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Who do you think should be responsible for keeping violent video games away from children?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 26, 2013 9:42 AM PST
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Parents using games as baby sitters.

They give the machine to kids so it will keep busy. The games are given to them without checking the rating because the child wants them because someone has it. If the child was given it and the parent spent time with them with the games and did other things outside with them, the child would learn less violent behavior.

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Violent games

I think that parents "should" be the one's that are responsible, but since so many of them don't take on that responsibility, I think that all the other entities from the game developers to the the government have to intervene.

So many people in the country feel that they have no chance for a future; they don't even try. Sure, some of that is caused by laziness but some it is true Life becomes an unimportant thing to them, something of no value. If people thought that they had something precious to lose they might think of it as something worth protecting. Teach people to respect each other and themselves, it just might begin to change things.

I think that watching violence causes people to become unmoved by seeing it in real life. If you consider what has happened to the English language, as it has become sloppier in the media and today's world, it seems to follow suit.

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violent games - distributors/stores also responsible
by smadalman / February 26, 2013 2:00 PM PST
In reply to: Violent games

Although I agree with the comment from iford above, it is unfortunately true that some parents just aren't responsible. These games should be handled the way cigarettes are supposed to be - they should be stocked separately, accessible only by sales persons, and distributed only to an adult/parent with a WRITTEN WARNING about the potential DANGER of these games for young children and teens.

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Game addiction and behavior

We as parents must be responsible. The developers have their commercial interests and couldn't care less.

Having watched our 12 year old son go from an avid book reader to an avid game addict, I am say unequivocally that these fast-paced and violence based games are extremely addictive. Does our son exhibit anti-social violent behavior - NO but his challenges in socializing with peers and in communication in general has deteriorated since he began playing these games. And his focus has gone down significantly.

We now restrict and limit his game time severely but the damage has been done and we now have to hope he re-builds his communication and awareness skills.

The rapid stimulation caused by these games to areas of the brain definitely creates challenges for children who are already challenged, and these seem to be the children most attracted to the games - children who do not care for sports or other creative activities and who do not have active social lives outside of those who share their interest in these games.

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Video games

This is a very complex issue, that cannot be decided by a simple vote. A lot depends upon the maturity level of the child and the mental stability and mind set of the individual. Parents should make decisions based on those facts and how they might apply to their children. Some well grounded kids will be able to handle the games without any advserse results, while others may be unduly influenced.Parents should know their kids.

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Contributes but only research can prove it.

I don't believe this can be established without extensive research but make the following observations:

1. As the games get more realistic, I believe they could desensitise the squeamish and even average person to violent acts.

2. To the undeveloped mind there could be a blurring between right and wrong as concerns violence i.e. the delusion it is has less impact than it actually has making it seem less than it is.

3. Much of the violent crime requires courage. Games aren't going to give you courage.

4. Much of violent crime is a result of brain chemistry. I doubt, very much, that games are going to effect brain chemistry. You're not going to turn into a psychopath playing a game.

5. I doubt that majority of people who are involved in violent crime have a lifestyle background of sitting on a PC playing games. They're far more likely to be outside hanging around in gangs.

I guess, to summarise, I can see games having an impact on a limited few who may want to reenact something they played but, even then, it seems that the step from watching a screen to doing it live would take more of a mental adjustment than just watching a game.

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Parents supply the software, the hardware and the location.

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by Luhng / February 26, 2013 12:15 PM PST
In reply to: Parents

Should have added: Parents have the greatest ability to monitor.

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Just ask yourself one question -

Would my Mother, or even my aged Grandmother for that matter, feel relaxed and comfortable sitting beside, watching and supervising either little Bob or little Bobbie, as they each curse and throw hissy-fits during the 'playing' of one of their so-called video 'games'?

In my opinion, avid video 'gamers' are inevitably de-sensitised to acts of extreme violence and ultimately accept any form of gross behaviour as 'normal'!

Don't believe me? Look here ..

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Businesses that promote violent games are 1st, then us!!!

