UK Researcher Wants Parents Arrested for Buying Kids Violent Games

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gigastar:
While this man has his head on straight, jailing parents for buying adult games for thier children is a bit extreme.

After all, a fine and confiscation of the game in question works too right?

Yep, it will be brillant. We can do random spot checks on properties to see if the game an adult bought legally with their own money is being played by them, or their children! WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN???

So yeah, basically, this is completely enforcable and in no way complete nonsense.

Thomas Hirst:
While this is a bit extreme its nice to finally see someone pick up on the fact that parents are the ones in the end who are responsible for keeping R and M rated games away from their kids. Jail Perhaps not. Fines..... might work.

That's fucking despicable, giving parents FINES for choosing what content their children can consume.

deathbeforedecaf:
The problem here is idiots having kids in the first place. license to breed is the only real answer.

I hope you're kidding.

DeltasDix:

deathbeforedecaf:
The problem here is idiots having kids in the first place. license to breed is the only real answer.

I hope you're kidding.

im kidding...except for the odd day or two every year when im so depressed about the state of the human race that i think it might actually work.

What exactly are developers supposed to do?
There is the ESRB, and I think that's as far as a developer has to go. Should they be forced to not make as many violent games? Or what? This guy sounds like he hasn't properly thought this through, has no understanding of games, or of developers. Has probably never played a game.

Two-A:

Nuke_em_05:

Oh that, guess I still need some English lessons.

I'm out of ideas then.

I just realized that a law like this just wouldn't work, I mean, how do you recognize when a parent wants to buy a game for himself instead of giving it to their children?, how do yo prove that a kid has played the game?

That's where my "ineffective or unenforceable" line came from. It would probably work a lot like the alcohol/tobacco laws in the U.S.; the clerk can refuse to sell if they have reason to believe the adult is purchasing for a minor, and/or can report the sale. That, or if you see a minor playing such a game, you could report it and the authorities might look into where they got the game, who bought it for them, etc. Essentially, you'd have to make it illegal for minors to even play M/18 rated games.

Frankly, it'd just take too much effort better spent on real threats to public safety; so either it would never pass, it would have too many loopholes to be effective once passed, or it would never be enforced.

Until there is a large body of proper science showing that exposure to violent games harms kids, this guy needs to quiet down. It is absolutely a parents right to decide to buy these games for their kids, since it isnt the government or researcher Dr. Nick Robinson that is raising them. Otherwise, shall we prosecute parents for exposing their kids to anything potentially harmful? Like TV, E-numbers, the ocean, neighbourhood bullies, the Internet, loud noises, animals, all known allergens and sunlight?

Jodah:
I'm of the opinion that the parents should be punished if, and only if, they buy the game for their child and their child acts in a violent manner that would get said child punished. The mere purchase of a game for a child that is underage should not be a crime, it is only if said purchase leads to a crime that there should be punishment for the parents.

Basically if you are a parent and feel your child can handle the content of a specific video game you should have that freedom. However, if your child acts out the content of that video game in real life not only should the child be punished by you should be as well.

100% agree with this. I've been more affected by books than video games, and I used to play GTA when I was 9. Still, my first encounters of blood, violence, torture, nihilism, sexual themes, and such have come from books. I have felt physically ill from reading books, but not from games.
Oh! and I accidentally bought a porn book, because there aren't any stickers to denote that. Also when I was under 18.

EDIT:
Btw, has the last book in that trilogy come out yet?

I can see where he's coming from, but i doubt it'd help much. What we should be doing is telling parents that they can in fact change the PARENTAL CONTROLS settings so that their child can't play certain games online, the options are there to control what your children are exposed to but the sheer ignorance surrounding gaming among parents is the real issue here

"Why should the system in the UK be any different?"

image

From America? I can think of a few ways.

Heck, a lot of Americans want America to be different from America, like on this very issue of the police policing parents in what non-pornographic media their children are allowed to see.

Fun fact, under UK law it is totally legal to take a 5 year old into a pub garden and order them a double brandy and any alcoholic drink at all. This is because the law is against children being served "at the bar", in the garden or at a table where food is served the age limit is only 5 years old.

