The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a "professional honorary Society of women educators," has written an open letter to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark asking her to restrict the availability of violent and sexually explicit videogames in the province.
Did you know that in the year 2000, the government of British Columbia banned Activision's Soldier of Fortune by declaring it "an 'adult motion picture' as defined under the B.C. Motion Picture Act?" Mary-Louise McCausland, then the Director of Film Classification, described the in-game violence as "brutal and portrayed realistically and explicitly," adding, "The object of the plot is to create an environment where the participant can maim or kill as many assailants as possible with the level of viciousness that the participant chooses to employ."
The ruling meant that anyone who wanted to distribute Soldier of Fortune in the province had to become legally licensed distributors of adult material - which is to say, porn - and would only be allowed to supply it to legally-license retailers of adult material - which is to say, porn shops. "If this inconveniences distributors," McCausland wrote [via The Free Radical], "I believe that the inconvenience is necessary to protect the interests of the public."
Now B.C. is the focus of another complaint that seeks even wider-reaching restrictions on violent and sexually explicit videogames. O. Babiuk of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International has written an open letter to Premier Christy Clark, asking the government to "further limit" the availability of such games in the province.
"As summer vacation has started, children are particularly at risk for increased exposure to the violence celebrated in many of the video games which are commonly available for sale in local stores, and at video arcades," the letter says. "Significant research has been conducted to determine the effects of violence in video games and many of the results indicate short-term and even long-term behavioral and attitudinal changes in those who play these games."
"In the same way that we protect our children from secondhand smoke, we believe there would be a benefit from a ban on violent or sexually explicit games wherever children under 16 may be present and that the sale of these items should be tightly controlled," it continues. "Please help families keep their children from the negative effects of violent and sexually explicit video games by legislating strict rules regarding the sale and the use of these items."
But whether the B.C. government even acknowledges the letter is an open question at this point. For one thing, the Liberal government currently in power is deeply unpopular with voters and unlikely to have much interest in any legislation that could prove controversial. And while "thinking of the children" has for years been a popular go-to move for politicians, the world is a vastly different place than it was a decade ago. Videogames are no longer the default evil, and it's become widely recognized that informed parents and retailers, and not knee-jerk legislation, are the best way to keep inappropriate games out of the hands of kids.