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The Game on Your Wii: Now Rated R

Parents — not the nanny state — should protect kids from pixelated sex and violence.

by
Michele Catalano

Bio

July 31, 2008 - 12:00 am
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New York Governor Paterson on Monday signed into law a bill mandating that all video games sold in the state of New York display ESRB ratings on their packaging. Sound familiar? It should. Bills like this have been voted for, voted down, and had lawsuits filed against them in almost every state.

This new waste of resources and dollars also maintains that new consoles must be equipped with controls that would prevent the display of indecent/violent video games. You know, parental controls. Which the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 already have.

This law will also see the creation of an advisory board to examine issues such as how violent video games affect children. Yes, that sounds familiar as well.

This redundancy in passing a law that has previously been deemed unconstitutional seems to be just another step in New York’s race to become the official nanny state.

Senior vice president of communications and research for the Entertainment Software Association, Richard Taylor, is none too happy about this law. “The state has ignored legal precedent, common sense, and the wishes of many New Yorkers in enacting this unnecessary bill. This government intrusion will cost taxpayers money and impose unconstitutional mandates for activities and technologies that are already voluntarily in place.”

Indeed, the passing of bills and laws regulating video games has cost taxpayers over one million dollars. That’s one million dollars of your money spent to do something parents should be doing without the government enacting a law telling them to do so.

This law, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (R-I, Staten Island) seems especially near and dear to the heart of Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn): “No child should be playing ‘games’ that involve mutilating people with chain saws, having sex with prostitutes, or dealing drugs. This hyper-violent material is mind-boggling in its brutality, and our kids should simply not be exposed to it. These commonsense proposals will better inform and empower parents throughout our state, while also helping to prevent our kids from gaining access to these video games.”

There’s a real simple way to not expose children to this. A way that won’t cost taxpayers money, that doesn’t need a committee to study it, that won’t require our elected officials to spend time debating it. It’s called parenting. And we need to stop expecting the government to do that job for us. Politicians should stay out of the gaming business and let parents determine what their kids can and can’t play. It’s part and parcel of the nanny state that is made of both sides of the political spectrum; the “we know what’s best for you” mantra of liberals coupled with prurient conservatism leads to ratings and enforcement of those ratings via retailers. It shouldn’t be up to a senator, a governor, or even Gary the EB Games clerk what our children can purchase. That’s a parenting decision that shouldn’t be legislated.

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