Grand Theft Childhood Author Pokes Holes in SCOTUS Research

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Grand Theft Childhood Author Pokes Holes in SCOTUS Research

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Rush Limbaugh isn't the only person to defend videogames lately; the author of Grand Theft Childhood is on our side, too.

There's a lot to dislike about California's argument in the upcoming Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court case. The majority of the frustration stems from the fact that, to many people on the side of the videogame industry, there is some supremely flawed logic with the state's position that games do not deserve the same protection of free speech that other forms of media enjoy. According to one expert, though, the research that is being used to support this logic is faulty, too.

Cheryl K. Olson (Sc.D., Asst. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School), author of Grand Theft Childhood has written a thoughtful, intelligent, and rather devastating argument against California's side of the case, especially with the claimed research that's being used to support the argument that games are turning kids into violent offenders:

There's no evidence that any video games have contributed to or triggered any real-world crime or serious violence. Juvenile arrests continue to decline. Given the widespread use of video games among youth, include "Mature" rated games, we would expect to see some increase in crime statistics if such games were broadly harmful. What we need, and don't yet have, are studies on subpopulations who are already at higher risk for violence. These include juvenile offenders, children exposed to real-world violence, children with antisocial peers, children who play video games in groups with aggressive or antisocial peers, and children who lack protective factors such as caring, supportive adults and access to prosocial activities.

Olson's article is long, but is worth the effort to read. Her other major point is just how problematic things will become if the Supreme Court ends up overturning the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision:

Earlier, I mentioned my concern that this law could do more harm to our children than good. Here's a potential scenario. Although no provision is made for how games will make the do-not-sell list, most likely a committee will form to review and judge. Even if only games rated M by the ESRB are reviewed, that would require 100+ games per year to be scoured for objectionable content and assessed for artistic merit. Do you remember the 'Hot Coffee' scandal, where crude cartoon sex was unearthed (with the aid of downloaded computer code) in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? Publicity about the need to protect children from this content alerted thousands of them to its existence.

You can read the entire article over at Industry Gamers, which was kind enough to post a PDF version for users to download.

Source: Industry Gamers

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Thats, unexcpected...

Anybody with common sense knows the vast majority of video games do no more harm than a violent book or movie. Its usually people trying to pick a fight are the ones pointing fingers at video games

This shouldn't even be in the supreme court. If this law gets passed, it will be a sad day for the country.

Flac00:
This shouldn't even be in the supreme court. If this law gets passed, it will be a sad day for the country.

A sad day for the entire industry...

But It's good to know that there are those who understand our side of the story too, and I fail to see how an obviously politically-motivated law such as this could even get as far as the supreme court.

Oh well, I still don't understand humans I guess.

What an odd species we are.

Flac00:
This shouldn't even be in the supreme court. If this law gets passed, it will be a sad day for the country.

Like I've been saying repeatedly when it comes up in the Religion and Politics forum, it won't. The "conservatives" on the court aren't going to side with the law and the "liberals" aren't going to side with such a blatant First Amendment violation.

This is very informative and makes a lot of sense. Well let's see how the people who don't understand the gaming culture twist's this into their favor.

That was a good point about the Hot Coffee incident and how the fact it got so much publicity made it so more young found out how to do it. I think that the way our news system is just as much to blame for a lot of things as the people who do it, because they alert people to things they really don't need to know and make it seem like a grave threat. I know they need ratings, but with all the sheep out there, it's very dangerous as well.

Anyways, it's good to have someone else on our side on this. It seems like things keep looking up, and hopefully this case will actually cause some good things to happen as well.

Rush... Rush Limbaugh? Excuse my being out of the loop, but can someone just fill me in on what he has said in our defense?

On topic, what a bloody surprise. Someone reputable has said studies don't show video games hurt children or make them into criminals. I've never, ever, ever, ever, ever heard of anything of the sort. Maybe it'll change some opinions.

(When I can shit gold)

vansau:

Do you remember the 'Hot Coffee' scandal, where crude cartoon sex was unearthed (with the aid of downloaded computer code) in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? Publicity about the need to protect children from this content alerted thousands of them to its existence.

So true. If anyone reads this and still thinks that we need to be worrying about this, they're simply wrong.

Kapol:
That was a good point about the Hot Coffee incident and how the fact it got so much publicity made it so more young found out how to do it. I think that the way our news system is just as much to blame for a lot of things as the people who do it, because they alert people to things they really don't need to know and make it seem like a grave threat. I know they need ratings, but with all the sheep out there, it's very dangerous as well.

