72% of adults support violent-game ban for minors - Poll

Zogby survey of 2,100 adults find nearly three-quarters favor law forbidding sale of "ultraviolent or sexually violent" games to children; full 75% disapprove of industry's handling.

The US Supreme Court won't start hearing arguments over California's law banning game sales to minors until November 2. However, the ruling in the court of popular opinion is already in, according to a new poll.

This week, parent watchdog group Common Sense Media released the results of a survey it commissioned on children's access to violent games. Conducted by polling firm Zogby International, the survey asked 2,100 adults whether they would support a law that "prohibits minors from purchasing ultraviolent or sexually violent video games without parental consent." Of those surveyed, some 72 percent said they would approve such a law.

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Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer, whose nonprofit organization is lobbying for game-restriction legislation in many states, hailed the poll's findings. "We hope the [state] attorneys general will take a look at these poll results and that they'll side with families over protecting the profits of the video game industry."

Zogby also asked those parents that were polled some more general questions about violent video games and their children. Some 65 percent said they were "concerned about the impact of ultraviolent video games on their kids." A full 75 percent of parents would give the game industry as a whole a "negative rating when it comes to how they protect kids from violent video games." Over half of both adults and parents would rate the industry's efforts as "poorly" in the latter matter.

The studies come just weeks before the US Supreme Court will begin a process that could decide once and for all the question of whether states can restrict sales of violent games to minors. At issue in the case is California Assembly Bill 1179, which was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 but challenged in court before it could take effect.

Penned by California state assemblyman Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), CAB1179 sought to ban the sale or rental of "violent video games" to children. A "violent" game was defined as a "game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being." If it becomes law, retailers that sold such games would be subject to a $1,000 fine.

The bill would also have required "violent" video games to bear a 2-inch-by-2-inch sticker with a "solid white '18' outlined in black" on their front covers. That's more than twice the size of the labels that currently adorn game-box covers and display the familiar Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating.

In 2007, a circuit court judge struck down the law as unconstitutional but admitted he was "sympathetic to what the legislature sought to do." Last year, an appellate court judge backed up the original ruling. Months before the appellate court's decision, in an appearance on GameSpot's HotSpot podcast, Yee predicted that the dispute would be pushed to the Supreme Court.

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Discussion

1047 comments
Mawy_Golomb
Mawy_Golomb

Serves this generation right. After all of the destruction that postmodernism has placed upon society as a whole, making games just as "artistically expressive" as movies would only mean an increased focus on legitimizing porn found in games as well as nudity. The sexual revolution has destroyed the very foundations of this country, turning it into a more politically correct, cultural marxist one. We have gone from deeming drugs and sex as inappropriate to an out-of-control attitude, simply because it is all about "freedom." And this is coming from a millenial generation person, who is tired of seeing all the negative, nihilist influences that are inherent in today's society. America is no longer as democratic as it used it to be. Socialism and fascism, with the help of the Frankfurt School, and of those who found some philosophies of people like Hitler and Mussolini as somewhat helpful, are replacing more and more of what the US Constitution truly wanted for all of us.

Ton77
Ton77

this is pointless.... parents buy the game for their kids to begin with haha our gamestop dont sell to minors to start with

revanknight
revanknight

"-law forbidding sale of ltraviolent or sexually violent games to children." Dont they do that already?

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

"72% of adults support violent-game ban for minors" RETARD ALERT!

gr295
gr295

This ban wouldn't do crap. Little kids don't buy the freakin' games themselves! rarson, you're the best!

rarson
rarson

I guarantee that at least 90% of the kids playing violent games got them from their parents (whether their parents realize it or not). Most game stores I've been in are extremely proactive about not selling to minors.

isshiah
isshiah

yet again the parents blame the industry for their ignorance. make sure you know what your kids are doing instead of blaming outside sources! ratings are there for a reason. don't ignore them and then get upset about your childs activities.

