Jail Parents in NZ For Giving Kids Mature Games?

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Jail Parents in NZ For Giving Kids Mature Games?

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Another week, another call to punish people who give adult games to children - only this time around, a New Zealand lawmaker wants to go after parents who buy the titles for kids.

Bill Hastings, New Zealand's chief government censor, has called for the enforcement of a law that makes it illegal to provide children with access to mature-rated games. Instead of the standard "fining retailers," though, Hastings has gone after a different target - the parents. Under Hastings' proposal, parents who provide children with adult games will face a potential three months imprisonment, or a fine of $10,000. These heavy penalties would serve as "shock value," deterring others from doing the same.

It isn't as though this would be new legislation, exactly - it's already illegal in New Zealand for adults to give minors access to adult games - but thus far, no one has been prosecuted.

"They might think the offence [sic] is silly, but it ain't," said Hastings, speaking to the Dominion Post. While he says that there wouldn't be police officers lurking in every bedroom and living room across the country, "There would certainly be some shock value to prosecuting a parent who gives their under-18 child access to a restricted game. It would send out a message that the enforcement agency means business."

With this generation of children more technologically savvy than their parents, Hastings believes it's important for parents to try and keep up with the digital divide and be aware of what their kids are playing. He won't find any argument here - parents should pay attention to what their children are doing, both with games and without. Maybe they can teach them the Geneva Conventions.

But is jailing them really the right way to go here? If a parent judges their child mature enough to handle a game like CoD4, who is Hastings to tell them that they're wrong?

(Stuff.co.nz, via CVG)

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Yes, if a parent BUYS a kid a 18+ game, he should be held responsible.

But not jail. Community service, I say... Or punch to the crotch. It would teach them that not all games are suitable for younger people.

Seriously? This kind of thing makes me angry. Who is he to decide if children are mature enough to handle a game? It's just another attempt to take parenting responsibility away from parents. Every child is different, and for this man to punish parents for knowing what their children are like is preposterous.

Sweet. I love this country. Although it is perhaps a touch too far it is still a step in the right direction. As for the prison time, that will never happen. Its like piracy here or even low level possession of child porn. They confiscate your equipment, maybe give you a fine and sentence to X time community service. No way anyone would see the inside of a prison cell. Also this is coming from a guy who fucking hates bill hastings. Theres just something wrong about having a homosexual, someone who has had to fight for years not to be viewed as living a deviant lifestyle himself trying to tell me that even though I am over 18 that Manhunt could corrupt me, plus a few movies like Baise-moi and Visitor Q are too much for me to handle.

Its up to the parents to judge what their offspring is old enough to see. I have always been able to separate fantasy from reality and as such have been watching 18 movies and playing 18 games since i was 14. Never made me into a psycho.

This is bullshit, why can't parents say what kind of media their kids are allowed to consume. Bloody facists.

He sounds like a stupid hick, therefore all of his points are invalid. But that aside, this is incredibly ridiculous.
He has no right to tell someone what they can and can't do in their own home.
Goddamn.

... Okay, what the hell?

Yes, a lot of parents buy their children M rated games or their equivalent in other countries without knowing anything about the game at all... but, WHY should parents be jailed for it, especially if they actually do know what the game is about and decides that their 14 year old is old enough to play it anyway?

It's a tiny step up from suing game companies, but really, it's pathetic. I guess it stems from government rating systems.

CantFaketheFunk:

"They might think the offence [sic][sic] is silly, but it ain't,"

Pretty sure "offence" is a valid spelling of "offense" over there?

That is just fucking retarded.
It's one thing to keep a retailer from selling the game. But at this point you're telling the parents they're not allowed to raise their own children.

oneplus999:

CantFaketheFunk:

"They might think the offence [sic][sic] is silly, but it ain't,"

Pretty sure "offence" is a valid spelling of "offense" over there?

It is, but we use Americanized spellings. [sic] means that's how it was in the original :)

Ridiculous. I'm sure the people of NZ do not need the government telling parents what their children can and can not have. This guy, besides demonstrating his stupidity by using the contraction "ain't" in an official statement (making him, therefore the government, look like idiots who can't even speak correctly) is showing a desire to control people at a level they just don't need. I'm amazed the citizens in NZ are willing to put up with a moron like this.

To be fair, it is better than suing the games companies for producing the games, but it is perhaps an extreme measure in this regard.

This is alittle mad for my liking. Ok, some parents are ignorant aggronant idiots who don't know anything about games (See the Words of Gord for examples). But jail? For deciding there kids (who could be 17) are old enough for GTA IV?! Seriously, this guy is mad.