Anyways, it's good to have someone else on our side on this. It seems like things keep looking up, and hopefully this case will actually cause some good things to happen as well.

Yea I dont get why hot coffee was such a big deal, I never played it in the game but I saw a video of it and what I saw they still had their clothes on.

What baffles me is they make a bigger deal about a miniscule part of a video game that you have to work with, fiddle with, and actually try to get this little "sex" event to happen yet nobody says squat about porn sites where all you have to do to access it is click Im Over 18 to see thousands of images and videos of sexually explicit acts.

So sex at the click of a button to anyone with an internet connection is no biggy but spending hours on a game to find one video of blocky cartoonish characters, from a mature rated game on only one game system, having "sex" with their clothes on is the end of the world.

Oh God wont someone please think of the children!

"and children who lack protective factors such as caring, supportive adults and access to prosocial activities."

DO YOUR FUCKING JOBS PARENTS!!!!
seriously i wonder how many oblivious busy body parents are buying their kids black ops when it comes out...

Ugh. I honestly just cant wait till its done just because I am sick and tired of every friggin loser who has ever heard of videogames being in these "news" articles for their opinions on it.
How many topics we have about random person X being for or against gamers? -.-;

I guess I just don't know enough about this whole court thing. Stores and store employees already have the fear of "god" put into them at the mere utterance of a pimply faced child squeaking at them for a copy of black ops by their superiors. They have no reason to sell your kids these games, they aren't on commission and they will get scolded or fired for doing so.

Trying to blacklist and hide games from consumers is about as effective as saying stepping up onto a curb would solve all the worlds problems. These kids aren't idiots they aren't randomly buying M rated games. They get the info online, know what they are looking for and unless they have an adult with them, aren't getting the game any way.

Hell our media's industry has to cut corners and be bashful. They have to self censor games being made for the 18+ crowd, knowing full well parents who don't give a shit are going to buy them. You have all these people going insane over things not for their kids. You aren't going to get porn industries to dial back the bukkake just because parents aren't doing their jobs and the kids are getting to content not meant for them in the first place.

Sadly all this intelligent argument will be lost to hysteria. As is often the case.

Sorry if I'm sounding pessimistic about this but, as has been said, the only people motivated towards it are those who livelihoods depend on it. And they're the only ones allowed to speak on it.

Us plebs, especially us non-US plebs, don't even get a say in what we think; because some hysterical basket case parent will always call the guilt on her children's activities rather than accept they have made a mistake as a parent.

Feelings before facts, Money before minds, Laws instead of guidelines.

lwm3398:
Rush... Rush Limbaugh? Excuse my being out of the loop, but can someone just fill me in on what he has said in our defense?

On topic, what a bloody surprise. Someone reputable has said studies don't show video games hurt children or make them into criminals. I've never, ever, ever, ever, ever heard of anything of the sort. Maybe it'll change some opinions.

(When I can shit gold)

The story just came out in the last few days. Turns out that he said, during a call-in on his radio show, that he was for free speech and was opposed to the regulation of the videogame industry.

The Governator will terminate you all !

Finally, someone making sense. I've been hearing from too many idiots (i.e. politicians. Midterms are tomorrow here in Erie) lately, and it's good to see some intelligence.

imnotparanoid:
Thats, unexcpected...

Not really.

The lady is sane.

Both sides of this argument are insane.

The only real scary part of this is getting the Supreme Court involved. None of those guys have any clue about what's going to be discussed at the trial, and more than half of them have probably been visited by Jack Thompson.

At best I hope the trial's thrown out until both sides can take a look at the information as well as Olson has.

Let's hope for the best.

Dirty Apple:

lwm3398:
Rush... Rush Limbaugh? Excuse my being out of the loop, but can someone just fill me in on what he has said in our defense?

On topic, what a bloody surprise. Someone reputable has said studies don't show video games hurt children or make them into criminals. I've never, ever, ever, ever, ever heard of anything of the sort. Maybe it'll change some opinions.

(When I can shit gold)

The story just came out in the last few days. Turns out that he said, during a call-in on his radio show, that he was for free speech and was opposed to the regulation of the videogame industry.

Basically, Rush said he's pro-free speech, ergo anti- this bill. Here's a quote from The Escapist article.