And the police know it's not good barging in on families to tell them how to raise their children unless there is something hugely wrong like Baby P where they were frankly murdering their children.

I want politicians that think they have a right to come into our homes, and tell us how to live and raise our families, arrested.

News: "Worry is mounting that an increasing number of children (children, not teenagers) are being exposed to extremely violent video games."

Community: "OMG IT'S DA PARENTS FAULT GET THEM NOT US YO LEAVE DA VIDYA ALONE"

News: "Today a British researcher proposed harsher measures against parents who willingly provide their children with violent video games."

Community: "OMG THE FUCKING STATE IS BEING LIKE REALLY NAZI AGAIN ITS LIKE IM REALLY LIVING IN DA SOVIENT UNION OR THIRD REICH LOL"

Make your minds up people.

So instead of blaming one part of the 'Parent, Devloper, Government whose fault is it really' thing he decided to blame everyone. What does that accomplish.

punishing parents for something that isn't even proven to harm children
I played GTA when I was little, so did all my friends, and we all turned out normal
I've actually found that video game violence has had a more powerful impact on my emotions the more I grew up, as I learned the real world repercussions of such things and dispte loving GTA, Mortal Kombat, Contra ect. I abhor violence.

This is just another pompous ass hole pretending he's a saint by pretending he's caring about your children when he's just getting off on his own ego, yet you brits will take his words as truth for some reason and sacrifice yet more of you personal life to the government.

Also, what if the parents were going to buy a mature game for themselves? How would the government know they weren't letting their kids play it? Better start having regular government check ins, or start putting cameras in your TVs, wouldn't want you hurting your own kids.

Parents punished in some way, perhaps, but an arrest won't help anyone...
What the hell, I can't read the text, did something happen to my eyes? It's all just a blur! wtf?

Does he ever think that not EVERY SINGLE PARENT who buys their children games are morons? Some kids develop faster than others. It's a parent's job to know their child well enough to gauge if they can handle Game X's content. I was playing Resident Evil around age 7 because my parents actually spent time with me and felt confident that I was able to separate fantasy from reality at that age.

Of course, then there are the mouth-breathers who buy their kids Splatterhouse with no information on the game and then go on a moral crusade once they find out what they gave their children. Amazing what a 30-second Google search can do, neh?

here, for you guy's entertainment, I've been watching Penn and Teller's Bullshit
here's the episode for violent video games:

This guy is a professor of political science, which might as well mean professor of lies, half-truths and idiocy. He's just adding more proof to the overwhelming evidence.

"The issue of video games may seem rather trivial at first, but it has many implications for politicians,"
Huh. I've always thought of it as:
"The issue of politicians may seem rather trivial at first, but they have many implications for video games,
Anyways:
The state should not decide what material is appropriate for children and what is not, save for cases of abuse. If a parent decides that a violent video game is okay for their child, that should be their prerogative.

Nuke_em_05:
Did I read the same article everyone else did?

This guy said "prosecute", not specifically "jail" or "arrest". Maybe he means like a fine? Who here has ever received a traffic ticket?

Even then, the problem then created is "you just said a vague phrase, well done". Instead of offering up what he has in mind for prosecution he has left it open-ended so the general public eats it up and rages out. I'll admit I fell for it because typically those "arrested" (using the title of the article) usually end up jailed, not simply fined. Fines usually occur out-of-court and are done on the spot. Fines I don't have much of a problem with (a little, but then we're getting into the argument of "should parents try to govern their own children", personally yes but some parents use video games as a third-parent (or second parent) rather than a supplement), I just hate the idea of jail time because of the counter-productive damage it serves.

I also have to wonder how much money it would take to investigate this kind of behaviour. You wouldn't get normal police to do it since it would lack the subtly required to catch it happening with proof. You'd have to get a particular branch made up or an existing one used (e.g. fraud) to catch people in the act. A lot of questions have to be raised by the enforcement and the idea of the researcher just saying "well, just prosecute them for this" is far from simple and I really do hope in the original paper he actually proposed something less vague than this.

Edit:

Treblaine:
"Why should the system in the UK be any different?"

