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ESRB Ratings Promoted by Georgia Attorney General 44

fiorenza writes "At least one state is forgoing the process of cooking up gaming legislation only to have it thrown out in the courts. Georgia is working with the ESRB to educate parents in the state about game ratings, with the state's Attorney General leading up the charge. The obvious question is, why wasn't this tried first, before the mad rush to pass laws that never stand judicial review on account of first amendment issues? The article suggests that similar cooperative announcements from other states may soon follow."
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ESRB Ratings Promoted by Georgia Attorney General

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  • Perhaps in other states, they wanted to use the alleged "dire" situation to quickly pass the laws. Where the cooperative method would interfere with that agenda.
    • It's always nice to have a "Think of the children" law in an election year.

      This year it was violent video game legislation. Who knows what it'll be in 2008.
  • I can't speak for the other states but for the state of Georgia this is what's being tried first.
    • by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:43PM (#15928668) Homepage
      I'm actually impressed... Not only that a state is trying the more appropriate method before resorting to passing more laws but even more so that it's Georgia of all states that is leading by example. Nothing against Georgia but it's not one of the states I would have guessed to be the first for something like this.
      • by Irish_Samurai ( 224931 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:04PM (#15931013)
        I'm not targeting you, but I really hate the perception people have of Georgia. We are not all dumb ass rednecks and uneducated slave decendants. That is an ignorant misconception.

        • Anyone get a job off That's here.
        • The CDC is here.
        • We have the largest concentration of College educated African-Americans in the United States.
        • We like to design lotsa weapons at Lockheed-Martin
        • Hartsfield-Jackson, the worlds busiest airport is here.
        • Georgia Tech and Emory are no slouch schools
        • We are expecting 3% annual job growth through 2008
        • Turner Broacasting Systems, CNN, Earthlink, Coca-Cola, UPS, Manhattan Associates, Radiant Systems, Home Depot, Newell-Rubbermaid, Southern Company, Georgia-Pacific, Bell South, Convergent Media Systems, and Delta are all headquartered here.

        Hell, I can go on and on - read a report here. [] We may not be Silcon Valley, but the tech community here is the largest in the South East. And we do regularly pull talent from out West and up North.

        Being that we have such a technically savvy, young population - it makes perfect sense that we would try this( the median age here is 33). Atlanta is almost completely populated by the gamer demographic - our reps know this. Also, being a southern state, our reps have had had to deal with Federal gun control laws - they personally know what it's like to have restrictions thrown on them. They aren't to quick to do it themselves.

        Oh, and I'll pit a Georgia Southern Belle against any Manhattan Socialite or West Coast hottie any day - AND rumor has it girls outnumber the guys almost 2 to 1 in Atlanta.

        I LOVE it here.
  • You know, try to find out what their kids are playing. I think parents that buy games for thier kids and complain about all of the ESRB labeled "mature" issues in said games, such as sex and violence, should just be brought up on child neglect charges. Not the stores. Not the game companies. It's about the same as buying a 12 year old hardcore pornography and then trying to sue the publisher.

    I think the sad part of American culture right now is that I'm probably not the only one to think that's not s
    • I think parents that buy games for thier kids and complain about all of the ESRB labeled "mature" issues in said games, such as sex and violence, should just be brought up on child neglect charges. Not the stores. Not the game companies. It's about the same as buying a 12 year old hardcore pornography

      Again, who's being hurt by either of those actions? The kid wants it, and if the parent allows it, it's none of your business what they buy for him.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tacarat ( 696339 )
        I was shooting for an example of dumb parenting, not so much hardcore porn's morality. How about sueing a company that makes cleaning chemicals after buying their product and feeding it to the kid who gets sick and dies? The blame would go to the parent for whatever happens afterwards, not to company (which had warning labels) or the store (which sold it to an adult). My point focused on the parents that buy and complain about what their kids are exposed to, not the parents that are only buying the game.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You missed the important part. He said "parents that buy games for thier kids and complain about all of the ESRB labeled "mature" issues in said games...should just be brought up on child neglect charges." (emphasis mine).

        If someone wants to buy their kid a game or a movie or a book, that is their own prerogative. But if you buy the kid a game, then complain about it [] then you are just dumb. And in that situation, you obviously did not want your kid playing such a game, yet you bought it anyway, even t
  • What is everyone going to use as a scapegoat the next time there is a school shooting if they can't pass the blame onto violent videogames? This might cause parents to face the fact that they are ultimately responsible for what their kids are exposed to.
  • Thank you Thurbert Baker for doing something that makes sense.
    • And also, they know Georgia Tech will have Atlanta's balls in a vise if they cut off their access to good games...
      • Yeah, politicans really fear nerds.
        • You know, the major Internet backbone exchange for the whole southeastern US is literally just down the street from campus. I would be willing to bet a bunch of Tech students could shut that down fairly easily.
          • How is his being in somewhat close physican proximity pertinent? If he were 20 miles away or 50 or 150, would it make any difference?

            Also, ho does this screw him, anyway? Like you are going to take away his internet access so that you can go quickly vandalize his wikipedia page and he won't be able to do anything about it for a while?

            And if the people you are referring to (Tech students) take down the whole backbone for the internet in the southeast, wouldn't that screw themselves (being nerds after all), f
  • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:52PM (#15928156)
    I was in an EBgames shop and two teenage boys were trying to buy a game. The clerk refused to sell it to them because they looked under age and had no ID with them (or didn't want to produce it). They argued. They begged. They left without the game. They cussed loudly on their way out.

