More "Harmful to Minors" ignorance


Fang-Face writes "An Associated Press article at the First Amendment Center reports that people are lobbying the government for greater control over what private enterprise is allowed to market in video games. For my money, the article clearly demonstrates the slippery slope of fascism in action by showing how hypersensitive reactionary elements in society are not only opposed to real violence, but even violence by proxy. To quote from the article:

We have a PG-rated Star Wars where a child picks up a helmet and finds his father’s severed head in it, but because you don’t see any blood ... it’s still a PG.

Funny, I didn't see any severed head.

1: There is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone, somewhere; 2: The Taliban outlawed paper bags.

I find that this article also shows how, more and more, people are striving to abdicate their parental authority and their responsibility to give over to the tender mercies of Big Brother the raising of their children."


Paper bags should be banned! They are the worst. Do you know all the problems paper bags cause? The economy is down. Why? Paper bags. Declining test scores in schools. Again it is those darn paper bags. Most of the problems in my life can beattributed to bad experiences with paper bags. I don't agree with the Taliban on much but banning paper bags was one thing they did right.

I was unable to find a citation to the Freedman study in your essay.My "quick dig" showed this study as being referenced in an article "Phantom Studies" Reason; Dec2000, Vol. 32 Issue 7, p15, 2/3p.Only three of the fifteen citations I listed were published before Dec 2000.A few other pieces written "post Freedman study".Mounting evidence links TV viewing to violence lTV violence study dy.htmlI would submit that current scientific literature overwhelmingly supports the cause and effect nature of violent media/video games and behavior in children.Too bad but true.

I read your essay. For someone who objects to the use of logical fallacies you sure have a decided penchant for the "ad hominem" flavor. Your Aristotelian-style use of labels, however, could use a little more updating, subtlety, or both. Maybe just a little observation? Mary Lou Dickerson is a liberal who wants to bring state control to video games, yet you call this "ultra-conservative." In this case, this kind of mind-locked label keeps you from seeing the moons of Jupiter. Liberal and libertarian are very different things.

Paper Bags are a Haven for Vermin! Cockroaches and other Unclean Insects use them as Vehicles of Death to Invade your Homes and Poison your precious Children with Diseases and Death!!! Paper Bags, Cardboard Cartons, and other suchlike Pasteboard Abominations must be Cleansed in the Holy Fires of the Most High!!

All of which, except the most recent perhaps, were debunked by Dr. Johnathon Freedman. Read my essay. Freedman's meta-analysis of media violence studies found that all of the studies were flawed.

>> ...should have some solid evidence to back up their a priori assumption that the games do cause harm to children.Sorry, but you walked right into this one."Violent TV, movies, make kids meaner to each other"The Nation's Health. Washington: Oct 2002. Vol. 32, Iss. 8; pg. 30, 1 pgs"Media violence"Pediatrics. Evanston: Nov 2001. Vol. 108, Iss. 5; pg. 1222, 5 pgs"The relationship between violent video games, acculturation, and aggression among Latino adolescents"Biomedica 2002 Dec; 22 Suppl 2: 398-406"Children and video games."Journal of pediatric nursing 2003 Jun; 18(3): 206-7"Kids, TV viewing, and aggressive behavior"Science 2002 Jul 5; 297(5578): 49-50"American Academy of Pediatrics. Media violence Committee on Public Education"Pediatrics 2001 Nov; 108(5): 1222-6"Violent video games affecting our children"Pediatric nursing 2000 Nov-Dec; 26(6): 607-9, 632"Violence in children's films and video games"Journal of the American Medical Association 2001 Oct 24-31; 286(16): 1971-2"Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature"Psychological science 2001 Sep; 12(5): 353-9"Interactive media violence and children"Minnesota medicine 2000 Sep; 83(9): 42-4"Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life"Journal of personality and social psychology 2000 Apr; 78(4): 772-90"Video game violence and aggression: comments on video game playing and its relations with aggressive and prosocial behaviour"The British journal of social psychology / the British Psychological Society 2000 Mar; 39 ( Pt 1): 147-9"Alienation, Aggression, and Sensation Seeking as Predictors of Adolescent Use of Violent Film, Computer, and Website Content"Journal of Communication 53, no. 1 (Mar 1, 2003): p. 105-121"Video violence: playing with fire?"Nature 2003 Jul 24; 424(6947): 367-8"Child and adolescent violence"Orthopaedic nursing / National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses 2003 Jan-Feb; 22(1): 23-9etc.

Does moving this issue to one of the health and welfare of the child change anything? Was the business with Joe Camel just a bunch of "smoke" and mirrors?

No, because ultra-conservatives are not interested in the health or welfare of anybody, their overriding concern is the enslavement of the population under their fanatism. Ultra-conservatives only use such issues as spurious rationales to force on people their idea of how religious worship should be observed. And if you want to talk about the health and welfare of children who are exposed to such games, then you must first consider the obverse of the issue: what will be the negative impact on the health and welfare of children from totaltarianism? Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can operate in a vacuum. For every social action there is an opposite and equal social reaction.

Furthermore, if those religious slavemongers want to base their opposition to those games on the health and welfare of the child, then they should have some solid evidence to back up their a priori assumption that the games do cause harm to children. And there is no such evidence. See my essay on that topic at my web site.