I also have to comment that phrase is one of the worst political phrases in the last sixty years and symbolises one of the most hated political parties in the UK. Fun fact, they've been elected three times in sixty years, and every single time they've caused chaos, lost a lot of people jobs and caused riots, and people still elect them. I'd blame the political party for using terrible logic and working to benefit the wrong people, but they've been voted in three times and every time they've done this. Why are people honestly surprised?

Riobux:

Nuke_em_05:

Even then, the problem then created is "you just said a vague phrase, well done". Instead of offering up what he has in mind for prosecution he has left it open-ended so the general public eats it up and rages out. I'll admit I fell for it because typically those "arrested" (using the title of the article) usually end up jailed, not simply fined. Fines usually occur out-of-court and are done on the spot. Fines I don't have much of a problem with (a little, but then we're getting into the argument of "should parents try to govern their own children", personally yes but some parents use video games as a third-parent (or second parent) rather than a supplement), I just hate the idea of jail time because of the counter-productive damage it serves.

I also have to wonder how much money it would take to investigate this kind of behaviour. You wouldn't get normal police to do it since it would lack the subtly required to catch it happening with proof. You'd have to get a particular branch made up or an existing one used (e.g. fraud) to catch people in the act. A lot of questions have to be raised by the enforcement and the idea of the researcher just saying "well, just prosecute them for this" is far from simple and I really do hope in the original paper he actually proposed something less vague than this.

Like I explained to another poster, indeed. I didn't say it was a good idea, it just seems like people are making more of it than it is (possibly as intended by the original speaker). Really, though, I just think it is interesting how "gaming" folks seem to consider it a bad idea, when it is something they seem to clamor for whenever an "anti-gaming" parenting group gets uppity.

The steps between "what some guy says in a book or paper" to "actual law", assuming this ever got that far, would include so many revisions, conditions, potential circumstances, etc. that the final product would be either too specific to be effective or too broad to be consistently enforced.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
News: "Worry is mounting that an increasing number of children (children, not teenagers) are being exposed to extremely violent video games."

Community: "OMG IT'S DA PARENTS FAULT GET THEM NOT US YO LEAVE DA VIDYA ALONE"

News: "Today a British researcher proposed harsher measures against parents who willingly provide their children with violent video games."

Community: "OMG THE FUCKING STATE IS BEING LIKE REALLY NAZI AGAIN ITS LIKE IM REALLY LIVING IN DA SOVIENT UNION OR THIRD REICH LOL"

Make your minds up people.

The first case is the extreme in one direction; that parents have no responsibility regarding the behavior of their children. The second case is the extreme in the other direction; parents cannot be allowed to make decisions on how to raise their children.

Y'know, the government does not know my children. If I believe that my 15 year old son can handle Mass Effect 3, an 18+ game, then that is my choice as a parent. And if my kid somehow freaks out and hurts a bunch of people and it can be proven that my choice to let my underage child play an 18+ game then yes; feel free to prosecute me.

But until that happens; leave me to raise my kid.

Cowabungaa:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
News: "Worry is mounting that an increasing number of children (children, not teenagers) are being exposed to extremely violent video games."

Community: "OMG IT'S DA PARENTS FAULT GET THEM NOT US YO LEAVE DA VIDYA ALONE"

News: "Today a British researcher proposed harsher measures against parents who willingly provide their children with violent video games."

Community: "OMG THE FUCKING STATE IS BEING LIKE REALLY NAZI AGAIN ITS LIKE IM REALLY LIVING IN DA SOVIENT UNION OR THIRD REICH LOL"

Make your minds up people.

The first case is the extreme in one direction; that parents have no responsibility regarding the behavior of their children. The second case is the extreme in the other direction; parents cannot be allowed to make decisions on how to raise their children.

Y'know, the government does not know my children. If I believe that my 15 year old son can handle Mass Effect 3, an 18+ game, then that is my choice as a parent. And if my kid somehow freaks out and hurts a bunch of people and it can be proven that my choice to let my underage child play an 18+ game then yes; feel free to prosecute me.

But until that happens; leave me to raise my kid.

Again, we are talking about children, not 15 year olds. A 15 year old is not a child.

And before you come and say you should be free to raise your child how you want to; if you give your child violent video games, you shouldn't be.