PkGam
PkGam

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rarson
rarson

The bottom line is that making a new law isn't going to do anything to solve this problem since it's caused by the parents in the first place. If 72% of parents think that kids shouldn't be allowed to play violent games, then logic would dictate that 72% of parents aren't buying those games for their kids, but they obviously are.

rarson
rarson

@GryffinDarkBred Hehe, thanks man. @zequex "Yes, technically the tems 'violent' and 'ultraviolent' are subjective but they are not when it comes to a game's ratings." I don't follow. How does having a ratings board making arbitrary judgment calls over a game's content magically make those terms objective? "Out of humble curiosity, is there a law that you DO believe benefits society?" There's probably a few, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. It's not just that laws don't necessarily benefit society, but so many of them aren't even necessary. DUI laws allow cops to arrest people for simply being in their cars, whether they are driving or not. If a person decides to sleep off their buzz in their car, then they are screwed. This actually encourages people to drive when they have been drinking. Had people been allowed to bring guns on planes, 9/11 wouldn't have happened. It's the same reason why mass shootings always occur in "gun-free" zones: because the people in them are sitting ducks. Selling drugs to minors... okay, I'll give this one to you, as I don't see much downside to this. However, does this really need to be a law? I don't think so. I can give you plenty more examples of laws that have had negative consequences, often the opposite of the very effect they were intended to have: the Endangered Species Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.

Lucca202
Lucca202

Ok, let me see if I get it. Parents are buying Mature rated games for their children (because Gamestop and other big retailers don't sell them to minors already) ignoring every effort of the ESRB to prevent that from happening. Then, they leave their kids there, playing Sex Bloodshed 2: Drugs. When they actually remember they have children, they notice that their little spawns have been virtually killing people and watching nude scenes for hours. And they start blaming the industry for not doing the parents' jobs. They want a law that forces retailers to do what they already do, so that, supposedly, parents can go back to ignoring their children and being hypocrites. ...Indeed. So what are they planning to do, if this law gets passed? As I said, the largest retailer chains don't sell M games to minors already, only if they have their parents with them. Kids will just keep getting their games anyways, like they do now, and then someone will have to come up with a law that prohibits minors from playing videogames. So that they can, again, go back to their bad parenting. Wow. Brilliant. Well, this was a pretty long rant, but someone just had to say it. People, remember this: When you get married, either choose to be stupid or have kids. Not both. PS: 2 inch by 2 inch? How about I slap some respect for cover art into you?

zequex
zequex

@rarson Yes, technically the tems "violent" and "ultraviolent" are subjective but they are not when it comes to a game's ratings. The ESRB already decides what is appropriate to be viewed in a game by kids. Out of humble curiosity, is there a law that you DO believe benefits society? Drinking and driving, taking guns on airlines, selling drugs to minors, or are they all just restrictions on personal freedom? @Spacerac I agree with you that gratuitous violence is the same in movies tv and games. But I wouldn't let a 5 year old watch Kill Bill either. :) With that said, I do find that games can (but not always) be more emotionally and psychologically involved because we are engaged with them. This is why so many people on this site have such a strong attachment to certain games that they don't have with movies or TV. I would bet there is a memory you have of playing a game when you felt like you actually accomplished something or felt responsible for something that happened in game.

Spacerac
Spacerac

A lot of people feel that the games being interactive somehow makes it worse. Hell I'm 20 and my mother didn't approve of me playing Wet where a chick shoots a dude point-blank in the head with blood splattering all over her and was more comfortable with me on Ratchet and Clank Future. I asked what's the difference between Wet's violence and the stuff on Kill Bill which is similar and far more violent, and mom says it's because I'm actually doing it. Actually doing what, twiddling my thumbs? It's not ignorance, it's generation gap. People from another time don't understand things from this time. With that said, my mother felt that those 72% of parents are crap at being parents, that it's not the game industry's job to police what children play.

GryffinDarkBred
GryffinDarkBred

@rarson Keep on rocking in the free world and pwning the noobs man. I've read all your comments in the last few pages and you've been speaking serious truth

Vanyelk
Vanyelk

I thought there already were restrictions, wasn't that the point of R rated games? We certainly have been asking for that in Australia for this very purpose. I can't see a problem if it happens, as I thought this was already being done in the US. If worse comes to worse and you're a kid and want to play these get an adult to buy your game for you or buy online. Problem solved. On another note that survey is too general and doesn't ask enough questions. Its like saying is war bad? Everyone will say of course war is bad.