>>Look to your own brat and stay out of my family's life.My brat or Hillary's? I didn't write this legislation.Does moving this issue to one of the health and welfare of the child change anything? Was the business with Joe Camel just a bunch of "smoke" and mirrors?(Rabkin) >>In fact, an impressive list of highly respectable organizations, such as the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, are on record agreeing that exposure to media violence presents a risk of harmful effects on children.Don't confuse my questions with my position. (Which I have not given)What I will say is any discussion of parental responsibilities should also include the effect of our (US) federal welfare system upon the American family. It's a fact that two-parent family children have a greater degree of success than those with one parent.A system that rewards child-rearing with government paychecks, with no fiscal incentive to keep a "nuclear" family, leaves only children as the victim. That is the crux of this issue. Everything else is just a symptom.>>and I dare say that "most American parents" are simply worried about how their children are growing upAgreed. But what do you say to the African American children born at nearly a 75% illegitimacy rate with fathers they will never know? As a conservative I am usually the one accused of being harsh on the poor (of which most of these kids are).Do we leave them be?Again, don't confuse my message. I ain't no fan of big government and I am certainly not a liberal.But it's folly to think parents will assume their responsibilities, and unfair for those kids with crummy homes to be exposed to crap without parental guidance.Any chance "gangsta" rap has influenced one of these kids to go astray?

Abhorent as the hate crime law is, it does provide a certain amount of amusement when you watch the PC types agonize over whether to charge an Indian Chief with uttering the vilest anti-Semitic garbage you could imagine.

Your point about not paying attention to religious fundamentalists up here in Canada is spot on. Canadian politicos make a big deal of their faith at their own risk - as fundy Stockwell Day found as people made fun of his Creationalism. (You can't be Prime Minister of Canada if you believe Man and Dinosaur wandered the Earth at the same time.)

I don't doubt for a minute that children are very good at making the distinction between reality and fantasy - even teenagers. But parents are under so much pressure to be percieved as providing "appropriate" guidence for their kids that they tend to overreact.

All of which is pointless anyhow because kids are, and always have been, smart enough to outwit their elders. Outsmarting your elders is exactly what childhood should be about. It teaches creativity, ingenuity and the keen disregard for authority which are the basis of for democracy and capitalism.

>>Canadian law allows for thought crimes legislation such as the criminalization of hate speech

Granted, that's a sore spot. Though here in the Great White North we tend to dismiss the ravings of religious fundamentalists as a fringe interest group, which--north of the 49th parallel--they are.

As for the Rabkin article--eloquent, but does it really add anything new to the argument? You're never going to sum up the "offensive" content of a game, CD, or film with a single-letter rating. If these parents were truly concerned about what their kids were watching and listening to, a 5-minute Google search would tell them everything they needed to know.

My personal favourite: we can't expect children to be able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Why is it we trust children to understand that Disney films and Harry Potter are fantasy, but we think our teenagers are going to take Eminem and Marilyn Manson's words literally?

Why does no one ever do a study on what I consider the most psychologically-harmful element of the mass media: television news?

Canadian law allows for thought crimes legislation such as the criminalization of hate speech, and I dare say that "most American parents" are simply worried about how their children are growing up; not how everybody else's children are growing up. Look to your own brat and stay out of my family's life. It ain't none of your business and its not your place or government's to legistlate my children.

Agreed!!!!It was so nice not having to hear that young Taliban bagger at the Kandihar A&P ask the perfunctory "Paper or plastic?"

Good piece worth reading.Do Kids Need Government Censors?Rabkin, RhodaPolicy Review; Feb/Mar2002 Issue 111, p27, 16p(FYI, sponsors Lieberman (D), Clinton (D), Byrd (D) and Kohl (D) were unsuccessful in bringing this to floor action from CCST.)According to Ms. Rabkin's research, most American parents would be considered "hypersensitive reactionaries" by some on our board.>>Most American parents want to restrict children's access to entertainment glamorizing violence, sex, drug use, or vulgar language.At least we are not as "reactionary" as our Anglo and Canadian cousins.>>In Britain and Canada, where age rating has legal force, all kinds of issues, such as cruelty to animals, racial slurs, and even "presentation of controversial lifestyles" can be grounds for restriction.

I wonder if this is the image we envisage of "hypersensitive reactionary elements"?(However I must admit to enjoying the characterization of "fascism" to the Big Sister in this article. She warned us that it takes a village.)Advertising Age; 10/16/2000, Vol. 71 Issue 43, p48"WHY THE KIDS MARKETING FUSS? HERE'S WHY PARENTS ARE ANGRY">>But she (Hillary Clinton) also said that if elected she will "introduce legislation to have the FTC report on the extent of advertising to young children . . . [and] provide the FTC with full authority to limit such advertising." Her legislation would also give the commission power to "set broader limits on advertising that is harmful to children.

What I am amazed by is how little the pro-censorship folks seem to know about what 13 year old boys and girls are capable of. You can slap AO stickers on any game you want: the kids will simply download it from a P2P service. Or they will go to their friend's house.

The idea that the government should be in the business of bubble wrapping kids until they are 18 is not so much threatening as silly.

Kind of showing my geekyness here, but one of the reasons that lasers and lightsabers are used in the Star Wars films is because they cause "clean" wounds. The idea being that lasers heat the wound and cauterize it immediately. So you can have a lethal wound, with little blood. In this way, Star Wars was kept "kid friendly."

Now then, I've seen the results of a decapitation and there's blood and spatter everywhere and all over everything, including the decapitator. But when you have a weapon that quickly cauterizes the wound, there's hardly any blood. That's why Obi Wan could take off an arm in Episode IV, Vader could remove a hand in Episode V, Luke could do the same in VI, Qui Gon can get run though in I, Obi Wan could bisect a Zabrak in I, and Mace Windu could remove a head in II. The most blood ever seen is the bisecting scene where there's a fine red mist.

Besides, PG means just that, Parental Guidance. Note that word in there... Parental. Even the facist MPAA leaves the decision making up to the parents in some cases.