It is America's obsession with all things violent that is responsible for a violent society. We make Rome
look like a tea party. Americans hoard weapons of death, go to shooting ranges, events that wreck
machinery, movies that have infantile plots that are solved by gratuitous slaughter, and endless
explosions, murder mysteries, aliens who have us on their menu, etc, etc, etc. I watched a little
of the game my neighbors kid was playing a number of years ago that involved carjacking as a goal!!!
you had to kill the occupants of the car, and the more people you killed, and the more cars you stole,
the more points you obtained. I was thoroughly disgusted!!!!
And there are games much worse than that one.

Some movies and games that justify the violence with the" trite old plot"; where the guys wife,
and children, or buddies have been murdered as the precept of killing hoardes of bad guys,
are little better than the ones that just kill for sport. Not, that things like that don't sadly happen
in the real world, but it seems a whole industry of movies and games are built around that one
concept, and seems to be everywhere you look and turn!!!

Anyone, and i mean anyone, which includes movie studios, game developers, and any individual
who thinks that mindless slaughter does not "desensitize" the public (and particularly the developing
minds of children) are either so ignorant it is pathetic, or so evil it is unbeliveable!!!!
How could anyone be so stupid as to think that unleashing all forms of sickness and cruelty
upon human beings doesn't, in at least some part, lead to acceptance of such things.
Give me a break; is all of society suffering from mass hysteria and mass denial???????

And, if you feel insulted or threatened by my opinion, Good!!!!! You need to!!!

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Voted Parents. Primarily. But Game developers have a share

parental guidance is primary in seting violent or non violent as well a s social o non social tendancies.

Game developers trying to ut do other and prior games in the amount and realistics of gore numb the sencitivity of those with young impsessionable minds.

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self control

In my opinion, there are too many people that do not try to control themselves or teach their children to control themselves and would rather rely on government to legislate by banning activities which are a problem in their lives instead of taking responsibility for their activities eg video games by saying i am prone to violence so i will not play these games as they trigger that emotion in me, or i have a weakness for gambling so i will stay away from casinos. So instead of individuals learning from an early age to say this is bad for me, etc they rely on outside factors to prevent themselves (and everybody else) from engaging in an activity and are quick to blame others instead of themselves when they do something wrong.

People are not been held accountable for their own actions and it is time that we say that individuals must control themselves and allow those of us who can tell reality from cyberspace the freedom to play the games we want to.

parents must teach their children to avoid activities which do not agree with them and in that way the market will change because if there are no buyers the product must evolve or perish.

At the end of the day the games are geared towards the players, therefore if the players change, the games will also change.

demand = supply, no demand = no supply.

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I voted for parents but the others bear some responsibility!

I think that the majority of the responsibility falls squarely on the parents shoulders!!!! The parents should have some idea as to what games their kids are playing and the amount of violence contained in said games!

Someone else beat me to the punch of stating that a lot of parents use these games as a babysitting tool, ergo go play your game and leave me alone.

We, wife and I, adopted our granddaughter. We try to keep her head well grounded! She completely loves and will watch "Power Rangers" for hours on end, if allowed. I actually think she is learning some Japanese from all her watching of this program.

To say she was devastated when I told her that the show was make believe/ fiction would be an understatement!!! She was literally crushed! She had thought that this was the real deal and she wanted to become a "Power Ranger" when she grew up. She started watching the show at about 8 or 9ish, she just turned 10.

I pointed out that "real swords" would not be flopping around as they do on the show, after some long talks she finally started to see that this was just a program and not "REAL"!

She is now to the point of when watching a program she will ask if this is real or fiction! Impressionable minds, for whatever reason, tend to believe that what they see on TV programs or in games are real and the behavior displayed is "okay" or sanctioned!! That is why parents must step in/up and make sure that their kids understand what is real and what isn't! After umpteen hours of games they "don't" know the difference! Shocked

They also need to instill some "moral values". Telling them that what they see in the games isn't socially acceptable behavior!! At times I think that "My God we're letting games and garbage TV raise our kids". When our/ your kids get raised on bad TV and worse games that glorify killings and total brutality is it any wonder that they are turning out the way they are?????????

Maybe we should bring back public capital punishment/ executions as a new reality show and show the kids what is "Real" and the Punishment that will be doled out if you do the crimes being portrayed in these games!! I know there will be many negatives votes on that statement alone!! But, watch over their shoulder or better yet actually play some of these games yourself! After doing so, a public aired on TV execution will be a yawn for most of them as some games are much more barbaric, gross and glorifying the mass murders of humans, good or bad !!! ShockedCry

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Perfect example...
by btljooz / February 27, 2013 3:48 AM PST

The child that Glenn describes is a perfect example of a kid with lazy parents. (It's more fun to make kids than to raise them.) Her parents didn't bother to teach her the difference between fact and fiction. A ten year old should definitely know that difference. She got that lesson several years way too late. Now, she has to play catch up in this area which is not fair to her. I wonder how this has affected her emotionally. I'd be willing to bet that she's at least a tiny bit stunted in that area, too. It's a really good thing she has grandparents to help her! But how many kids are out there in the exact same situation who don't have intelligent adults around them to help? That is a truly scary thought, in deed!!!

Bottom line is kids MUST be taught the difference between fact and fiction and at a much earlier age than ten years old. Otherwise, we will continue to see the trend we are seeing and there will be no one equipped to lead the country into the future within the realms of reality. In addition to which, how will these untaught kids raise their own kids? I shudder to think................................

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Are video games really the problem or failure to parent?

For those parents who think these games are the problem, I would recommend you try them. I play Black Ops, Call of Duty, etc with my son as well as others around the world and I would have loved to have these games when I was a kid. I am 47, my son is 14. He is an honor student, works and plays sports and goes to church. If a kid is sitting playing games non-stop and not doing anything else, then it sounds like a parenting issue rather than a video game issue. I'm sure there are some pretty stupid and wild games and my son is not allowed to play those but I think he and I appreciate the friendships we've made all over more than anything. It's time to really figure out what the real problem is because I think the real issue at hand is being missed and blame is being handed out where it is not deserved.

Sign me a happy PS3/Black Ops dad.

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Children early years begin at home before primary school. The parents set the examples. If the parents smoke, can not cook, drink, TV and radio always on, do not read, rude, give little guidance, it sets a bad example for lifestyle choices. Gun owners think they can shoot their problems. Video games can reinforce this attitude as they may have little other problem solving tools. The stereotype of a gamer is either a nerd or a chunky kid whose only exercise is to the fridge, smartphone, or toilet. Hours of gaming.....

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Partial analysis

Three things are contributing IMO, Games, Legal Drugs for kids, and Lack of Parental mentoring. As a child of the sixties, I knew that the difference between John Wayne using a gun with blanks in a movie and a real person using a real gun, my parents taught me.

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Keeping Violent Video Games from Children

My first thought was that parents should be responsible, but then on second thought I thought that parents come in all kinds of abilities and ideologies.

So I picked government as this would be a thoughtful decision on what was allowed and what not for children at appropriate ages.

My personal thought is that violent video games are a throw back to the Roman games. This is entertainment that we do not need.

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The Blame Game
-- Parents: Contrary to what the government would like everyone to believe, PARENTS are RESPONSIBLE for the children the put on this earth. Parents are responsible for teaching right from wrong, fact from fiction, and self-control at an early age (long before a kid reaches ten years old). Without being taught, kids have absolutely no way of knowing about these things. Without this foundation, kids will grow up to be what we are seeing today. It's the parents who are ultimately responsible for their children's behavior. PERIOD.

But the buck does not stop there.....

-- Vendors/retailers:
How a product is presented to the public [of all ages] does make a difference. Advertisers should be included in this category, too. All of these entities should be reined back the same way that the cigarette and alcohol trade has been.

-- Game developers share in the responsibility, as well. They need to start using true imagination and stop churning out ever more anti-social "games". They need to understand that just because something can be done, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is a good idea.

