part in educating and guiding me, I hope others have too.

    How much education on sexuality (and I don't mean only sex) is given in schools/at home in the US? I've lived there only third grade, but from TV etc. (including posts like this) I get the feeling that in some parts safe sex is still a subject not to be discussed. Is this really so?
  • by shmick ( 222581 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @03:32AM (#382563)
    Sure mate, you're entitled to your opinion and let's face it, nearly all parents think they do a good job. Even the ones who smoke infront of their kids (I know of such morons). Most of what you say might seem commonsense to one parent, yet bizzare for others. I'll tell you what I think of your suggestions and you tell me if off base.

    Take your kids to day care. Not often, but not never. From my observations, kids are like little sponges. The kids I know that have been exposed to day care at young ages (in limited doses) are less shy (more confident) and appear better adjusted to meeting new people (whether it be toddlers or grownups) than those that socialize nearly exclusively with familiar faces. Could be wrong about this, but it's my observation that, in the very least, day care in moderation is certainly not harmful.

    I'm not sure if the "classical music == smarter kids" notion is scientific or urban myth. Just to be sure, I'll let the kid listen to some of Radiohead's "OK Computer". I'll let you know if my kid becomes a drug addict.

    Have to agree about the TV. Piece of shit it is. But I don't think that non-exposure is going to teach anything. Maybe let them watch a couple of hours a week. I prefer letting kids watch "older" movies. I defined old by the fact that I can't find any merchandise in the stores. They love the movies still, but you just don't have to [read: can't] buy the toys.

    I agree that when they are old enough to rationalise (you decide), they need to be exposed to advertising so you can tell them what it's about and how ridiculous it is. Actually, now is the time to educate educate educate.

    I could ramble on about my thoughts on parenting, but I just wanted to point out that we all have our ideas about how to be a good parent. I'd suggest that a lot of what we would consider good parenting would have to do with the way we raised. I had an argument with a neighbour who flogged his 2 month old puppy. His justification : "I had three dogs when I was a kid" (implying that this "experience" justifies his violence) !!!!????? Do you think his father taught him how to "teach" a dog? It's right to strive to be a good father. Just be open to suggestions and look for advice (books, friends, family, etc.).

    And finally, teach your kids soccer :)

  • I see nothing wrong with curiosity. I do see something wrong with stifling it. I wouldn't be happy with the disobedience, but I'd rather have a chance to explain things, instead of causing resentment and not knowing it.

    Covering your own eyes (or looking away) during a scary part of a movie is self-censorship. So is viewing slashdot moderation--self-censorship by a community. This isn't always a bad thing, but it should be noticed, and called what it is.

    Do you remember being a kid? Did you always consider your parents to be the absolute authority on everything? I think that technological censorship tools either cause resentment in children, or teach them how to hack.

    I know I spent a considerable amount of time getting around useless security measures in High School. If some of those hadn't existed in the first place, I never would have learned how to defeat them. (and believe me, they were pointless)

    But in either case, I'm sure every good parent out there would rather keep their children's respect and trust by explaining things to them and trying to teach them morals than lose it by simply denying them what they want and not listening to them. That is my objection, and I think these tools often cause that; it is a form of neglect, and encourages poor communication.
  • From the "Juvenile Justice Bulletin" December, 2000 [ncjrs.org], with cooperation from the U.S. Department of Justice...

    Some of their conclusions include:

    "Few juveniles were arrested for violent crime"

    "Juvenile arrests for violence in 1999 were the lowest in a decade"

    "Juvenile arrests for property crimes declined substantially in recent years"

    "The juvenile share of the crime problem decreased in 1999"

    "After years of relative stability in the number of juvenile Violent Crime Index arrests, the increase in these arrests between 1988 and 1994 focused national attention on the problem of juvenile violence. After peaking in 1994, these arrests dropped each year from 1995 through 1999. The number of juvenile arrests in 1999 was the lowest since 1988 for all Violent Crime Index offenses..."

