Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Judge Blocks State Video Game Ban

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Sorry, but this counts as a rant! I am so annoyed that a judge has decided that the law authored by Senator Leland Yee from San Francisco to keep youth from buying the most violent video games is unconstitutional! Can you believe that?

The Palo Alto Daily reported August 7, 2007 that U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte blocked a new state law that would have prohibited the sale of violent video games to children. The law, which was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, prohibits the sale or rental of violent games to anyone under the age of 18 and requires these games be clearly labeled.

Apparently this federal judge found that the law was unconstitutional when it was challenged by the video game industry claiming that the law violated their First Amendment rights to free expression. His 17-page ruling apparently agrees with the industry arguments and states that the law's proponents failed to show a concrete link between video game violence and children's behavior, or that the violence in games was any more damaging than the violence found in television, movies or on the Internet. He supported his ruling by saying that games are already labeled to warn parents.

Yes, in fact, they are labeled, but there is also a recent Federal Trade Commission study suggesting that the rating system was not effective and minors frequently purchase mature-rated games designed for adults. In fact, I challenge the idea that parents can be held responsible for knowing everything they need to about video games. In fact, I believe that most parents have never played the games, do not understand the rating system, and do not know the ratings on the video games their children are playing. Parents, beware!

Photo Credit: justin

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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