-- Federal/local government: While the gov has more power than it should have these days, due to the failures in the above three areas, it is in the unfortunate position of having to pick up the pieces. New laws will eventually come from this. But these laws should go no further than treating violent video games the exact same way as tobacco products and alcohol with the same penalties.

-- Others: Like the gov schools are in the position of having to pick up where parents and others neglect. The difference between fact and fiction needs to be included in the curriculum of all early schools with appropriateness applied to the ages of students. But that would require that TRUE history be taught rather than half or non truths and/or propaganda.

My point is that there is in reality/fact that there is no one place to aim the Blame Game. To do so is nothing but fiction.
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Lee, I agree with you, it is the parents' fault.

While video games are relatively new, the issue of parental involvement is not. And to me, it comes back to knowing other people in the area. I was very lucky to have grown up in a small, rural town (I didn't think that way then of course) where most of the adults knew each other and they all looked out for everybody's kids. It sure made it hard to have fun sometimes, but at the same time, if trouble developed, an adult or two were soon at hand. And any punishment started right there on the spot, to be continued when you got home. And you tried your hardest to get home before the phone call came! As slow as we might think party lines with crank telephones and all calls having to go through the operator above the Post Office is today, I think more real communication happened on those old lines than happens on most of the cell phones today.
Sometime in the middle 1960's, we started to lose that communication with people around us. As the loss of communication continues to grow, we are now seeing some of the results surface. Parents have isolated themselves from other parents, so when a trend starts among the youth, nobody is aware of it until something, usually bad, happens involving their kids. Everybody is looking for an easy something to blame for this mess we are in. To that I say, take a long, close look in the nearest mirror!
Ask yourself some questions like, "what is my next door neighbor's name?", "what does(did) he/she do for a living?", "how old are their children?", "what do they think of this latest weather?". If you don't know the answer to any questions like these, FIND OUT. In other words, get to know the people who live around you. If we all were to do this, I firmly believe that a whole lot of the troubles we are facing will evaporate.

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Work with them

I have worked in residential juvenile facility for 15 years. #1 problem parents - no, absolutely no discipline!! #2 industry - money is their one and only goal!! Get ready for more headline grabber to be set lose on and in our society.

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Blame the Parents - And about time too!

Let's face it. Most violent games are purchased for kids by adults/parents and invariabley because they have no idea how much violence is in these games. Apart from the sounds of screaming , blood curdling death gargles and the occassional gib shot brain splatter noise with consequential spray, it keeps the kids quiet all day! All you have to do is hand them in a plate of beas on toast and a glass of soda and the day remains free from the cries of, "Can I have money for that?", "Can we go there?" or my personal favourite, "Pocket Money?" These are questions which go up in price every year. Pay fourty quid once and it keeps em quiet for months. AAAahhh... Silence is Bliuss!!!

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I am surprised by the numbers on this poll.I wished CENTS demographics represented more of this country.I believe that you can not change hearts with laws.The only acceptable means of censorship is boycotting.IF YOU DON'T LIKE SOMETHING DON'T BUY IT. Devil

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First and foremost-Parents

The responsibility for a child's physical and emotional development is, and will always be, the Parents. They are the 'First Line of Defense', charged with preparing their child to be able to face the sometime's harsh realities of the adult world. Activities that I was able to do as a child can not even be contemplated in the dangerous world of today in many areas. Playing video games is first escapism, which allows stress relief and relaxation but also helps to develop mental requirements like hand-and-eye coordination, memory skills, critical task analysis. Tools every child needs to hone to succeed in just about any future adult endeavor. I did a lot of this as a child by playing outside with friends exploring woods and building forts from tree branches and pine-straw, riding bicycles across town on a nice day. Emulating war-games (yes..playing Army) by using sticks for guns and dirt-clods for grenades... Or playing 'Cops and Robbers',why? Because the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines and Police of that day were our 'Heroes', fighting evil and injustice at home and abroad to protect us all.
MOST Children of today cannot do these simple things. Children are preyed upon, kidnapped and violated by evil, perverted animals EVERY DAY within sight of their OWN homes! So... They can't go out or go far if they do, and they cluster at friend's homes or theirs and wander and explore and compete with each other through virtual worlds because the violence in those worlds cannot hurt them. The are forced to live in this way because we, as parents and Society are unwilling to take the measures needed to identify and remove the animals in our society. These animals have far more 'rights' than they ever afford their victims.
Violence in video games? Too broad a stroke- Defending against and eliminating hordes of Monsters and Alien beings-OK. Chasing down people with cars or virtual participation in beating a human to death or blowing them apart with various weapons is something to be age-controlled and evaluated individually by Parents who then regulate, restrict or outright ban, according to THEIR decision. Not anyone elses'