    The clerk, backed up by at least one other clerk on duty and a little shaken by the situation, said she was just trying to do her job, and that was the policy of the store. I applaude the store and I applaude the clerk.

    Knowing that stores will not routinely sell mature games to minors helps me feel that I have backup. Knowing theatres won't routinely let underage kids into see R rated movies helps me feel I have backup. It's easy for me to override these hurdles. I just buy the game or I take her to the movie. But it's my choice.

    I know that many times they get ratings wrong. It's an imperfect system. But it gives me someplace to start, a default position if you will. If I see the game is labled as mature, I can then investigate furhter to see if I'd really find it objectionable. My daughter is 17 so this is no longer really an issue for us, but I would have been somewhat miffed if she had been sold Grand Theft Auto when she was 14. On the other hand, I routinely let her play Unreal Tournament at an even younger age because by my personal standards, its less of an issue. That's my choice as a father, the choice to allow my daughter to use media of a mature nature, or to just say no. The ratings help me do that, and I'm glad they're helping others as well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by thebdj ( 768618 )
      You have a 17 year old daughter who plays video games? You might have a lot of requests from teenage slashdotters for a/s/l now...and in a year possibly the rest of the /. community.
    • I don't know about GTA, but every iteration of Unreal Tournament that I have played has had parental controls over the blood and guts. I don't know its ESRB rating but let's just assume it's rated for 17 year olds because of the violence and gore. If you can reduce this in the game (and lock it down with a password the way UT does) then it would probably pass as acceptible for a 14 year old according to ESRB criteria. My point is that we, as parents, must evaluate the games for ourselves using the ESRB rati

    • That's my choice as a father, the choice to allow my daughter to use media of a mature nature

      Um, she's seventeen. I think the large majority of her life has been out of your hands for quite some time now.
    • I applaud you as a parent -- I have seen first-hand too many parents walk into a video game stores dragging 9-10 year olds and saying "okay, pick a game", the youngster snaps up the nearest "cool" game, and the parent buys it without another word. Most video game chains have adhered to the ESRB ratings pretty strictly (I look pretty young so I always get carded). Thank you for being a responsible parent.

      Also sir, I would like to take this time to ask for the opportunity to court your video-game-playing
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by the_crowing ( 992960 )
      About 2 months ago I was in EB games purchasing Half-Life:Anthology, an M-rated game, and upon handing the game to the clerk I was asked for a piece of ID to ensure that I was at least 17 years of age. I was a little shocked at this because it was the first time I had ben IDed while purchasing a video game, however, I was actually glad that I got IDed because I know that if I got IDed, then they must be doing the same to a lot of people and effectively preventing "under-aged" kids from purchasing violent o
  • How difficult are these ratings anyway: []

    The only requirement to understand them is that you are able to read. So I guess the ESRP ratings have a 8+ rating themselves.

    Any game that has an M or Ao rating might not be suitable for kids (but this is up to the parents to decide).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RESPAWN ( 153636 )
      It's not so much a matter of education what the ratings mean as it is educating the masses as to their existance. What we really need is an awareness campaign. Too many parents are probably not even aware that there are ratings on video games (despite the ratings clearly plastered on the boxes). I applaud the state of Georgia for this matter. If I were registered to vote here instead of my home state (I currently reside in Georgia), the attorney general would definitely get my vote.

      Here's hoping that mo
      • I remember an article where a grandmother had bought her grandson GTA: San Andreas -- she was expressing outrage about the hot coffee mod... yes grandmother, you should be mad... at yourself. The game features some other content you'd probably enjoy (you could've read the back of the box or even just looked at the pictures on it, hell, just ask the store clerk): drive-bys, carjackings, burglary, arson, killing prostitutes, gang warfare, and beating people over the head with a big purple dildo!... oh, even
  • It's nice to see that not every political body is joining the "OMG SEX AND VIOLENCE" lynchmob. If I was their constituent, I'd send them a very nice letter.
    • by Enoxice ( 993945 )
      You don't have to be their constituent. Do it anyway. Positive reinforcement and such.
    • I'm not their constituent, but I might still send them a very nice letter, expressing my thanks that at least one state has grown something of a brain, and CC it to my own lawmakers. If we all did the same, maybe the rest of the country could be shocked into catching up to Georgia.
    • I just send him a nice letter(yes, hand written) and I'm not his constituant. In a momment i'll be doing the same to my Gov/AG and point out his example. What we need in the our government right now is more people like Baker. I applaude his understanding and hope that more programs spring up. This is a good start to pointing out that it's not the games that are causing violent children. The more people are aware and understand the idea behind the ESRB ratings the better. The more people that understand they
    • Send him a nice letter anyway. I plan on it, and I hope more people notice this program. I think it's a good thing people are activly trying to point out the ratings, not refine them. They are a good indication of the content, not a report. People need to understand and use the ratings not demand "better". I can only hope more people follow this example and help point out that the big M in the bottom right hand corner of the game means something besides "Money".
  • Because (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:41PM (#15929199)
    The obvious question is, why wasn't this tried first, before the mad rush to pass laws that never stand judicial review on account of first amendment issues?

    Because rational thought doesn't earn votes.

    • How's this? Just as with any other adult material, (Hustler, booze, smokes, etc.) make the purchaser of the rated M games show ID. Maybe then the parents will get the idea...

      Face it - what 12 year old has $50 to spend on a video game. The parents are the ones shucking out the $$ for the games and most of them would never buy their kid a Playboy but they'll get him the BMX XXX without batting an eye because it's "just a game".

      Besides the gaming console is not a baby sitter. PS/X-box/etc is not a subsitut

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern