We grew up in a strikingly different time than most of our parents and grandparents. At the age I am now, my mother’s neighbors were just getting a television. Now it is taboo for people to not have one. With televisions came inventions to make them more entertaining, including video games.
Most people have played “Mario Kart” at some point in their lives. Video games have come a long way from the original “Mario” and “Pong.” The video games of today, such as the “Halo” and “Call of Duty” franchises, are not only much more realistic than their predecessors, they also tend to be much more violent. Because of this drastic change, a rating system for video games was established in 1993.
It should have been left at that.
Now the Supreme Court is looking at a case attempting to further censor video games by banning the sale of violent video games to minors. During questioning, most justices seemed fairly nervous about the issue and less than knowledgeable on video games and exactly what they were censoring.
This issue brings up the obvious question about free speech. The Supreme Court deciding to ban the sale of violent video games to minors would further restrict the rights of free speech allowed under the First Amendment. One may argue that anything that depicts as much violence as some video games should not be protected under the First Amendment. One could argue that by this logic, many books, movies and television shows should receive the equal amount of censorship.
Just look at the origins of our beloved fairy tales, like the ones by the Brothers Grimm. Their “Cinderella” has the stepsisters cutting parts of their feet off to fit a shoe, leaving a bloody red trail behind them. Look at “Bugs Bunny” cartoons as well. Hammers hitting and anvils dropping left and right.
The censorship of one entertainment medium inevitably leads to another. Already music censorship and movie ratings put restrictions on what people can listen to or view without proof of their age. It seems like video games are next. Further censorship leads to further restrictions on our right to freedom of speech.
Pure and simple, it is not up to the government to censor what children see. It should be up parents. If parents do not feel comfortable with a child seeing an R-rated movie, then they have full authority to not let their child see that movie. It should be the same way with video games. If parents do not want their children playing violent video games, then they can stop it. The government is not our mom and dad.
KC Aransen is a sophomore psychology major from Arlington.