Violent Video Games and Minors

The Issuevideogame_smoking

In today's video game world, children can "role-play" as murderers, cop-killers, gang members, auto thiefs or any number of human-like characters carrying out mind-altering tasks with realistic graphics. These games reward killing and encourage violent criminal conduct. Under current laws, retailers are not obligated to impose restrictions on the sale of video games to minors. Currently, a ten-year-old can purchase an Adult Only (AO rated) video game.

Allowing higher rated video games to only be sold to adults will have no affect on the ability for this industry to pursue its profit and its "art" amongst adult consumers. When graphic sex, extreme violence, and the glamorization and codification of disrespect for the most basic of norms that make up human decency are involved in a product that children can use and learn from, parents need to be a part of the decision making process. In the face of scientific proof that there is potential for irrevocable damage when children play violent video games, as a society we would be grossly derelict to not enforce the standards that the video game industry itself has said are prudent and necessary.

The PTC urges lawmakers to support legislation that enforces the ESRB ratings guides for purchase of games backed by financial penalties for those who do not follow the law.

Research Studies

For more than fifty years, social scientists have insisted that exposure to violent media products leads to aggressive behavior in children. the US military agrees, and uses simulators that are similar to first-person shooter video games to desensitize soldiers to violence and mentally prepare them to kill. (See Studies)

PTC Involvement with the Video Game Industry

PTC has a long history of involvement with the video game industry (See timeline)  

Previous News

On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court upended the California law that would hold video game retailers accountable for selling or renting adult games to unaccompanied minor children. The PTC denounced the ruling in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, but pledged to continue holding irresponsible video game retailers publicly accountable.

State Sen. Leland Yee says gory games are particularly harmful to children and the purchase of them should be restricted to adults, just like pornography.

PTC Urges Supreme Court to Empower Parents and Protect Children by Upholding California Violent Video Game Law

The Parents Television Council™ praised the U.S. Supreme Court for taking on violent video games and urged the Court to uphold a California law that was designed simply to provide meaningful consequences for retailers who rent and sell violent games to underage kids.

Study: Violent Video Game Play Makes More Aggressive Kids

Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson has made much of his life's work studying how violent video game play affects youth behavior. And he says a new study he led, analyzing 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects worldwide, proves conclusively that exposure to violent video games makes more aggressive, less caring kids -- regardless of their age, sex or culture.

PTC Calls on Rhode Island Legislature to Pass Bill to Prevent Adult Video Games from Being Sold to Minors

The Parents Television Council™ urged the Rhode Island legislature to pass legislation (S. 2156) to prevent retailers from selling or renting M-rated or AO-rated adult video games to minors in the state.  

PTC to Target: Stop Selling Video Games, DVDs with Adult Content to Minors

At the Target Corporation annual shareholders meeting in Waukesha, Wis., the Parents Television Council™ called the company out for selling M-rated video games and unrated DVDs to minors. During a secret shopper campaign, PTC found that underage children could purchase M-rated video games from Target 41% of the time. PTC called on the company to take necessary steps to address the problem which is of great concern to parents.

PTC Applauds Appeal of Ruling Overturning CA Adult Video Game Law

The Parents Television Council™ applauds the State of California’s decision to appeal the Ninth Circuit Federal Court ruling that struck down a California law designed to prevent the sale of adult video games to minors to the U.S. Supreme Court.

PTC Calls for Appeal of 9th Circuit Court Ruling Overturning CA Violent Video Game Law

In response to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court ruling that struck down a California law designed to prevent the sale of adult video games to minors, the Parents Television Council™ has called on its members to voice their support for CA State Sen. Leland Yee’s call for the decision to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Sad Reminder of the Influence of Video Games  by Rod Gustafson

Here in Canada where I live, a story began unfolding on Canada's Thanksgiving Day weekend on October 12, 2008.

