Games Politics/Government

Violent Video Game Ban Passed in Illinois House

I read this article in the Chicago Sun-Times. Apparently the Illinois House passed the law 100-6.

Someone on the Indie Gamer forums posted a link to the FTC study that gets cited a lot by the Governor. Let’s look at the findings:

Ability of a minor to purchase an Electronic Game: 85% in 2000, 78% in 2001, and 69% in 2003
Ability of a minor to purchase a DVD: no data available in 2000 or 2001, but 81% in 2003.
Ability of a minor to purchase a movie theater ticket: 46% in 2000, 48% in 2001, 36% in 2003.

Now, this study only shows whether a minor was able to make the purchase. It never details whether or not such purchases are being made normally, so there is no indication that there is a problem in the first place.

But remember, the Senior Advisor to Governor Blagojevich says “Whether such inappropriate purchases are part of a widespread problem or not, this administration thinks that no child should be able to purchase these types of video games without his or her parents’ supervision.”

That’s a perfectly valid point to make. If you believe that children shouldn’t be able to purchase violent video games at all, then that’s fine. But all the studies cited make mention of television and movies. Are inappropriate purchases of DVDs not as bad? 81% is a LOT. Even if it isn’t part of a widespread problem, should children be allowed to buy R-rated DVDs? Apparently so. And at 36%, it is clear that the movie industry isn’t the great self-regulater that it’s made out to be. 36% is a LOT, and the Governor’s office has made it clear that there shouldn’t be ANY minors buying inappropriate video games.

And there you go. “Protecting the children” sounds all well and good, but it is not consistent with the actions of the government. I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not believing that it is the goal of such legislation to actually protect children. If it were, then the laws would do something meaningful at the very least. You don’t cite studies saying that television, movies, and video games have an effect on children, but then only show outrage at the popular scapegoat of the year.