Wild Musing

Writing – Diary of a Budding Freelance

Some Games Are Just Not For Kids

Interestingly after my article of a few days ago the Byron Review was mentioned in parliament this week. And I find it interesting that while evoking the name of the review the politicians involved still seemed to be taking the tone that the games industry is hard to deal with and in some way irresponsible. This was not actually stated but to me it was the clear implication.

The discussion was kicked off by home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz who, according to the Scottish Herald asked the following of commons leader Harriet Harman “Given the fact that there is increasing availability of these games on the internet, exhibiting scenes of graphic and gratuitous violence, when is the Government proposing to implement the Byron report in full.”
It is not actually this portion of the question I have a problem with it is the way the journalist paraphrased Ms Harman’s answer “She told Labour home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz that the video industry itself had a role to play and vowed to take action on all these fronts”. As a former English teacher I feel qualified to say that the use of a strong word like ‘vowed’ implies that the games industry is doing the wrong thing and needs to be taken firmly in hand. This was not the finding of the Byron Review at all, in fact the opposite was true. Professor Byron made it quite clear that the large majority of those in the games industry were responsive and helpful and keen to work with the government on this issue. I am not sure if this was Ms Harman’s emphasis or the journalist’s but it was entirely misplaced.

Another thing that annoyed me about this was Mr Vaz statement that “This isn’t about censorship, this is about protecting our children.” Unfortunately Mr Vaz these two things are not mutually exclusive. History has taught us that once people think they are pursuing the worthy cause of protecting their children they begin to think anything is justified.

The rest of Ms Harman’s answer was more in fitting with the findings of the Review

“We need to make sure we have tough classification, which are properly enforced. We need to make sure that parents have the information they need.”

Yes exactly, parent education and a clear sign on the front of the game that states that the contents are not for children, so that the rest of us can get on with our gaming in peace. I do hope that that is what Mr Vaz was suggesting.

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March 4, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming, Sex in games, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. It’s not the government’s job to protect children. It’s parents’ job.

    Comment by cornfedgamer | March 5, 2009 | Reply

    • Well exactly, we can educate parents and put stickers on games to help them make informed choices about things but censorship is a step too far.

      You cannot take things out of games just because they are not suitable for children, imagine if we did that to literature?

      Comment by michellejbuss | March 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. Most politicians still think that video games are only for children, and that children are the main consumers of video games. They are out of touch. That’s why they think they can pull this type of censorship.

    But I believe you hit the nail on the head when you wrote, “History has taught us that once people think they are pursuing the worthy cause of protecting their children they begin to think anything is justified.”

    I wanted to cheer.

    Comment by cornfedgamer | March 5, 2009 | Reply


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