Supreme Court Rejects Ban on Violent Video Games for Children

I am happily surprised that the Supreme Court sided with the Freedom of Speech today to strike down a California Law that restricted minor’s access to violent video games [story here on The New York Times]. Their ruling basically restricts how the State may restrict minor’s access to speech such as video games, violent or not. However, it does not impose any restriction on a parent to how he or she raises a child, such as forbidding the playing of such video games.

UPDATE: This is the paradox of American “save the children” doctrine. Children can view and virtually engage violent speech through video games, television, and movies, but they cannot be exposed to naked bodies or profanity. How is violence more okay than nudity and language? Shouldn’t nudity and language be less harmful, if we’re talking about influencing a young mind, than seeing violence?

I just ran across Ars Technica’s response to the ruling, and Nate Anderson points out the differences in the two dissenting votes on this case here. Breyer raises similar questions as I do above, but Clarence Thomas in one of his few written statements from the court demonstrates his knowledge of Originalism as if times, interpretation, and parenting never change.

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.