    Their data sources:

    Analysis of arrest data from unpublished FBI reports for 1980 through 1997 and from Crime in the United States reports for 1998 and 1999 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999 and 2000, respectively); population data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1980 to 1999 [machine-readable data files available online, released April 11, 2000].

    If you're interested, it's a good read. It contradicts a lot of popular sentiment, but provides justification for its conclusions.


    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • I don't think it's really a valid workaround to make 'all life forms become robots'. What happens when robots start to be considered life forms?
    The last thing we need is a hundred years of oppression and slavery for yet another race (because they'll slaughter us when they break their bonds, not just take over our professional sports).

    -RevRigel
  • Well first of all, the X-box uses a standard DVD drive, which means it should be able to read your burned CDs, and DVDs (when DVD burners become cheaper and more widely available.)

    As for the software, everything I've ready seems to indicate that there won't be any specific mechanisms to prevent users from playing their own discs in the machine.

    The big thing that Microsoft has going for them is that the box runs DX8 and a windows kernel. This means that porting PC games is a no-brainer, and also means that game companies can simultaneously develop for the X-box and Windows with little impact to productivity. That is the real way Microsoft plans on winning; the same way they won the OS and browser wars.


    -------
    -- russ

    "You want people to think logically? ACK! Turn in your UID, you traitor!"
  • by Xenex ( 97062 ) <xenex.opinionstick@com> on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:24PM (#382580) Journal
    This is an incredibly cold thought, but this 'censorchip' is first heard about the day there is another child in a US school with a gun shooting his classmates?

    I really hope this was a coincidence, and they didn't 'wait' for something like this to happen. This had to be a coincidence, it's not to cash-in on the 'bad' music and video games about to be blamed for corrupting youth... is it?

  • by bobthemonkey13 ( 215219 ) <keegan.xor67@org> on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:34PM (#382582) Homepage Journal
    If the parent simply selects a rating level, how is this a parent/child interaction? I see parent/computer and child/computer, but no actual exchange of values. All it is is "you can't go there, because I say so". If this is parenting it's not good parenting IMHO. Just blocking stuff doesn't work; parents should actually tell their kids what is wrong and why they think so. Such technologies as the v-chip and censorware are just ways for parents to avoid (*gasp*) talking to their kids.
  • I just don't want others raising my kids.

    And unless you edit the ESRB lists yourself (Do you think you'll have this kind of access to the ratings system on the xbox?), you are letting others decide what is appropriate/inappropriate for your children.

    --
  • Better Microsoft play nanny and keep id Software from doing so.
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @05:59PM (#382588)
    This is a great idea. I'm 28 years old, about to get married and have children. I LOVE playing Half Life (only reason I actually own Windows), but when I have kids, I dont want my 5 year old starting up some video game whose objective is to blow people apart. Just like I don't want them to view R movies on HBO (which my Digital Cable box can prevent). It's my choice. End of story. It's not censor. It's not to "appease the government". If anything, it's to appease parents. It's a good thing.
  • by Will The Real Bruce ( 235478 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @05:59PM (#382598) Homepage
    TV's and VCR's already have this feature. DVD Players have different control measures. There are all kinds of little chips already built into your electronics to stop you from using what you own. Why should this be any different?

    Feel free to protest this, but remember to also protest Macrovision, Region coding, Censorship, and parents who don't want to take responsibility for their children. I think these are all good things to protest, but I doubt you'll get very far.

    Apparently people would rather have DVDs and games than basic human rights. Bread and Circuses wins over The Constitution any day...
  • That is correct! :-)

    I think people forget that because Xbox does include the capability to play DVD movies (even though it is an extra-cost option), the DVD standard does require a parental lockout capability by default. What MS wants to do is extend that lockout capability to the games themselves. You know, I'm surprised that Sony didn't do this with PlayStation 2.
  • You probably won't see this happen.

    Right now, MTV could show most porn, legally. You can't show that stuff over a broadcast station. The difference is that everyone who subscribes to cable does so voluntarily. Broadcast stuff is meant to be the "safe for everyone" medium.

