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?