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Video games and the Constitutional rights of minors

 
 
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 07:01 am
Quote:
WASHINGTON (AP) — States cannot ban the sale or rental of ultraviolent video games to children, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting such limits as a violation of young people's First Amendment rights and leaving it up to parents and the multibillion-dollar gaming industry to decide what kids can buy.

The high court, on a 7-2 vote, threw out California's 2005 law covering games sold or rented to those under 18, calling it an unconstitutional violation of free-speech rights. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia, said, "Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply."


http://beta.news.yahoo.com/cant-ban-violent-video-sales-kids-court-says-202249732.html

I agree with this decision and I don't buy the argument that this creates "a constitutionally authorized "end-run on parental authority" but I don't really get why video games are seen in a different light than a ticket to an R-rated movie or a porn magazine, both of which are legal products.

Why are video games protected by the 1st Amendment but the others not?
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 07:13 am
I'd suggest that violence is tolerated but sexual content is not.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 07:31 am
@Setanta,
You're probably right.

But the R rating is given to both violent and sexy films. If they were to start rating them, say, R-V and R-S do you (the "royal you", not you, Setanta) think one would be deemed acceptable for minors and the other not?
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  0  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:06 am
@boomerang,
Great... In the name of freedom of speech we will create a generation who can conceive of violence, but cannot imagine going to work... Here comes the revolution, if we can just get it off their collective asses...
PhoebeKate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:12 am
@boomerang,
It is possible that because video games have wider distributorship. Still, it boils down to parental control.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:13 am
@Fido,
Uhhhh..... today's kids didn't invent violence.

Video games are made by adults who get up every morning and go to their job of making video games.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:15 am
@PhoebeKate,
Agreed. That's why I'm not falling for the "end run around parental authority" argument. Parents still have the right to say "I'm not buying that for you".
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:27 am
I don't see why there need be a revision of the motion picture rating system. There is a video game rating system in place. I've seen the ESRB ratings on games for years.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:31 am
@Setanta,
I'm not suggesting there should be. I was just wondering is there would be more tolerance to R-violence than to R-sex.

I always question the people at the video game store as to why certain games get certain ratings. I can't believe how much they know. They have always steered me right in regards to games that I might find objectionable for Mo.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:45 am
@boomerang,
I'll bet those store employees are gamers. So, for example, if you were purchasing an RPG (roll playing game) for Mo, i could tell you that the Baldur's Gate series has a lot of adult content, and that Sacred has a good deal of salacious content, but that Icewind Dale (by the same people who made Baldur's Gate) has no sexual or salacious content, nor has Dungeon Siege. So my guess is that these boys are sufficiently famliar with the games to steer you right.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 08:54 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I agree with this decision and I don't buy the argument that this creates "a constitutionally authorized "end-run on parental authority" but I don't really get why video games are seen in a different light than a ticket to an R-rated movie or a porn magazine, both of which are legal products.

Why are video games protected by the 1st Amendment but the others not?

The others are. Motion picture ratings aren't government ratings and they aren't enforced by the government. In fact, they're not even enforced by the group that puts out the ratings, they're enforced by movie theater owners and, indirectly, by media outlets that refuse to accept advertising for movies that are either unrated or have an "adults-only" rating (formerly X, currently NC-17). The video game industry has adopted a similar rating system for games -- again, that's not a government action, that's something that is enforced by retailers.

As I understand it, Justice Scalia said that the government can't regulate violent content the same way that it regulates obscenity. Obscenity is bad, Scalia reasoned, but violence can be good. It's in Dante's Inferno, fer cryin' out loud. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito would have struck down the law for vagueness, holding out the possibility that a better-drafted law could withstand constitutional scrutiny. Justice Thomas, in dissent, essentially said that no child has any rights that an adult is bound to respect. Justice Breyer's dissent pointed out that the court should leave legislating to the legislature, which is usually Scalia's line (except when he doesn't like what the legislature did, as in this case).
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 10:14 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I'm not suggesting there should be. I was just wondering is there would be more tolerance to R-violence than to R-sex.

In addition to what joefromchicago just said:

The last time I looked at this issue was when I read the briefs for the case of US vs. Stevens, in which the Supreme Court struck down a ban on animal-cruelty videos. As I understand the case law discussed in those briefs, the Supreme Court is very reluctant to add any more categorical exceptions to free-speech rights. But the exceptions that were already in place about 50 years ago, when the Supreme Court started taking a stronger stand on free speech, remain grandfathered in. As it happens, pornography is one of those historical exceptions, but depictions of violence are not.

Hence, I think the current state of affairs has more to do with historical accident than with any substantive reason for preferring violence over porn. The Supreme Court may have upheld state prohibitions on distributing pornography to minors---video games or movie tickets.

I hope joefromchicago won't be too shy to correct me if I'm wrong.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 11:54 am
@joefromchicago,
A commentary in today's paper said that the law was really a "curb on commerce", not a ban of the games. Off the top of my head I can think of some other legal things that kids can't buy: air soft guns and pellets, and spray paint. Are those also vague laws that curb commerce?

I guess I'm just trying to figure out how this became a 1st amendment issue.

Is curbing commerce a 1st A issue?

Quote:
no child has any rights that an adult is bound to respect


This sounds completely crazy to me. I'm still thinking on it......
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 11:58 am
@Thomas,
That makes sense.

If memory serves there have been a lot of challenges to pornography laws over the years. I wonder why the law is so inflexible there.....
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 01:25 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Uhhhh..... today's kids didn't invent violence.

Video games are made by adults who get up every morning and go to their job of making video games.
I am not blaiming the kids... It is the right of speech sold to those who profit on it that I don't like... We learn so early to be numb to pain as we have to simply to survive in this world... We do not need anyone teaching children to take pleasure in it... What ever it is on television, or in a video game, it is not nearly so terrible as the real thing, but kids should be taught that; That from the real thing there is no reset... Take out your frustrations and pain on some one and you may be looking at the end of your life as a quasi free person.. Which is saying nothing of the damage you might do to others... We need a world that is safe to be sensitive in... How does this supreme court ruling get us there???... I don't believe law is the answer to every social problem, but there are laws preventing the sale and advertizing of cigarettes to minors... Violence is so much worse a problem than the ones smoke subjects society to...
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 01:31 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
This sounds completely crazy to me. I'm still thinking on it......

Read this while you're cogitating.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 02:03 pm
@joefromchicago,
<sputter....sputter>

Justice Thomas is obviously strange. What century is he living in?

Quote:
The speech aspects of this case are interesting, yes, but not half as interesting as the debate over the rights of children versus parents versus the state.


I so completely agree.

Thank you for that link. The comments were especially interesting.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 02:08 pm
@Fido,
I have never learned to be numbed to pain.

I don't think TV, video games, movies, music or any other form of entertainment teach children that delivering pain is a pleasure.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 02:39 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Justice Thomas is obviously strange. What century is he living in?

Certainly a century in which the Ninth Amendment hadn't been ratified yet. Clarence Thomas's entire argument can be summed up as observing that the US constitution doesn't enumerate a right of minors to speak or be spoken to, and construing that to deny and disparage the notion that such a right exists. Clarence Thomas's opinion embarrasses me as a fellow Thomas. Not for the first time, I might add.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 05:08 pm
@Thomas,
Ha! You're the reason that I specified Justice Thomas. He's a strange bird; you're a cool cat.
0 Replies
 
 

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