    MTV doesn't show porn because if they did their advertizers would dry up in a heartbeat. Cable companies wouldn't carry it either, because they'd lose their franchises. So, if MTV goes porn, it'll be a fast trip out of business.

    As a supporting fact, how many mainstream companies advertize in Hustler magazine? (Playboy isn't porn, so it doesn't count).

    So, the V-chip won't change anything. If we want pornographic video games, we're going to have to make them ourselves.

    ACK! Maybe we shouldn't. The world isn't ready for nude geeks I think.

  • The increasing number of violent video games was bound to prompt some sort of response from hardware vendors. After all we have an increasing problem of youth violence [yahoo.com] in our society these days. Clearly something needs to be done to curb this disturbing trend. The fact that Microsoft is actively seeking remedy is definitely plausable as far as I'm concerned. Remember this will only affect those under the age of 18 who should not be allowed to play games unsupervised.

  • Does your VCR check video tapes to see if the person pressing play is old enough, or even if anyone is present to enter a code to watch particular levels of films?

    No, because up until this point, the technology really hasn't been there to make this a possibility. The X-Box isn't the first, either.

    My guess is that it is an attempt at political control (e.g. the system will cover browsing and allow you see dubya's site but not al's) and perhaps even as a form of market research (they gather "login" results to assure the parents it isn't being hacked). I don't like MS so I can only ascribe truly evil reasons

    You read WAY too much Slashdot.

    15 year old wants to play third-life and you know as their parent it is ok for them but the Y-Box only allows authorised games to be used (prevent piracy) and then only by users with authorised age proofing Id

    This is not what the X-Box is doing. If the Y-Box comes out next year and does what you say, then it will probably not do very well. Just because Microsoft is attached to this doesn't mean you automatically have to slap a conspiracy theory on it.
  • Many parents don't want their kids exposed to the violence and sexual content on video games, and this chip gives them a way to do that.

    What if parents don't want their kids exposed to religious programming? Granted, this is a non-issue as far as video games are concerned, but it's one of my pet peeves about V-chip technology. Sex and violence are not the only things that people may find objectionable. It seems rather arbitrary, if not discriminatory, that the only content that *can* be blocked happens to be the type of content frowned upon by right-wing Christians. It might appear that this is a coincidence, but consider that even the most restrictive anti-violence settings on the chip will often fail to block images of a certain man being crucified.

  • look, the fact of the matter is that all kids are little fuckups. for me, i know what games they own, but not what game they just borrowed from one of their little asshole friends. the real trouble is that anytime you try to "parent" the law calls it "child abuse".

    and they wonder why we need technology to raise our children.

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • Yes.
    At exactly 18 solar revolutions after the moment of their birth, a human aquires all the competence they will need for the rest of their life.
    No sooner, no later.

    Or could it be that different people develop differently (or that some people never quite develop maturity at all)?

    --
  • I don't have a problem with such a chip, as long as its use is voluntary. If parents want to restrict what games their kids can play, then I don't have a problem with giving them the tools to do that. Not that I like the idea a whole lot, either. Still, I have to wonder why such a tool is needed if parents did their jobs. If you don't want your children playing certain games, listening to certain music, or watching certain movies, don't let them buy them or bring them into the house. It's that simple. And in case anyone says that parents can't possibly watch their kids 24/7, that may be true. My parents didn't watch me 24/7, but I knew the rules of the house, and I knew what would happen if I broke them. I personally think that being engaged in your kids' lives and communicating expectations of good behavior is a hell of a lot more effective than all the filtering programs and v-chips in the world. My parents didn't need a v-chip in their TV. They simply told me what I was and wasn't allowed to watch, and that was enough. Some might say that kids will try to break whatever rules get set out by parents, and that's also true, but kids have been doing that since the beginning of time. Besides, getting away with something your parents didn't allow once in a while added a little excitement to a kid's life, and it doesn't do that much harm. Who here isn't guilty of getting a brief look at a copy of Playboy when they were a teenager? And who didn't get a feeling of excitement from the notion that they were getting away with something (not to mention excitement for other reasons)? IMHO, kids don't get to be criminals because of what they may see from time to time; they become criminals because their parents aren't there to guide them to maturity. I don't care how good at blocking objectionable content technology gets, it isn't a replacement for good parenting, and it never will be. The thing that baffles me, however, is that we've known this fact for a long time, but very few people seem to take heed. Perhaps they think that they're being good parents by working the long hours to be able to afford a nice house in the suburbs and to send their kids to the best schools money can buy, never mind that their kids spend more time in front of the TV than with them.
  • Some people see the vchip idea as a guarantee that more graphic and nasty games will come out. This is because, they think, that the producers can rely on the vchip to keep impressionable youths away.