"Leave your game alone," Limbaugh told the caller. He also said that "the people that put together these video games are artists in their own right," so he's even picked sides in the videogames-as-art argument.

This is...
Interesting. I didn't expect this from the author of Grand Theft Childhood.

Grand Theft: Childhood?

I ... I.. this is not what I think it is, is it?

Either a GTA game set in the mind of a 9 year old trying to become a druglord at his 18th birthday.

Or a DLC for GTA IV (who plays that still?) remminiscing about Niko's Past.

Probably neither.

After everything I've read in the last few days on the topic, I am now officially confident.
I think we've got this case in the bag. I think we all underestimate the "SCOTUS." As long as they stick to logic and facts, there's no way they can rule against us.

BiggityB05:
What baffles me is they make a bigger deal about a miniscule part of a video game that you have to work with, fiddle with, and actually try to get this little "sex" event to happen yet nobody says squat about porn sites where all you have to do to access it is click Im Over 18 to see thousands of images and videos of sexually explicit acts.

So sex at the click of a button to anyone with an internet connection is no biggy but spending hours on a game to find one video of blocky cartoonish characters, from a mature rated game on only one game system, having "sex" with their clothes on is the end of the world.

The problem with making arguments like that, while being quite true, is that it just gives control freak fuckheads like Stephen Conroy a reason to try and bring in a nationwide internet filter.

Games are a powerful medium. If nothing else, this court case proves that people on both sides of "the fence" are starting to take notice of that.

She actually makes a fairly compelling case in her argument which can be read in full. It might not be the argument people around here would choose, but it is effective enough.

She basically points out that the claims they make have no data to back them. That they use data that has already been discredited in past cases. That California's argument uses, as an example, a game (Postal 2) that was never sold in California (and therefore would not have been subject to the law in question), and that no study linking video games and youth violence has ever been conducted with an eye towards making a policy decision. She also points out that such an endeavor would be expensive and could conceivably do little more than call attention to the content this law seeks to hide from the children.

As far as I can tell, that more or less annihilates California's argument.

I love how she points out that almost nobody knew of "Hot Coffee" until the whole fiasco.

This^ if this law gets passed, and doesn't do a fucking thing, California is up shit creek without a paddle, not just with Gamers, but with the whole American Government.

I will say that they makes some good points, as for the whole "Hot Coffee" scandal, if it weren't for all that media coverage, I never would have know about it. Also we are wasting precious time and resources debating this issue, we could be discussing way to improve the new healthcare system, or discussing stemcell research, but NOOOOOOO we have to spend 3 whole months proving how moronic the California government is, and debate an argument with so many holes it's ridiculous

As I said before, I pray to god above that this law is thrown out and the world is shown just how frakking stupid the California government really is and that prick senator is thrown out of office for wasting tax dollars and time on this. I'm just hoping at this point the SCOTUS isn't going to want to go down in history for striking something from the First Amendment like this.

TheEvilCheese:

Flac00:
This shouldn't even be in the supreme court. If this law gets passed, it will be a sad day for the country.

A sad day for the entire industry...

But It's good to know that there are those who understand our side of the story too, and I fail to see how an obviously politically-motivated law such as this could even get as far as the supreme court.

Oh well, I still don't understand humans I guess.

What an odd species we are.

Well, if this article is correct (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/104889-Supreme-Court-May-Be-Proving-Point-By-Hearing-CA-Law) then this case might all be the Supreme Court's attempt to stop this madness once and for all.

I am glad to see an ally that is "thinking about the children" and showing that this law does even less then nothing to help protect children.

Flac00:
This shouldn't even be in the supreme court. If this law gets passed, it will be a sad day for the country.

I actually kind of like that this has been taken to the Supreme Court because once the justices bitch slap Leeland Yee and his shitty law no one will be able to try any shit like this again.

Khaiseri:
This is...
Interesting. I didn't expect this from the author of Grand Theft Childhood.

Everyone has a point where even they have to admit that the people they're cheering for are batshit bonkers, have an agenda or need to get their facts straight.

She still hates violent videogames being sold to children, but to take one of Senator Yee's analogies, this rather heavy handed tactic of doing so is like banning alcohol because there's a chance someone might buy it for their child.

Hey I saw those guys on Penn and Teller, so this doesn't surprise me in the least. Looks like the those who brought this thing to court, don't have a single leg or credible ally on their side.

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