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A broader perspective is needed to judge best response

Lee Koo, thank you for inviting a discussion about video games and violence. Your comments, that I have quoted below, are germane to an even broader discussion of society, the actions of individuals sharing the space on the planet with each other, and responsibilities. While I do not necessarily think your expressed views are "wrong" (in fact they are spot on in my opinion), I think they are "incomplete" with regards to the real world choices, consequences and responsibilities of individuals. You wrote:

"I ultimately hold the parents responsible for what their children are exposed to. I think it is our role as parents to monitor our children's play, and it is also our duty to educate our kids on the differences between games and reality, in case they are exposed to these violent games beyond our supervision."

In the real world that we live in and go about our business every day, each of us makes daily decisions that have consequences for ourselves and frequently for others. We do not live in an idealized world in which all children are given perfect upbringings by parents. Huge numbers of children are not even reared by their parents or a parent, and of those who are, many are raised by parents with woefully inadequate skills or discipline to turn out healthy well-rounded children. That is a fact of the real world. The "nanny state" canard gets bandied about whenever some people want rules and regulation to protect themselves from the consequence of the bad behaviors of others. That is the foundation for most rules of society (the exception being that some rules are created for ill-intent and not societal good).

Whenever folks claiming libertarian or conservative perspectives start complaining about the "nanny state" and government intrusion, their arguments almost always exist in this incomplete view of the real world. In the real world nobody always makes perfect decisions that do the most good and harm the fewest. The disregard for the harmful consequences of everyday life choices of individuals doing their own thing, going their own way, living life the way they want, and all the other libertarian idealist phrases that get bandied about are what I mean by stating that your view is "incomplete".

I will leave it up to trained professionals to debate the degrees to which violent images and action influence the behaviors of those without the personal traits that protect the majority from turning into violent serial killers or psychopaths. Just from anecdotal evidence of observing the actions of small children who have been watching violent cartoons or playing video games I think there is some influence on undesired behaviors. What is important, and I appreciate that you shared your opinion, is that going forward people in our society need to have a bigger and more realistic view of the circumstances in which other people are living and developing. The "nanny state", meaning our elected, assigned or defacto public policy makers, can offer interventions and rules that protect you and me from people who will make decisions that harm us.

The arguments and discussions (like this one) need to be made about the degrees of intervention, costs versus benefits, and ultimately value decisions about giving up one freedom to be free to do another. Because we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people we will never all be satisfied. But, it would be a great thing indeed if we eliminated the romantic libertarian notion that every individual ought to be free to live however he or she chooses - and do this in a vacuum of ignorant bliss about the consequences to others.

To bluntly sum how this relates to your question: reality is that many children will not be raised as you claim you think they ought to be raised, and if this lack of parenting results in violent behaviors that harm you or your loved ones, what if anything are we fellow citizens to do to protect us from being harmed by them? Access to violent video games likely CONTRIBUTES to, but it is obviously not the sole or even major cause of violent behavior as the sensationalist attention seeking CNET headline incorrectly implies was the opinion of 58% or the respondents. (bogus headlines is another story you should address in your forums!).

This is the discussion that should be had about EVERY rule or law we impose on others. And frequently there will not be tidy resolutions or agreement about the merits, but making the effort is what civilization is all about.


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Imperfect world
by netsiu / February 27, 2013 10:54 PM PST

You start off with your speal ok but end with wanting what you indicated at first was wrong.