In the province of Ontario, 15-year-old Brandon Crisp was handed the ultimate judgment from his frustrated and loving father when his treasured Xbox was taken away. It seems Brandon had become totally immersed in playing a particular game --Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare -- during which he interacted with other on-line players over the Internet.

PTC Finds Video Game Retailers Fail to Check Minors’ IDs

Secret Shopper Campaign Reveals Need for Video Game Legislation Introduced Today in Congress

The Parents Television Council released the results of its Secret Shopper Campaign, which revealed that video game retailers sold Mature-rated video games to minors 36% of the time, a higher percentage than was reported in May 2008 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)*. The campaign results show the need for video game legislation that will hold retailers accountable like the bill introduced today by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Click here to read the full results.

Families Back On Video Game Radar by Rod Gustafson

The Nintendo Wii has become a sort of modern day David and Goliath adventure. Nintendo, with its aging GameCube system, was being overshadowed by glitzier offerings from Sony and Microsoft when they respectively introduced their PlayStation II and Xbox units. A few years passed, and Nintendo made the choice to forgo more pixels and faster computer chips in exchange for a sleek new design and a commitment to a whole new way of controlling a video game. They also had a stable of family-oriented characters to draw upon in creating new titles.

The outcome has written a new page in marketing history, as the struggling company has found itself firmly back in the "game," so to speak. The challenge has also sparked a litany of news stories showcasing Wii-love-fests with images of typically non-gaming demographics, like senior citizens, waving around Wii controllers and lobbing virtual tennis balls.

PTC Commends Responsible Video Game Retailers

Progress Is Good, But Too Many Still Fail to Help Keep Mature Games from Kids

The Parents Television Council commended the select few video game retailers who have gone above and beyond the “retailer accountability” suggestions outlined by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to keep video games that are created for mature and adult audiences out of the hands of kids. However, following the release of an undercover shopper report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), PTC contends the status quo is still unacceptable.

PTC Applauds Video Game Bill Requiring Increased Accountability for Adult Game Sales

The Parents Television Council praised the leadership of Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) and their commitment to increased retailer accountability for adult video game sales. At a news conference today, the Congressmen unveiled a bipartisan bill that would require retailers to check identification for all customers wishing to purchase a video game rated M for “Mature” or AO for “Adults-Only.”

Video Game Industry Seeks to Buy Influence in Congress

PTC Warns Congress to Put Families First, Not Industry’s Interests
“The video game industry continues to fight meaningful accountability for selling inappropriate material to children. the industry has been exposed repeatedly for its reprehensible behavior and now they are looking for ways to buy friends in the government,” said PTC President Tim Winter. 

Scientists explore how violent video games are exemplary aggression teachers

Like other fathers and sons, Douglas Gentile and his father have spent many hours arguing about video games. What makes them different is that Douglas, an Iowa State University assistant professor of psychology, is one of the country's top researchers on the effects of media on children. His father, J. Ronald Gentile, is a leading researcher on effective teaching and a distinguished teaching professor emeritus of educational psychology at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.

PTC Asks ESRB President to Reinstate Manhunt 2's Original AO Rating

Additional ESRB Action Urged Against Game Publisher Rockstar Games
The Parents television Council called on Entertainment Software Rating Board President Patricia Vance to take immediate action in response to the news that Rockstar Games allegedly did not remove explicit content from its new video game, Manhunt 2. the PTC asked that the ESRB give the game its originally issued “Adults Only” rating at least until the ESRB can investigate. more

PTC Denounces “Manhunt 2” Rating Reduction

Group Calls on ESRB to Explain Why the New Videogame Received a Softer Rating in U.S.
The Parents television Council called on the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to explain to parents why the new explicitly violent videogame, “Manhunt 2,” was given a softer Mature (M) rating and not the original Adults Only (AO) rating.