    That's why all of those sophisticated nc17 movies are coming out, right? What people forget is that when you have an "nc17"-like level, merchants can say "I won't advertise games higher than x" or "I won't sell games higher than y." So it doesn't result in _more_ adult-themed entertainment, it results in adult entertainment that teases and uses euphemisms. It's the "everything but" solution that r-rated movies provide.
  • Yeah, but we all know Linux will be ported to the X-Box within 3 hours of its release.

    Actually, I like it - hacking the x-box so that it actually can do something useful.

    Problem is, will anything useful run on it, or will it be obsolete by the time it is release, because even a bargain basement Compaq pizza box unit will have more power?

  • No, it's keeping them safe from things that might harm them. Which is neither here nor there; you have no sound rational basis for the ethical statement you made, which was couched in terms as authoritarian as any parent has ever been. Write back when you know how to be consistent.
  • "It is censorship no matter how you look at it, and the difference from this and childproof lids is that medicine can kill a stupid child, a video game wont."

    Both medicine and video games can "harm" kids. It is up to the parent deciding what "harm" is. For instance, I'm sure parents don't want their children playing games with pornographic content. Sure it may not physically harm them. But it's also not something a parent wants.

    And why do you think RIAA would intentionally want to deprive young customers from seeing their content? Do you really think they are such good souls that they reject a kid on some moral grounds? Maybe that's what they'd have you believe. But these are the guys that *market* to underaged kids. They *want* kids to see their movies and buy their stuff. Congress *stuffs* ratings down their throat (either that or intimidates them into regulating themselves). That some guy stops kids from seeing an R rated movie without a parent, is not some underhanded MPAA scheme to deprive themselves of customers. They have to do it because the society thinks it's a Good Thing. That said, censorship at the governmental level of *creation* of content is vile and evil. Anybody should create anything they want (except things that exploit other people illegally, like kiddie porn) without the government stepping in. It is when that content is distributed can we set up some regulations (please put the porn on a stand behind the counter, and not in public view; please card kids trying to get into skin flicks; please conform to a video game rating system; etc.)
  • I don't know about every family, but in mine the kids (me) know how to control everything. Thus i have setup the password for the v-chip for the TV. So since i'll be the one who would control the on how to setup it on the x-box. Thus making the whole idea pointless as it is in TV case.
  • by OlympcSponsor ( 321510 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:02PM (#382636)
    Everything we've heard so far about the X-box seems to indicate that it's going to be an ordinary console with everything that that entails in terms of tight control over software, severe manufacturer-imposed constraints on products, and ridiculously high licensing costs.

    I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark on the basis of Microsoft's acknowledged ability to create markets for its products, and suggest that in practice the X-box will become the exact opposite of a conventional console. Instead, it will become an entirely open platform, in practice.

    Why do I think that this may be so? For a number of reasons:-

    First, the console market is already fairly highly subscribed if not totally saturated, so the X-box will have to be pretty special to make a large proportion of gamers reach into their pockets again. All the other popular consoles are closed platforms. A way of becoming "pretty special" is ready and waiting. [The still-to-be-launched Indrema [indrema.com] is doing something similar, albeit with a certification hurdle imposed, but hopefully this will not be a substantive barrier.]

    Second, it just so happens that virtually all the big players in the console arena either have or will be bringing out new mega-powerful systems within the same time frame, so high technology alone may not be enough, especially since Microsoft is a latecomer to this market. A novel angle may be required to make headway.