The problem with this imperfect world is as you stated o many laws trying to rule this and that tiny crack that somebody has stirred up enough people to pressure our lawmakers (who I believe do not really care) to pass such laws.
I would like to see a repeal of all but the minimum of laws that say your liberty ends at the tip of my nose.

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violent video games and parents

Leaving it to the government would only help parents by reinforcing this issue. Look at what is going on in the world how can parents do this alone. These violent games should be banned completely. Look at the values we have today, it's ok to view violence and the nasty things humans do to one another, but don't mention God or His values for fear of hurting someone's feelings and rights. The bible says; John 4:8 "He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love," wow, what a concept, love one another, not kill and mutilate one another. Or how about; 1 John 5:19; " We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one," Maybe that's why the increase in crime, war, murders, drugs, etc. are on the increase in all the world, just maybe the bible does have it correct.

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Teach your children to be critics and not consumers of media

Yes, it's the parents responsibility, but not in the "keep everything 'dangerous' away from the kiddos" way. Because either they will just play/watch/listen to it at a friend's house where you don't have control, or eventually they will grow up and GORGE on all the things you said was "bad" for them. You can't HIDE your kids from media. You have to teach your kids how not be consumers of media, but critics.

Good values based on a strong belief system can trump the influences of bad media. But you have to explain the WHY of what is "bad", not just label it. It has to come from something more than just a rule-based way of living your life. Because people instinctively want to break the rules. But holding to something that drives your life that changes how you think about the world will keep you from consuming (internalizing) "bad" things because you simply see them as pointless and worthless. You can find the valuable things in even the "worst" media because you have a view of the world that throws away the worthless but finds the noble things in everything about life. When you view life this way, no matter what comes your way, it won't change how you THINK about things, because you are grounded in something bigger than all this.

My kids play fairly violent games (Halo series, Call of Duty series, Skyrim), but they know the difference between a game and real life. They know life is precious - all life - and in real life they fight to protect all life from harm. They know there is no reset button or "checkpoints" in life, and that it only takes ONE "hit" to ruin someone for life. They hear the bad language in games, but they dislike it not because mom and dad say it's "bad", but because it simply serves no purpose and is annoying to listen to over and over again. Sometimes they will play with the sound off just to avoid hearing it (THEIR idea). They will "play the bad guy" in role-playing games, but they understand it's just fantasy - they would never even consider doing anything to damage or steal someone else's property or hurt them in real life. They don't learn their values from media, they FILTER media with values they have already had written on their hearts. I'm not saying they are perfect or they will never stumble, but they are headed in the right direction in regards to the media and the influence it wants over us.

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1) Each and every bit of children their parents should be responsible for.
Children are not yet ready for the world. So parents are the most important ones who should show them path.

2) Video games come with maturity levels printed on it's case. Sometimes parents don't even bother to check that.

3) No video game can be solely responsible for some sort of mental illness(Which includes unsocializing, violent acts, hopeless behaviors).
There must be improper guidance of a unprepared mind or ignorance or expose to abuse or there are endless ors.
Just because violence is exposed to us we don't become violent, because we have become matured through proper way of guidance and we do own such resistance for such stuff.
Proper education and culture has already been injected in our veins so that we can decide amongst good or bad.
Who holds the responsibility of doing so when we are immature(when a child), obviously the parents.

4) Recent(Not much recent though) researches have shown that video games increase mind flexibility, physical analytical skills and ready wit.
For those who are blaming games, there are adult(Mentally) novels, but we don't give them to children because they are not ready for it.
We give them only those books which are suitable. I guess you can relate what I'm trying to state.

5) I'm quoting someone others comment here:
"I doubt that majority of people who are involved in violent crime have a lifestyle background of sitting on a PC playing games. They're far more likely to be outside hanging around in gangs."
- Luhng - 2/26/13 8:09 PM

6) Those parents who cannot give proper guidance and time to their children thus making their children exposed to improper things (which include Video games) are actually still the unprepared minds who are incapable of controlling their children and blame it on others.

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