PTC Applauds Gov. Schwarzenegger for Appealing Violent Video Game Ruling

State Measure to Prohibit Sale of Graphic Games to Children Helps Parents
The Parents television Council, together with its six California grassroots chapters, applauded California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for appealing District Judge Ronald Whyte’s ruling that overturned the popular violent video game legislation.

Risky behavior in video games could lead to dangerous driving -ABC News

The more competitive and adventurous your video game driving skills are, the more likely you are to be in an accident on the real-life road.

This according to a two-part study from Germany, which found that those who engage in risky behavior when playing virtual racing games carry that behavior onto the road, and are at greater risk for accidents and traffic violations.

The research followed men who played either a typical racing game, or a neutral game. those who played the competitive racing games relied on breaking traffic rules to win -- such as driving on the sidewalk, speeding or crashing into other cars.

These men subsequently reported experiencing feelings of aggression that were triggered when on the road behind a real car.

While this is the first study to examine the effects of racing games, experts say the findings support what is already known about gaming.

"Video games can affect behavior," says Jeanne Funk, professor of psychology at the University of Toledo, Ohio. "It's not a benign activity."

No more violent video game ads, RTDD - Rocky Mountain News

Every parent has done it. Diverted their child's attention while passing that new toy or hoping they don't look up and see the ad for something they might want but that you're unwilling to buy for them. Advertising is powerful, especially when viewed by the most impressionable members of our society, our youth. more

Secret Shopper News in Evansville, Indiana

Evansville, Indiana Channel 25 did a secret shopper visit to some local stores to see who would sell adult video games to minors

"We asked Trevor Kellen (14) to go shopping to see what he could buy.

Kellen went into EB Games on Evansville's East side. When he walks up to the counter to buy a mature audience game, the clerk won't let him purchase it without an ID. this wasn't the case everywhere.

Kellen then went into McVann's Video Games in Evansville and within minutes, he walks out with a game store's shouldn't have sold him. " 

PTC and CCFC to Denver RTD: Stop Advertising M-Rated Video Games

Publicly owned buses and trains promote violence to young riders
The Parents Television Council and the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood, on behalf of a coalition of parents, child advocacy groups, pediatricians and mental health researchers, have called on the Regional transportation District (RTD) to stop advertising video games rated "Mature" or "Adults Only." Last fall, ads for the notoriously violent M-rated Grand theft Auto: Vice City Stories (Rockstar Games, 2006) were featured on RTD trains. the organizations asked the RTD to amend their advertising policy at the RTD monthly board meeting on February 20, 2007.

Complaints lead RTD to review ad policy - Denver Post

PTC Calls on Indiana State Senate to Pass Violent Video Games Bill

The Parents television Council is calling on the Indiana State Senate to pass the bill that would prevent video game retailers from selling Mature (M rated) or Adult Only (AO rated) video games to minors. the Indiana Senate technology Committee passed the legislation, and the next step is for the Senate to vote on the bill. more

PTC Praises Sen. Sam Brownback for Reintroducing Video Game Rating Bill
The Parents television Council praised Senator Sam Brownback for reintroducing the truth in Video Game Rating Act (S. 568) that would help correct the current video game ratings system. more

December 2006- the MBTA will no longer display advertisements for video games that are meant for adults after a citizens group complained about posters for a game that encourages players to steal, murder and have sex with prostitutes, a top official said Tuesday.

November 2006 - Constitutional concerns notwithstanding, a legislative committee on Wednesday, November 15 approved a measure that would prevent Utah youth from accessing violent video games. 

April 2006 - A Michigan Law requiring parental consent for children to purchase violent video games has been struck down by a Federal Court. they will appeal.

February 2006 - Kansas becomes the seventh state to introduce legislation in 2006. the fact that this many states are introducing legislation when every court ruling to date has ruled against similar legislation seems to indicate a deep and abiding concern over violent games among the voting public.

December 2005 - the senate (Clinton, Lieberman, and Bayh) introduced a bill making it illegal to rent or sell a Mature or Adults-Only Rated game to a minor.