Thursday, February 23, 2012

In The News: California Spends $1.8 Million Fighting Violent Games

As it turns out, going against the freedom of speech can have a pretty hefty price tag.  For those of you who are unaware, California put a law in place back in 2005 preventing the sale of "violent" video games to minors.  Since then, a legal battle has been raging over whether or not the law is constitutional from a First Amendment perspective.  After being rejected by a number of lower courts, the law came before the Supreme Court last year.  In the end, it was struck down by the highest court in the land.

All in all, this fight cost California (a state reeling from severe debt) $1.8 million dollars from the coffers.  Money well spend?  Those who put forth the law obviously think so, even though they received legal counsel from the very beginning that the law would not make it through challenges. 

The whole fiasco was done, of course, in the name of "protecting the children."  Parents obviously cannot be trusted to keep track of their childrens' purchases, so the state needs to step in and do it for them.  Undoubtedly, this is quite an insult to the parents of California and indeed the rest of the country.

Any attempt at censorship is a direct threat to the freedom of information

Speaking of protecting the children, I wonder how many starving children around the world could have been fed with the nearly two million dollars the state of California spend on this crusade.  Who was protecting them?  Certainly not this law.

For the most part, the jury is still out on the effects of violent video games on those that consume them.  Certainly, no clear link has been established between playing violent video games and becoming agressive (Kie Zin Teng, 2011).  Because of this, putting so much importance on regulating violent video games is premature at best.  The money could certainly be spent in better places.

Source:  The Escapist

Other Citations:
Kie Zin Teng, Scott, Yew Mun Chong, Gabriel, Sok Cheng Siew, Amy, Skoric, Marko M.  "Grand Theft Auto Comes to Singapore:  Effects of Repeated Exposure to Violent Video Games on Agression."  Cyberphsycology, Behavior, and Social Networking 14.10 (2011): 597-602. Print.

Images from Google and Phoenix Wright

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