    Third, Microsoft knows full well that the popularity of Windows stems very largely from the massive buzz that was created by several years worth of unimpeded free-for-all copying of both the O/S and its applications. The official face of Microsoft may protest about "piracy", but unofficially they must know that in reality unconstrained access is an extremely powerful popularizing mechanism, vastly cheaper yet more effective than advertising.

    These three things all point in the same direction: Microsoft will either make the platform fully open, or it will create an easy and inexpensive method for all and sundry to write and install games on the X-box, or it will turn a very blind eye to the cracking systems which will appear 2 microseconds after the machine hits the streets. Nothing is gained by restricting what can run on a platform (all the talk of controlling for "quality" is unadulterated rubbish --- people like to decide for themselves, thank you very much), but everything is gained by having thousands of products run on a console rather than merely hundreds.

    We'll see. :-)
    --
  • .. and you will never have to confiscate guns or drugs or condoms from them. What the hell is wrong with condoms? In my opinion, safe sex is one of the most important things you should teach teenagers.

    The problem is that they aren't 100% effective and the only 100% is abstenence. Now before everyone looks at my nickname and says I'm just one of those stupid Christians who "just thinks that way", let me say that abstenence is intellegent. I'm a 22-year-old virgin, I plan on getting married pretty soon to a girl who is also a virgin. Neither of us will have to worry about AIDs, or other diseases, I don't have to worry about supporting some other child that I had years ago, and neither of us will have to worry about guilt of having had other partners in the past. (Which believe it or not causes stress on our relationship). All these things remove one of the biggest reasons to ever get divorced... Condoms are a bad idea.

    Okay mod me down for my off-topic rant :)


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • I think you might be using a bit too much codeine, though. what the hell sort of flamebait response was that? its not even logical. I, for one, agree with musiholic's stance. It is simple - parents need to be more supervisory, they need to take a more active role in their chilren's lives. As for you comment on drinking drano, its about education and common sense prevention - which is not at all the same as censorship. Stop trying to cloud the issue.

  • by rsteele19 ( 150541 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:04PM (#382643) Homepage
    So let me get this straight... parents will have to set some kind of password in the game console to keep their kids from being able to play violent games on it? And the parents are going to be able to figure this out?

    "No mom, the x-box *automatically* keeps kids from being able to play violent games!"

    "Oh, okay honey..."

    *snicker*

  • According to Merriam-Webster [m-w.com], censorship is defined as 1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively.

    How does Microsoft's inclusion of a function allowing someone to block things that they don't want to be viewed in their own private home, a function which is also entirely optional, count as censorship?

    As much as I personally don't like it, those who have not reached their majority (age 18 in the US, differs elsewhere) have (basically) no legal rights. Thus, according to the law, their parents can make the decision about what they can see (or play, in this case) entirely legally. I mean, if you are old enough to take care of yourself, you can make decisions about things like this real simply, like by not enabling such "features" on your devices. If you aren't yet old enough to make such decisions, since you are considered a minor, then if the person who is legally responsible for you doesn't let you play Quake 5 when it comes out, too bad. Again, I don't agree with the almost complete lack of rights that minors get, and we could spend a long time talking about those rights in different places (especially schools, and their twisted hypocrisy), but that doesn't change the law; moreover, there are other places than here for that discussion. If you don't like the law, there are ways to change it. That doesn't mean that it's easy, or fun, but it is possible.

    I don't recall anyone griping about the fact that lots of DVD players had the ability to disable viewing of discs that were rated at a certain level, but the function necessary to do so is built into lots of DVD players, both software and hardware based.

