The Supreme Court Rules Against Video Game Restrictions

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A long awaited Supreme Court ruling was handed down today. The court held that a law banning minors from purchasing video games in California was a violation of their free speech.

The case was interesting for a lot of reasons: The case dealt with whether video games are speech, whether minors are guaranteed free speech, whether violence in video games was something worthy of a law that limits minors from purchasing those games and whether violence in video games actually affects minors who play those games.

Ultimately the court held that violent images are not subject to government restrictions and that banning the sale of games to minors was too great a restriction on the free speech rights of minors.

On the one hand, violence and adult-like themes are prevalent in video games. I agree that minors should not be playing those games. But I do not think that the government’s job is make those decisions. It is the decision of the parents or guardians of those minors to decide what kinds of games those minors should be playing. Parents must become educated on the ratings system of video games and apply those ratings to their decision making when they allow or prohibit their children from playing certain games.

It is no different than movies or TV shows that parents must screen before their children enjoy those media formats.

I think many people are duped by the fact that video games are called games. Games seems like such a harmless word. Games are fun. Games are for children. But that is not the truth. Video games are immersive environments that engage a person in an activity that combines the visual experience of film with the interactive experience of decision making and hand eye coordination. Their plot-lines are often not appropriate for children nor are many of the images displayed during the games.

Parents: Don’t be fooled by the word “game”. There is nothing childish about many of the most popular video games. If it has an M rating, it is not for kids. Don’t let your kids play those games unless you are comfortable with children participating in adult activities.

The Supreme Court got it right. Now it is time for parents to get it right.

Link: Supreme Court

  • >I agree that minors should not be playing those games. But I do not think that the government’s job is make those decisions
    That wasn’t what the law said was it??? It’s that a minor can’t BUY a game. A parent can still buy it for them no?

    • Huh?

      • Vox Populi

        I think HH’s point is that California was not making the decision for parents. It was requiring parents to make the decision.

        • Exactly.

          The government is not saying kids can’t play it. They are saying they can’t buy it. Think of it like a child not being able to see a rated R movie unless a parent is there.