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.

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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One comment on “Supreme Court Rejects Ban on Violent Video Games for Children
  1. What I don’t get is why can ban sale of R and X rated movies to minors… but not violent video games. I don’t get it.

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.


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