    This article comes across as either a.) Microsoft bashing, OOOID (Or One Of It's Derivatives, another new phrase for your big list of acronyms) or b.) a little too much concern about "censorship." Or course, maybe I'm not paranoid enough, and the evil corporations and in league with the government and going for all they can take from us. :)
  • Honestly, I'd support the idea. I'm a 21 year old college student. I'm not to far from my childhood, and I can certainly agree with the lure of the Unknown. Kids love it, the fastest way to get a kid to shove beans up his nose is to tell him not to do it. That's just the nature of children... hell... it still works on me sometimes :-)

    Point being that there are some things that parrents consider to be more threatening to their kids than others. Most parrents lock the liquer cabinet. Most parrents try to keep medication out of reach. This is not because they don't try to teach their kids not to get into these things, but just because it's not worth the risk NOT to lock these things down.

    While it is not my personal opinion that violent video games fit into this category, it is the opinion of some people. If the extra cost is not prohibitive then by all means, this feature should be incorporated. No one says you have to use it.

    I for one would put the system in place for my kids though (if I had any). I figgure, once they're smart enough to crack the code, they're mature enough to play the game. Think of it as an early geek training tool. If we're lucky they'll be trying to install Red Hat or (God be praised) Slackware on their X-box by the time they're 12 :-)


    This has been another useless post from....
  • Well, I was talking about parents covering their kids' eyes. Is this acceptable "censorship?"

    Anyway, this basically diverges into two opinions, that keeping kids from being subjected to violence/sex through a brute force method is bad parenting, or isn't. I personally don't think it is, if you reinforce your decision by discussing it.. not by catching the kid doing it and telling them "no!"

    The question really is where you draw the line for a "brute force" method.. such a method is used on medicine, chemical caps, and gun cabinets. Is performing such a method on video games too much, or not? I don't think so, but evidentally you do. That's where our opinions differ, and there's really not much more to discuss :) I'm not a parent, so this really falls outside of my realm of experience. I think the X-Box feature definately couldn't hurt though, and if a parent decides that the brute force method is not for them, so be it. It's a choice, one which is better there than not, IMHO.
  • by EchoMirage ( 29419 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:05PM (#382658)
    Since when is allowing parents to control what video games their children play censorship? Parents have a right to restrict what games their children play, and this chip gives them a good way of doing that. Parents should teach their children what games are acceptable and what are not, but no matter how much you teach a kid, curiosity is going to get the best of them eventually.

    Many parents don't want their kids exposed to the violence and sexual content on video games, and this chip gives them a way to do that. I think that Slashdotters should recognize their right and desire to do that, even if you disagree that it's the right way to do it.

    Just because the chip is there doesn't mean Microsoft or some NSA agent is going to slip into your house and randomly make it impossible for you to play certain games. Not every restriction on software is automatically an attempt by a big faceless entity to censor every aspect of people's lives. This is a legitament use of this technology.

    The headline, especially, is just more Slashdot sensationalism.
  • I don't think that turning off the TV and reading a lot is bad, though you may be right, it is a somewhat deliberate turning away from um, TV. It's funny, but I feel so much that I am wasting my time with TV, I can't hardly watch it any more. I watch videos, but, c'mon, Friends???

    As a parent, I feel the angst, sure! "Sugar is bad!" 'yeah, right...'

    There is a sense of 'Edward Scissorhands', or, Pleasant Valley Sunday', if you will... that I tend to disdain.

    Maybe you'll find out if your wife leaves
    you because you're making her a 50ies-style housewife.


    okay, next...

    think of the V-chip as a right for you as a parent.

    I understand that the 'v-chip' and 'Net Nanny' are institutionalized and (for some) hopefully socially accepted and practiced forms of 'parental rights' but I suggest that there are many rights that parents aren't availing themselves of.

    Are you seriously agruing that not turning on the TV - or appearing too drunk, or doing whatever you shouldn't - is somehow isolationist and that is somehow bad? I'm not saying 'don't have friends'.

    I'm saying: "Don't have 'Friends'."

    I'm saying 'kill your TV'. It's okay if I play Parasite Eve, but kids, don't watch me, go in the other room and play with, um, blocks or something...

  • For that matter, what's wrong with guns or drugs? The cult of secrecy around both kills people, a lot moreso than open dialog or safe experimentation ever will.

I have a very small mind and must live with it. -- E. Dijkstra

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