rarson
rarson

Personally, I don't care whether people wear seat belts or not. I think it's perfectly within their right if they so desire to operate a motor vehicle without a seat belt on, and if they wind up flying through the windshield, then so be it. I think people SHOULD be allowed to choose whether to buckle up or not. "So if a law gets passed it will be because those parents did not make the right choices." In the same respect, I don't give a crap whether some parent, knowingly or otherwise, lets their kid play a violent game. I'm not that kid's parent. And I certainly DON'T want the government wasting time and money passing and enforcing legislation that attempts be that kid's parent. Especially not when that legislation seeks to impose restrictions on how I raise MY kid. Not only is it a dumb idea (because it won't work), it's a waste of money and an infringement of personal freedom.

rarson
rarson

@zequex "there is a difference between 'violence' and 'ultra-violence'." Right, but both of those terms are subjective. "laws are not necessary where people are being responsible" I wish that were the case, but it's not. Our government seems to think that it's not doing its job unless it's passing legislation. Not to mention that people now are so used to asking the government to do things for them that their first reaction to a problem or concern is to say "there ought to be a law for that." No, there oughtn't. Laws aren't the only way to fix problems (and in fact, in many cases they only make those problems worse). You know what happened when seat belt laws were put into place? People started driving less carefully. A person wearing a seat belt subconsciously compensates for the reduced risk by driving faster.

rarson
rarson

@seriousplayer_d "A gun NEVER solves problems. It only makes it worse. I refer to the useless war in Iraq" Again, I'll state the obvious: the war in Iraq wasn't caused by guns, it was caused by people in power deciding to invade a sovereign nation. Even if you want to argue that guns enabled the war, the same can be said for voting, paying taxes, and serving in the military (and that would all be true). "with the worst president ever and based on a big lie" I would have to say that in my opinion, the worst president ever was Lincoln, who declared war on his own country, started us down this trend of a federal government exerting power over the states (which also enabled things like the Iraq War to be possible), and got over 625,000 Americans killed, more than WWI, WWII, and the Korean War combined. "If Americans are involved, expect a war." It doesn't surprise me you'd make such sweeping and inaccurate generalizations about Americans, given that you've clearly and repeatedly demonstrated a propensity for failing to see the big picture. Just like you can't possibly see the positive benefits that guns provide, you can't possibly see how Americans could be something other than gun-toting, war-mongering rednecks. By the way, I hear violent crimes in England (where guns are banned) sure are a blast. Kidnappings that last multiple days and what-not just for simple burglary. Oh, and that Sharia law is a real hoot, too.

ElvesOnEcstacy
ElvesOnEcstacy

Well the only way a minor could bypass the age restriction and purchase an adult game is if they actually got their parents or other parental figures to buy it for them. . 72% of hypocrites if you ask me.

gamerfan74
gamerfan74

These parents of America supporting bans are idiots. First off, it's your fault because you bought your kid a video game that he couldn't buy on his own because of already existing age restrictions. If you don't know the ESRB ratings then you should be smart enough to catch a clue when you see a guy with a machine gun and bloody chainsaw on the cover. Here's another idea, pay attention to your kids and realize if they are doing stuff like this. I can promise that at some point, if you are playing Halo or Call of Duty online that you will run into a 7 year old that swears more than any person you have ever run into in your life. This is the parents fault, not the gaming communities, so accept that fact that it's your freakin fault, and stop trying to screw every teenager out there who's responsible or mature enought to be playing these games.

Scourgejoe
Scourgejoe

The article's heading, "72% of adults support violent-game ban for minors" is rather misleading in that it implies that 72% of ALL adults support such a ban. However, with a sample size of only 2,100, and no information as to how the sample population was selected, or whether the questions were neutral or "weighted" toward a desired response, that may be a rather exxagerated claim. I'd be curious to know if Zogby has publicly published their methodology and full poll results...

EliteM0nk3y
EliteM0nk3y

Wait so why don't movies get the same treatment. Video game might be interactive but that is def out weighed by the fact that violent movies are much more violent and children can have a much easier time getting their hands on them. This is just an excuse for people being bad parents.

Scourgejoe
Scourgejoe

Fz1994: "I never cared about violence really...but I think the sexual content is the problem...Especially for people that got kids running around like me" I've never understood our American love of violence and squeamishness about sex. For instance, if you go into a video rental store, the sex-rated titles are all in the back in the "pervert" section, but the horror/slasher flicks with the meathooks and severed heads on the cover are on the main sales floor for little Jimmy and Susie to see. As a parent confronted with this situation, when you wonder which is the lesser evil to which to expose your child, you have to ask yourself two questions: 1. Do I want my kid to grow up to be a sociopathic machete-murderer? 2. Do I want to have grandkids someday?