This man seems to fail to acknowledge that most people who play violent video games are in their 30s by this point and that the percentage compared to less violent games is small.

All this'd do is make an official statement that if you choose to buy a product for your child the PEGI board has decided is inappropriate it's your responsibility to look into why and then make an informed decision. Prosecuting parents for making informed decisions about their children will never make it into UK law, it's still legal to buy alcohol for your child to drink at your own home at any age.

Look, all this comes down to is making stupidity a crime and if stupidity was a crime we'd have to lock up an unfortunatly large proportion of the population.

Yes, these parents may be irresponsible but if we're going to let anybody raise a child then we also have to accept that they will be brought up according to how they do it. The government can't interfere short of serious abuse. I wouldn't say exposing children to "innapropriate" media is all that serious although it would depend on the context. What is or is not appropriate is ultimately up to the discretion of the parents because the whole thing is pretty much entirely subjective.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Again, we are talking about children, not 15 year olds. A 15 year old is not a child.

And before you come and say you should be free to raise your child how you want to; if you give your child violent video games, you shouldn't be.

It is. Definitely in legal terms and mostly in biological terms. But you don't know whether I should give my child certain videogames or not. You wouldn't know my kid, you wouldn't know what he/she is equipped to handle. I do, hence why it'd be my call. If that call leads to problems then yes I am the one who should be held accountable. Before that time; my kid, my responsibility.

Because what counts as "violent" anyway? What is too violent and what is not? Is Tom and Jerry too violent? Is Mass Effect 3 too violent? Is playing Cops and Robbers/Cowboys and Indians with Nerf guns too violent? It's a faded, gray line with multiple points on which you can cross it. And who knows better at which line it can be crossed than the individual parent of an individual child? I for instance know that my 9 year old cousin is way too immature to handle even the almost Looney Toones-esque TF2. But I also know that my 13 year old sister is more than mature enough to handle Assassin's Creed.

This is something that's supposed to be handled by a case-by-case basis thanks to all the variables involved. What you can do, and what systems like PEGI are good for, is informing parents so that they can make a well-informed choice for their children. A choice they can reasonably be held accountable for.

I've only read part of the first page, but a lot of the comments raised my hackles a bit. That one second from turning 17 to 18 doesn't magically make someone mature enough to watch certain movies, or play certain games, age ratings are a TERRIBLE way to enforce restrictions on things like this. Some 10 year olds can play games like Manhunt, Grant Theft Auto and The Punisher and have absolutely no negative effects, whereas someone in thier 30's could play the same games, and it could make them sick, or send them off the deep end (just an example, i dont think games cause shootings, its something in the persons brain already screwed up).

I'm 28, but my parents let me watch 18 rated movies long before i was old enough 'legally' simply because they knew i could handle them, and lo and behold, ive never commited a crime, hell, ive barely been in any fights. Yes, it's the parents responsibility whether they let thier kids play mature games, or watch mature movies... if they're good parents they'll know what thier kid can handle, if they're not, then the kid has way more problems than playing a game too mature for them.

Cowabungaa:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Again, we are talking about children, not 15 year olds. A 15 year old is not a child.

And before you come and say you should be free to raise your child how you want to; if you give your child violent video games, you shouldn't be.

It is. Definitely in legal terms and mostly in biological terms. But you don't know whether I should give my child certain videogames or not. You wouldn't know my kid, you wouldn't know what he/she is equipped to handle. I do, hence why it'd be my call. If that call leads to problems then yes I am the one who should be held accountable. Before that time; my kid, my responsibility.

Because what counts as "violent" anyway? What is too violent and what is not? Is Tom and Jerry too violent? Is Mass Effect 3 too violent? It's a faded, gray line with multiple points on which you can cross it. And who knows better at which line it can be crossed than the individual parent of an individual child?

This is something that's supposed to be handled by a case-by-case basis thanks to all the variables involved. What you can do, and what systems like PEGI are good for, is informing parents so that they can make a well-informed choice for their children. A choice they can reasonably be held accountable for.

If the majority of parents were responsible and if PEGI ratings weren't completely broken, you'd have a point, but neither are, so you don't.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

If the majority of parents were responsible and if PEGI ratings weren't completely broken, you'd have a point, but neither are, so you don't.