Ok. I am not defending Bill Hastings however you people need to understand one simple thing about this subject.
NO ONE WILL EVER ACTUALLY BE SENT TO PRISON FOR THIS.
That is not how things are done here.
Sheesh, I stated what would happen quite clearly. Do you people just skip everything but the first post?
Although it is stupid for him to make a law like this it will never actually be enforced. Its just one of those things that will get stuck on the news for a few weeks and get parents to actually stop and think about what could happen if they give their little bastard offspring games that are, by law, restricted to 18+
Also the use of a sheep for the main picture. Predictable, unoriginal and tacky. -.-;

Anonymouse:
Ok. I am not defending Bill Hastings however you people need to understand one simple thing about this subject.
NO ONE WILL EVER ACTUALLY BE SENT TO PRISON FOR THIS.
That is not how things are done here.
Sheesh, I stated what would happen quite clearly. Do you people just skip everything but the first post?

I don't, but there is still the POSSIBILITY of prison time, and because sentencing is left to the JUDGE, you may get one that believes that the prison time would be a great way to shock people just like the moron in the statement and toss the parents into prison for 3 months.

This is why I live in America, they make laws like this all the time, but the laws get thrown out as soon as a court sees them.

so this must be NZ version of Jack Thompson. Seriously does he not realize that this will never work? The police could just show up and take the parents away, then social services will have to place the kids somewhere immediately, and its just a waste of tax dollars.

Yes let's take away the parents and put them in jail, it's not a bad idea at all

/sarcasm

So its gone from helping parents who want help to forcing parents under threat of imprisonment. Wow.

Next they will install automated fine systems for cursing like in Demolition Man.

Lights out at 10:00 P.M. and eat your vegetables...or we'll toss you in the slammer.

Won't be enforced, a shock statement to discourage the practice for a few weeks as someone mentioned earlier. Although I'm sure they wouldn't turn down some of those $10,000 fines.

And thus we remove a little more of our free will for order, glory days...

What sort of repercussions will throwing the parents in jail have on the children?

Please, please, oh elected law-making officials, think of the children.

Heh love the picture of the sheep.

While I actually think this law has some merit to it, but it's simply too oppressive. There are plenty of people under the age of 18 who are plenty capable of handling the content of M rated games. I mean, you're going to only allow someone to play a mature videogame at the same time that they can go off to war and see and experience all the traumatic events that are a part of it (I assume New Zealand's minimum age where you can join the military is 18)?

It's not fair to legally restrict someone underage to play a videogame. The point of a Mature rating is as a guidline, not a law. I mean, it's not illegal for someone under 18 to see an R rated movie. Or read a book...books don't even have rating systems! Do you know what kind of sick shit you can put in a book?

Well, whatever else it may be, it certainly is a refreshing change from blaming everything on the government, corporations and the game developers themselves. If parents really are so high and mighty about games, they'd better damn well take some of the responsibility on themselves rather than trying blanket cencorship out of lazy ignorance.

Well if I was 17, I would sleep a lot easier knowing my legal guardian was trying not to drop the soap, having been arrested and jailed for buying me a copy of GTA4 for my 18th birthday.

That was sarcasm by the way, oh and so was that, I guess.

It always bothers me greatly to be in a chain store, and see someone clearly under the age or could possibly be near the age and the person has the little beeper go off for a mature title and does nothing. I think it would be going a little to far and it would be very very hard to prove. This argument would mean that the parents that purchased the game in the first place and only the child was the one using it. They might have played the game themselves or bought it for themselves. They forgot to lock it under lock and key and the kid got to it. Basically the same defense a parent could use for alcohol or anything else.

I hate whiny twelve year-olds in multiplayer games as much as the next guy, but they have no right taking this right from parents. If a parent feels their child is responsible enough to handle M (or T) rated games, then let them. Plus, Spaz has a point; depriving a child of a parent by throwing them in jail is far worse for a child's development than giving them a violent video game.

A person should not be judged by age, but by personality.

its really just up to the parent a nd the child to see if the kid is mature enough to play M rated games.

I'm sort of glad that someone is punishing the adults for whatever happens. Except even i your a mature child (yes there out there) can't play. Also i believe the charges are too tough. This will need a little changing and reforming but there definitely on the right track.

I am a parent and a gamer. I think if the games are properly labeled, this deterrent actually makes a ton of sense as long as there is no jail time or even a fine, make it strictly community service. Something that gets parents to spend more time with their children and pay more attention to their responsibility in guiding their children's activities? As long as it isn't hurting the family, I'm all for it.