DutchZombie
DutchZombie

I don't get it. There's already a great system in place with detailed descriptions of the content in video games. This is just politicians using media as a scapegoat for the country's problems. Just like they did with TV, movies, comic books, and music.

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

In my opinion, violence in games is not the problem. The problem is the apology for violence, the free violence for nothing found in some games. Violence can be used for good or for evil. Its like this: A cop uses violence to arrest someone if necessary. One person can use violence to avoid another person of being raped... these are some situations where violence can be used. But some games offer free, no law violence... all for free, just for fun, with no objective, without a good end around it.. In my opinion, thats the problem.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Polls mean nothing. 90 per cent of people could tell you murder should be legalized, but does that mean legalizing murder is a good idea?

Fz1994
Fz1994

I never cared about violence really...but I think the sexual content is the problem...Especially for people that got kids running around like me

zequex
zequex

@ rarson Thanks for responding. I stated at the beginning that there is a difference between "violence" and "ultra-violence". I never said "violence" was unhealthy for kids, I said "extreme violence". Violence such as sword fighting or western style shoot-outs are normal things that all kids grow up with (in some form or another) and I thing it IS healthy. I know I did. But I didn't think of it like actually killing or hurting. I don't think games like Legend of Zelda of movies like Star Wars are bad for kids. That's why they are rated PG or E (or T). I am referring to games that are rated M or A-O. If we really have a disagreement I take my views from the innumerable studies done on exposing young children to extreme violence. If you have evidence to the contrary, very well. Getting to the point of laws, I am not saying all laws are good. I am saying that laws are not necessary where people are being responsible. The people in this case being the parents. Most people here believe the parents are responsible. So if a law gets passed it will be because those parents did not make the right choices.

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

That's cool. I still think people are looking past reality though. While I think stores should be punished for selling minors games that clearly state that their for people 17 or older, what about the parents? I mean I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't or haven't known many people under the age of 17 who could afford to buy their own video games. Generally speaking, parents buy their kids the games that they want. So even if a 10yr old is standing next to an adult as they buy them GTAIV, what can a retailer do? As long as there's a complicent adult minors will continue to get their hands on any game they want. No addtional sticker or law is going to stop that. If you don't want minors playing violent games, it's up to the adults around them to be responsible for things to change. Otherwise, you're making the same argument to strenghten the same laws that are essentially already in place but not enforced as hard.

ironfistrich
ironfistrich

@Total_mischief I'm very sorry, your right.

TyrannicFeenix
TyrannicFeenix

I might be wrong but don't we already have laws relating to this. Classifications laws, where we rate these games and retailers can't sell them to minors without parental consent?

seriousplayer_d
seriousplayer_d

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Vengeful_Angel
Vengeful_Angel

If this were to pass, then there would be a double dose of ratings. Which would mean that there would be no reason for youths to play violent games...in thoery. On the other hand, if the brand spanking new rating system proves to be fruitless as just as many kids are still playing (not purchasing) violent games, then what is the next step? Another harsher system instead of realizing that the first system was not flawed? At what point are parents and watchdog groups going to step back and realize that this is all a waste?

Vengeful_Angel
Vengeful_Angel

The_Gaming_Baby, I know what you mean. I'm twenty-five and a regular at my local Gamestop, but any and every "M" rated game I purchase, they ask for my id. I love it every time because they are doing what they are supposed to do. This leads to the conclusion that parents are not doing what they need to.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

fallin75
fallin75

freedom is about rights, kids are privileged when they buy M rated games, making a law so they can't d that anymore isn't taking a right from them, it is just taking a privilege they shouldn't have in the first place...

maxwell97
maxwell97

The lesson here? Democracy doesn't always work.