I do have a point. My point stands separate of those things. Heck, the first is a pretty big assumption on it's own right. The second means simply that the PEGI rating system needs to be fixed as much as possible to provide parents all the tools they need. Why not focus on getting those things right instead of talking about draconian measures?

It's all no reason to victimize innocent people. In that regard it has something in common with the DRM discussion. Should the actions of a few stupid people (because honestly, how many kids out of 10.000 will go crazy because they played violent unsuitable for them?) lead to everyone be penalized for them? If you ask me; nope. Why? Because there are other options available that deserve to be explored first.

And if it's proven that we need more and that plenty of kids are getting fucked up because of stupid purchases by their parents. Well, then we can talk about the things this researcher talks about.

Cowabungaa:
Why not focus on getting those things right instead of talking about draconian measures?

Who's talking about draconian measures? I can actually answer that question myself: you and a bunch of other people in this thread, but not the researcher or the government or whoever.

Cowabungaa:
It's all no reason to victimize innocent people. In that regard it has something in common with the DRM discussion. Should the actions of a few stupid people (because honestly, how many kids out of 10.000 will go crazy because they played violent unsuitable for them?) lead to everyone be penalized for them? If you ask me; nope. Why? Because there are other options available that deserve to be explored first.

That's an admirable viewpoint to have but it's not an apt comparison. One leaves you with less control for game publishers, which isn't really tragic, while other leaves you with emotionally stunted children who grow up to be less than functional adults. I know it's about the principle but principle can take a back seat depending on the situation.

Cowabungaa:
The second means simply that the PEGI rating system needs to be fixed as much as possible to provide parents all the tools they need. Why not focus on getting those things right instead of talking about draconian measures?

Because as we all know, we can only do one of those things. Theres absolutely no possible way to both improve the PEGI system and crack down on irresponsible parents simultaneously. No way.

Yes, parents should take more responsibility for stuff they by their kids. But the punishment is stupid. You'll never stop kids watching/playing/doing under age things, regardless of how stupid or clever their parents are.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Who's talking about draconian measures? I can actually answer that question myself: you and a bunch of other people in this thread, but not the researcher or the government or whoever.

How am I asking for draconian measures? I'm asking for individual parents being judged based on the consequences of their actions. How that is draconian, I truly don't know. Generalizing every choice made by parents based of an extremely vague description of videogame content and the assumed effects because of them however does sound pretty draconian.

That's an admirable viewpoint to have but it's not an apt comparison. One leaves you with less control for game publishers, which isn't really tragic, while other leaves you with emotionally stunted children who grow up to be less than functional adults. I know it's about the principle but principle can take a back seat depending on the situation.

And you know that is true, how, exactly? Again, not every kid is the same. My kid brother played Gears of War when he was 12 or something. He fully realized it was over-the-t oneop fictional violence and shrugged at it and he was none the worst for it. Is that just example? Sure. But I just want to show that it isn't as clear cut as you say it and that's exactly where the problem lies.

You're making a humongous assumption, not to mention a big generalization. This is something that needs to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Because as we all know, we can only do one of those things. Theres absolutely no possible way to both improve the PEGI system and crack down on irresponsible parents simultaneously. No way.

Irresponsible parents should be punished when their actions lead to properly identifiable problems. If everything is fine, well, then everything is fine.

But if for instance the cousin I mentioned before freaks out and hurts his brother and that can be traced back to playing Gears of War then yes I deserve to be prosecuted. But if there isn't any proof that my parental decisions lead to actual problems then the state has no right to intervene.

Ahem. It's THEIR kids. If they want to give them mature videogames they're entitled to do so.

Yeah, it's wrong but you can't enforce such things.

DeltasDix:

Thomas Hirst:
While this is a bit extreme its nice to finally see someone pick up on the fact that parents are the ones in the end who are responsible for keeping R and M rated games away from their kids. Jail Perhaps not. Fines..... might work.

That's fucking despicable, giving parents FINES for choosing what content their children can consume.

Then maybe Atkinson had the right idea after all... at the end of the day R rated content is rated as such for a reason.

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