Parents: Video Game Monitoring Not Up To Lawmakers

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Where ever Kaylee Hardin is, her Nintendo DS isn’t far away, but what you won’t find on the 8-year-old’s handheld video game console is violence.

“I monitor pretty closely which video games Kaylee plays and which ones she doesn’t, her father Shane Hardin said.  “She did get a video game from one of her neighbors and it was a little more violent than her mom felt comfortable with so we had to take it away from her.”

The State of California wanted to monitor what games kids play as well. Lawmakers there passed a law banning the sale of violent games to minors, but Monday the Supreme Court overturned it.

Jame Steyer, who runs Common Sense Media which rates the content of games and videos, helped craft the California law.  “This decision was not in the best interest of parents, no question.” He said.

But as a parent, Hardin disagrees.  “I think it was the correct opinion mainly because it does restrict freedom of speech,” he said. “The video game makers have the right to make those games and market them towards whomever they want, however I think it’s the parents’ job to monitor their children and what they’re playing.”

Video games have a voluntary rating system. M stands for Mature, which is considered unsuitable for those under 17 years old.

Grapevine-based GameStop has a company policy restricting the sale of those games to children without parental permission, but the company isn’t required by law to do that.  “GameStop continues to believe that the video game industry’s voluntary ratings system and our committed associates, not legislation, are the best ways to ensure age-appropriate video games make it into the hands of our younger customers,” the company said in a statement.

Tom Gardner doesn’t have a problem with his kids playing games that contain violent material.

“I want my kids to have the opportunity to play those games, race car games, football, baseball, basketball games, this is just one of many games my son or my kids will play,” he said. “Parents need to be parents, they need to say this is what my kids can and cannot do, and push the government to the side a little bit on that.”

His son, Nathan, loves video games so much the Garner’s held his 10th birthday party at TH3 Arcade in North Fort Worth.

“We wanted to create a fun safe place for kids to come play video games ,” said owner Will Gardner, who admits video games are big business. “Every time school gets out, we get smashed, we have birthday parties booking up every weekend.”

And Tom Gardner, who is not related to the TH3 owner, believes his son is not only safe, but just fine emotionally, despite any violence on the screen.


One Comment

  1. NiteNurse says:

    Parents usually don’t play the games and don’t realize the content in them. So does any thing go? Help the video characters have sex with underage teenage girls. Help teenage video characters blow up their school? I mean really it’s a form of media and you as a parent need to know what is in those games so that you can be better informed. Besides do you really not want to monitor a purchase a kid makes that’s nearly 100 bucks? I don’t want to walk into my 10 year old kid’s room and be surprised by some extremely violent video game he’s playing.

  2. Erica R. says:

    It’s 100% up to the parents to do their research. My own mother would screen tv shows before I was allowed to watch them, and would extensively research video games to get an idea.

    Any parent that would go out and buy their child a game without lookin at the clear warning label in the very least is at fault as a parent. It’s unfair to blame the manufacturers for creating a game that is aimed toward a different audience.

  3. Jd says:

    The companies are trying to do their part…by not letting underage children purchase them. At Toys R Us…they have that same set up….if your purchasing a video for over 14… the register asks to enter a birth day. This ONE mother left her 12 yr old boy to buy a video game that needed that info…..So she would put the baby in the car seat. She came back into the store…HOLLERING at me for not allowing HER boy to buy the video. HOW STUPID CAN SOME PARENTS BE???? If you dont care and you still want the children to purchase those videos, some of which are real violent…..Then STAY with them at the register. OR better yet….READ up on some information about the games. And the store’s POLICY……the cashiers do NOT make the rules, PEOPLE…we just push buttons.

  4. Kevin says:

    There are no problems with children playing any type of video game. Provided, of course, YOU (as parents) have instilled an adequate grasp of real vs not real. If you are afraid of your child playing a certain game due to subject matter, content, or the effect it may have on them, that is more an indication of your own doubt about your own parenting skills than it is anything else. If you have done an adequate job as a parent in all areas, it shouldn’t matter what you put in their game system. The child should be taught, by the parents, the difference between the real world and the box with a controller.

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