The Supreme Court Rules Video Games Protected by Free Speech

A California law that would prohibit the sale of “violent” video games to minors has been struck down by the Supreme court (7-2), after being deemed an unconstitutional violation of free speech. This ruling came after strong arguments from both side were weighed and considered.

Arguments against the law included current restrictions on selling certain movies to minor due to nudity or strong language that warrants R or NC-17 ratings. If these restrictions can be made on movies, why wouldn’t they apply on video games that feature decapitation and torture?

Justice Clarence Thomas argued that free speech, as used in the constitution, doesn’t apply to minors and therefor the law doesn’t actually violate this code. Some of his stronger points include various points where founding fathers (including Thomas Jefferson) had indicated parents had control over their children’s speech and therefor the rules of free speech do not apply to them.

The majority, however, shared the viewpoints that America as a country has no longstanding tradition of blocking children from violent content, and therefor it would be unfair to impose such a strong restriction now. In addition, the current ratings system, managed by the ESRB, are already in place to give parents a clear indication as to the level of graphic content present in a game.

Looking back throughout the history of mankind, it is hard to say that violent literature, video games, or other forms of entertainment have actually had any real bearing on the level of violence we see in society. Some of the most violent and dangerous countries in the world have populations with little or no access to some of the most violent video games our youth are exposed to regularly.

Humans have been violent for as long as they have been around, dating back to centuries (and possibly much longer) before recorded history. Violence, while not a good thing, has been a part of human culture since the beginning, and it would be short-sighted to place the blame of any and all acts of violence by youth on pixels.

What do you think? Do video games cause violence?

14 thoughts on “The Supreme Court Rules Video Games Protected by Free Speech”

  1. So, its O.K. for a 5 year to blow someone’s brains out on Grand Theft Auto, but they can’t watch porn?

    1. A 5 year old can watch porn (on the Internet), and if the child goes and kills someone after playing Grand Theft Auto, it is not the game that did it it’s the child, who can choose to or not to kill someone   

      1. I doubt a 5 year-old has the “natural” ability to take another human beings life without copying the behavior either from some type of medium or seeing it in real life.  I’m a strong defender of freedom of speech, but how can you let corporations tell you that it’s ok to expose your kids to violence or anything else for that matter.  You might enjoy seeing someone’s head graphically blown off on a video game.  But its inappropriate and irresponsible for children to be exposed to it.  I’m not sure if you have kids, but if you did, you certainly would not let your children play violent video games.

  2. p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

    what about the time those kids played
    violent video games and they shot up that school. i think its just a
    plot for pharmaceutical companies to have another excuse to pill your
    kids so the country can be controlled communisticly and china can control the world traid bastards

    1. just because kids shot up a school doesn’t mean it was the video games. i play violent video games and you don’t see me causing mass chaos anywhere. I’ve played games from manhunt down to ratchet and clank. so it boils down to the parents or the child own point of view. you may believe it or not but kids after a certain age just start getting there own perspective on life and start choosing there own decisions that a parent cant control but on the other hand it is up to the parent or teacher to notice traits that could turn to violent behavior. but i assure it wasn’t the video games. if video games get pulled off shelves then why are movies not pulled or even books or the news the news shows a lot of violence. so just stop and think for a min and look over things before you judge video games.

  3. p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

    what about the time those kids played
    violent video games and they shot up that school. i think its just a
    plot for pharmaceutical companies to have another excuse to pill your
    kids so the country can be controlled communisticly and china can control the world traid bastards

  4. Then why did they bring the Supreme Court into the matter and two why rate the games at all if it don”t matter. The ratings are there to protect parents and children why don’t the laws.

    1. Frankly the ratings don’t do much, a parent before this could buy the game for the kid. It comes down to good parenting and common sense. Most games with a AK47 in them are either T or M. Kids are exposed if you want to call it that to violent matters through the news, the internet ect. a game really does very little in comparison.

    2. Frankly the ratings don’t do much, a parent before this could buy the game for the kid. It comes down to good parenting and common sense. Most games with a AK47 in them are either T or M. Kids are exposed if you want to call it that to violent matters through the news, the internet ect. a game really does very little in comparison.

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