SCOTUS agreed to hear the case of a video game law from the great state of California. In the never ending battle to “protect the children” California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that made several requirements on the sale of video games deemed to be “violent.”
- Prohibit the sale or rental of violent games to anyone under 18.
- Created labeling requirements for video game manufacturers.
- Retailers who violated the act would be fined up to $1,000 for each violation.
So of course the law was challenged. No ban on video games has ever passed constitutional muster as it infringes on freedom of speech. And the 9th Circuit Court agreed. To be able to limit speech a real and present harm must be shown, or the speech must be known to be untrue. This is why the often used example of yelling “FIRE!” in a crowd is not protected and neither is libel or slander. And despite the proponents of the law stating that violent games cause violent children, the data just does not support that argument.
From the 9th Circuit ruling:
“None of the research establishes or suggests a causal link between minors playing violent video games and actual psychological or neurological harm, and inferences to that effect would not be reasonable,” —–Judge Consuelo Callahan
Not to mention that the laws creation of a labeling system is just another version of the ESRB which already exists and gives a suggested age range for all titles. Why recreate the wheel when there’s already a system in place. And it’s a system that does not infringe on the first amendment as it is a voluntary rating system.
Or how about we stop expecting the State to raise our children and have parents act like parents again. You don’t want your kid playing GTA, then don’t buy him/her the damn game. I actually saw a mother do this at Target yesterday. She asked the clerk for help finding a game for her 12 y.o. son. He suggested a game and handed it to her. She picked up the game read the game description and ESRB rating (I know cause she talks while she reads) then told the clerk this was not appropriate for her kid and kept doing that till she found what she liked. If only more parents would take the time to do that we wouldn’t have the government thinking they have to do it for us.
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