finaleve
finaleve

@ archlvt The issue at hand is that the ESRB is only a GUILDELINE, not an official system in which to ban games. It does, however, have a bit more power over companies as all games who want to make a dollar need to have these ratings to help provide a better judgement or otherwise be sued for presenting "Billy Everyman" things he should not be seeing at the fine age of 5. This issue has been pointed out since Grand Theft Auto 3 came out, and GTA: San Andreas took the spotlight of the issue (And the rebirth of Jack Thompson). Since then, there has been laws being attempted to pass (and so far mostly fail) into the system. There's a lot going on that most seem to overlook. The problem with a "Ban" is that when it happens, kids will continue to be playing the games as most kids have their parents purchase these games (or older siblins/friends) and play them. I remember having my dad purchase GTA: Vice City for me (though I gave it as a gift to a friend). I occasionally get ID'd at Gamestop for that occasional "Violent game" that might have caught some attention which is a start, but people don't realize there are loopholes in the system. Thats why we still have 14 year old kids smoking outside of the school.

ironfistrich
ironfistrich

@Total_mischief You still didn't answer my question about me being redneck white trash. I'm really interested in what you think of a wounded vet that gave blood sweat and tears for the freedom of his country, for your freedom that you take for granted, that you piss away. Or the question about being the lowest form of the human species. What about the fact that most celebrities have guns and past presidents and nobel prize winners owned guns. Some of the greatest mind in history owned guns and carried them for protection. So your statement about people like that are the lowest form of the human species is unintelligent. As is most of what you say. Also, that's pretty funny, you'd beat the crap out of them. HAHA! when someone pulls a gun or a knife on you you'll you beat the crap out of them. That's funny. Obviously you've never had to fight for anything in your whole life. Probable born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Thanks for the laughs.

ironfistrich
ironfistrich

@Total_mischief Again, your welcome for mine and many other soldier's sacrifices for you to have the freedom to choose wether you want to own a gun or not, and to moan and complain about your hippie ideas that the would is sugar coated. Guns are the sole factor for gaining and retaining freedom. Without them tyrants would take away everything you have including your life if they feel it necessary. Look at history, every civilization that has ever know a time of peace and freedom had to fight and die for it. They used every weapon available including guns. The only reason weapons are invented outside of hunting is for gaining, keeping, or taking of freedom.

akiwak
akiwak

It's cool to make a lot of noise here but here only other gamers are going to hear you. This affects us all gamers and WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT???? I suggest you start here: VideoGameVoters.Org

LAboy06
LAboy06

Isn't it ironic that the company is called "Common Sense"?

archlvt
archlvt

There already is a ban for violent games for minors... it's called the ESRB.

Venom341
Venom341

A big thing to think about that makes this lame is one simple question. How many of those 2,100 people were parents?

raghraghragh
raghraghragh

As they should. These games don't need to be in the hands of kids. But I understand the unique situation American is in, where they have a clearly stated right of freedom of speech (something which places like Britain and Australia don't) that make implementing this difficult.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@ ironfistrich Yeah, I play games where I blow stuff away with guns. I also play games where I'm the Hulk - I don't want to start smashing cars into building. Comparing video games and movies to real life is as stupid of an argument you can get. And I don't deny the use of a weapon to defend yourself. I deny pretending that having a gun over your fireplace means freedom. Mankind has always used weapons and their primary use was survival. A weapon has no meaning of freedom, it's a tool, a means to an end. I wouldn't be against guns if that end wasn't to kill someone for wars that shouldn't have started in the first place. Then again we wouldn't be needing guns if humanity as a whole wasn't as stupid as to start wars over religion or power. For the exception of hunting, which would fall back into the survival category. As for having to defend myself with a gun; sorry but you can't guarantee much. If I was attacked in any way, I would much rather beat the crap out of my aggressor with my bare hands, and would probably enjoy it too, instead of using a gun. I might fail, I might not, but that's something I'll see when it happens.

Johny_47
Johny_47

@Squeakyfiend So did I, honestly MOST of the games I played when I was 'growing up' =P with the old Playstation were violent, gory or creepy games that were usually 18+. But when I play games like GTA IV and kill someone I don't want they're bull s*** over the headset or through the speakers complaining like little girls that I'm cheating hahaha =/

Squeakyfiend
Squeakyfiend

I enjoyed playing 18 rated games too much when I was under the age rating to agree they should be banned.

tainted_lynx
tainted_lynx

Why is anybody shocked? Video games have been a target for politicians and lazy/bad parents. Besides, why are little kids playing God of War 3 or Halo 3? They should be playing Super Mario Galaxy 2. It's M-rated for a reason.