Anonymouse:
Sweet. I love this country. Although it is perhaps a touch too far it is still a step in the right direction. As for the prison time, that will never happen. Its like piracy here or even low level possession of child porn. They confiscate your equipment, maybe give you a fine and sentence to X time community service. No way anyone would see the inside of a prison cell. Also this is coming from a guy who fucking hates bill hastings. Theres just something wrong about having a homosexual, someone who has had to fight for years not to be viewed as living a deviant lifestyle himself trying to tell me that even though I am over 18 that Manhunt could corrupt me, plus a few movies like Baise-moi and Visitor Q are too much for me to handle.

Anonymouse:
Ok. I am not defending Bill Hastings however you people need to understand one simple thing about this subject.
NO ONE WILL EVER ACTUALLY BE SENT TO PRISON FOR THIS.
That is not how things are done here.
Sheesh, I stated what would happen quite clearly. Do you people just skip everything but the first post?
Although it is stupid for him to make a law like this it will never actually be enforced. Its just one of those things that will get stuck on the news for a few weeks and get parents to actually stop and think about what could happen if they give their little bastard offspring games that are, by law, restricted to 18+
Also the use of a sheep for the main picture. Predictable, unoriginal and tacky. -.-;

I am so with you on this, provided the games are properly labeled. A locked cabinet for my adult games? I have no problem with that. Heck, I could even come off as the cool parent for letting my kid(s) experience adult games before the gov says they can, it would be like our secret illegal activity that doesn't actually do any harm. But that may just be me, I am already teaching my child not everything she sees is real and/or should be emulated.

I endorse this politician.

HEY GUYS! I'm a politician so I know more about raising your kids then you! You better do what I say or i'll bankrupt you with fines and make you unable to provide for your child, forcing them into foster care and causing irreperable emotional scarring to their pysche! That'll stop all the murderers!

CanadianWolverine:
I am a parent and a gamer. I think if the games are properly labeled, this deterrent actually makes a ton of sense as long as there is no jail time or even a fine, make it strictly community service. Something that gets parents to spend more time with their children and pay more attention to their responsibility in guiding their children's activities? As long as it isn't hurting the family, I'm all for it.

Anonymouse:
Sweet. I love this country. Although it is perhaps a touch too far it is still a step in the right direction. As for the prison time, that will never happen. Its like piracy here or even low level possession of child porn. They confiscate your equipment, maybe give you a fine and sentence to X time community service. No way anyone would see the inside of a prison cell. Also this is coming from a guy who fucking hates bill hastings. Theres just something wrong about having a homosexual, someone who has had to fight for years not to be viewed as living a deviant lifestyle himself trying to tell me that even though I am over 18 that Manhunt could corrupt me, plus a few movies like Baise-moi and Visitor Q are too much for me to handle.

Anonymouse:
Ok. I am not defending Bill Hastings however you people need to understand one simple thing about this subject.
NO ONE WILL EVER ACTUALLY BE SENT TO PRISON FOR THIS.
That is not how things are done here.
Sheesh, I stated what would happen quite clearly. Do you people just skip everything but the first post?
Although it is stupid for him to make a law like this it will never actually be enforced. Its just one of those things that will get stuck on the news for a few weeks and get parents to actually stop and think about what could happen if they give their little bastard offspring games that are, by law, restricted to 18+
Also the use of a sheep for the main picture. Predictable, unoriginal and tacky. -.-;

I am so with you on this, provided the games are properly labeled. A locked cabinet for my adult games? I have no problem with that. Heck, I could even come off as the cool parent for letting my kid(s) experience adult games before the gov says they can, it would be like our secret illegal activity that doesn't actually do any harm. But that may just be me, I am already teaching my child not everything she sees is real and/or should be emulated.

Under Hastings' proposal, parents who provide children with adult games will face a potential three months imprisonment, or a fine of $10,000

Read... article? Jail time or a 10,000 dollar fine are strictly enforced. Let me put that in perspective. I got a ticket for speeding 15 mph over once. It was around 200 bucks. I didn't go to court over it, I took my punishment because my actions could have directly endangered lives. That 15 mph could've meant the difference between life, death, or dismemberment.

Meanwhile, providing a child a violent videogame, an act which has not been proven to be harmful by any -credible- source, is a 10,000 dollar fine? Because of the 'risk'?

I could understand this if a parent was buying their 10 year old an 18 rated game just because the kid wanted them to. But even then, three months imprisonment or a fine of $10,000 is going too far. The maximum punishment should be a small fine and a slap on the wrist. Hell even force the parent to attend a class that is nothing but '18 rated games are for 18 year olds' repeated over and over again.

Fair enough if the parent thinks their kid can handle it. But if their kid ends up doing something stupid like murdering someone cause they wanted to see if it was as easy as in GTA, then they'd have no right to moan about their kid playing an 18 rated game. And every gamer in their local area would get to punch them once in a place they decide for their stupidity.

And that's my two cents.

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