Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Video game violence

Ah yet another study into the effects of violent computer games on children. Of course there should be a 'if any' inserted there, but hey no bias.

Oh and they'll also be looking at ways to protect kids from online material too, but don't look at that, ignore that, look at the video games "Won't someone please think of the children"; actually they are and have been for some time now.

Video games get rated in this country under the BBFC that's the British Board of Film Classification, interesting as the old argument is that video games are different to films due to the interactivity involved. So video games get classified and display said rating, in fact display it in a larger format then for films. It was also mentioned that video games were held to a slightly stricter version, so that a 15 film may be an 18 game.

So where's the problem? You wouldn't buy your 12-year old son "300" (rated 15) so why would you buy "Gods of War" (rated 18)? What got mentioned on the BBC was video games get handed down from one sibling to the next... uh -huh well don't; it's that simple. Do people do that with films, why should they do it for games?

Uh-oh looks like we're heading into educating parents and holding them to account territory; quick divert, divert!

Oo oo yes the ability to get material off the internet. I know I said ignore it, but it's just become a useful diversion and with the average attention span measured in seconds you've probably just forgotten all that as you read this sentence. We need some way to stop little Johnny from downloading that ManHunter demo from the publisher's site - Something must be done™. You mean other then the warnings that it's an 18 certificate demo, so you shouldn't download it if you're under that age? Yes! You mean other then the various schemes that allow sites to be tagged with ratings in the same way that films are, so that a little bit of software will stop them from even visiting that page? Um yes, but I don't know how to install that software; didn't even know it existed... how am I expected to watch them 24 hours on the computer huh, huh? Oh dear we're back to parental responsibility again aren't we.

So here's the nub - video games are already classified in the same way as films, software exists on both computer and consoles that can restrict access to certain items; so what's this study supposed to be for again? Amusingly it's about educating parents to do what they should be doing anyway all packaged up in a sexy 'protect the children' wrapping and it's likely to have as much effect as all the other studies and research. Even if this study does show a link (and even the head of the study says that's highly unlikely) unless the measures are aimed solely at the publishers and distributors, nobody will take a blind bit of difference.


Anonymous said...

Yes. Don't forget that ESRB ratings exist in addition to the BBFC ones - oh dear, I suppose we're making things too complicated for parents now.

Anonymous said...

Hey, how about the effects of Tom & Jerry on children? That thing is *way* more violent! ;-)

FlipC said...

Heh true, two sets of ratings probably using different criteria... best just to ban the lot.

As for Tom & Jerry, that's television violence and that is just so passé better to hammer on 'Tom and Jerry The Game' for corrupting children :-)