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Censor demands jail for parents who let kids play violent games

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A New Zealand censor has demanded that parents who allow their children to play adult-rated videogames should be sent to jail to provide "shock value" for other families. This proposal would make videogames even more tightly restricted than alcohol, since it would apply to what happens within the family home.

"They might think the offense is silly, but it ain't," claims Chief Censor Bill Hastings, who explains that parents who let their kids play videogames such as Grand Theft Auto could face up to three months in prison or a fine of $10,000. Hastings believes that using such a law to "send a message" would be a valuable use of police time and that three months in jail for letting a kid play Mortal Kombat is a good way of spending taxpayers' money. 

Naturally, Hastings took the time to demonize videogames, of course that their are "proven" links to violence, and even going so far as to claim that the term "game" is wrong: "I think the word 'game' can mislead people for sure. It's not checkers. For the first time in history, kids are more savvy with technology than parents ... parents need to get up to speed on the digital divide. They need to look at what their kids are playing and doing. The fear of getting caught shouldn't be the motivating factor for you obeying the laws. It should be the pleasure in being able to sleep at night knowing that you have done the right thing by your kids. That should be the motivating factor."

Are we really going to go this far? Is society so ill-equipped to deal with technological advances that we are going to put people in the stocks for using it? I'm sure we can all agree that a five-year-old playing GTA is not appropriate, but I'm also sure we can agree that it's up to the parents and not the state. For example, I've no problem with a kid playing a game like SoulCalibur, since it's not especially sadistic or gory. If I lived in New Zealand, would Hastings really want me imprisoned for that? It's legal for a child to imbibe alcohol behind closed doors, and that substance actually HAS a proven link to social problems, unlike videogames where the only "proof" comes from wholly unscientific tests. The hypocrisy is so thick you could eat it. 

Videogames have become the Salem Witch Trials of the twenty-first century. I hope these anti-game lobbyists and media watchdogs look forward to being laughed at and looked down upon by future generations who can see just how pathetic and lacking in perspective these ridiculous crusades are.

[Thanks Robert!]

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Filed under... #Controversy #Legal System #Utterly pathetic

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