Should States be Able to Censor Video Game Purchases?

It would seem as though a law banning the sale of video games that are of an adult nature would be in keeping with the laws that we have protecting children from the viewing of movies and print materials that are adult in nature.

There’s a reason why video game companies are fighting such a law. While the average gamer is 32 years old, those under 18 years old account for 25% of the gaming industry. Games with a mature rating account for 15% of sales. Banning children from purchasing games, might then lead to a drop in profits. Creators consider that the falling sales of these games would infringe upon their rights to sell the games they want to sell. If you want to hurt someone, and get them riled up into action, hit their pockets. Companies argue that the restriction of video games hampers their first amendment rights.

This motivation for discarding the law banning sales is ridiculous. The profits lost by video gaming companies are likely to not be that much. First, for most kids, parents are the one purchasing video games anyway. Thus, if the mature rating does not bother parents, they are still free to purchase the games. Second, it’s unlikely that those children who are purchasing video games with their own allowances are purchasing mature games. While some children might purchase such games, parents are usually the ones who transport children to the stores where games can be purchased. Thus, they still have veto power.

The video game companies might reply by arguing that even if we banned the sales of these games from teenagers, they would play the games anyway because their parents would own them, or the parents of friends would own them. However, that argument has not kept us from banning the sales of pornographic movies, books, and magazines to children.

When it comes to those who are against sales of these games to minors, however, the arguments of the video game companies do not make sense. Parents note that it tends to be these violent games – especially because they contain risqué sexual content – that appeal most to tweens and teens. Owning these games becomes a status symbol. Because of this, and because children and teenagers are not always with parents when purchasing games, safety measures need to be put into place. While this may hurt the pockets of video gaming companies, it will not hamper their abilities to sell games. After all, parents who don’t care whether the games are violent or sexually charged will still purchase them for children. It will, however make it so that children cannot walk into the store and buy the games on their own – the same restriction we have for pornography, tobacco, and alcohol products.

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