Bow to the Gatekeeper

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Bow to the Gatekeeper

What is the true purpose of age gates? They certainly aren't there to keep kids away from inappropriate content.

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I've never entered my real birth date with those age gates. I always just choose the year, scroll down to some random number (which is usually somewhere in the '50s) and click enter.

It's obvious the age gates are only there so that if parents start complaining they can point at the age gate saying "we've already put warnings, and a test there. We've done the best we can do. Don't blame us". Quite sad that they have to do this, since the problem is the fact that parents don't pay attention, just like you pointed out in the article.

Then again, I remember my mom helping me by answering the questions so I could play the first Leisure Suit Larry game when I was 10. She knew what she was allowing me to play as well, but deemed me intelligent and adult enough to handle a game like that at my age.
In fact, she'd watch me play the game because she thought it was a funny game herself, but she had no interest in playing a point n click game.
Same with how she watched me play the Discworld, Monkey Island and even Metal Gear games.

I've always wondered about the age gates... I remember seeing them with on the Angry Video Game Nerd, which made me chuckle. Most of his viewers are under 18, so if the age gate would have worked, he'd lose all of his viewers.

I never really understood them either, legally restricting games seems to make little sense. It seems like it should be the parents job to tackle that subject. The main problem I have with this type of restriction is that law makers use the misguided argument that it protects children from corruption. For example I live in Maine and on January 1st of 2010 it is illegal sell flavored tobacco products at all, this includes menthols blunt wraps even shesha this is also under the guise of protecting children. The argument seems to always boil down to games cause violence at lest in the cases that I have paid attention to. If they do then I guess I should be a violent person since my father allowed me to play duke nukem 3d when I was ten. To conclude in my eyes it doesn't make sense and seems to me to be fascist.

I always lie to get past them but I'm just sure they want to cover their asses by not getting sued up the ass because little susie bitch got onto the manhunt website and saw several trailers and now eats her own shit.

I only ever change the year, so according to numerous sites across the web, my birthday is January 1.

My parents knew every single game that came into the house, and made sure they watched me play them long enough to get a feel for what was going on. The irony, of course, is that those games were little more than one colored block banging into another colored block.

Hmmm well I feel your pain, I did this once before when I was having a brain fart and accidently listed the current year instead of the one I was born in, making me like an infant calling their site. I was permanantly locked out of course, but didn't think it was a big deal.

To be entirely honest I'd much rather see the current age gate system rather than something that actually works, because I do not want to have to like photocopy my driver's liscence and send it to some bloody sitemaster to get access or whatever.

Basically any information that could genuinely prove my age, would also be relatively dangerous to hand out in any kind of permanant form to complete strangers. What you can do with a Drivers's Liscence # or social securit number might surprise you.

Susan Arendt:
I only ever change the year, so according to numerous sites across the web, my birthday is January 1.

This is how I get past most age gates, particularly the ones on Steam. If it wasn't for a quick scroll down, I'd wouldn't have been able to play Bioshock or Prototype. My parents don't mind. In fact, I have a fond memory of showing my Dad one of the consume kills in Prototype, which involved swinging a guy over your head and slamming him head-first into the pavement. My dad barely batted an eyelid.
Good times.

I tend to say I was born on april fools day.

You could use similar arguments for DRM, if you replace "parents" with "shareholders", and "children" with "pirates".

Susan Arendt:
I only ever change the year, so according to numerous sites across the web, my birthday is January 1.

I'll usually do the same, going up only a few years because of that secret little bit of fun I have at lying to the silly things.
That, or I put in a a common historical date from the last few decades, and go from there.

I don't think my mother is phased anymore by what I turn up on the Internet, if only because she herself was the one that basically made it so very little surprised me.

(Note to self: never ask a very open-minded parent questions, because you'll get the answer. In detail.)

I don't think that these age-gates really stop anyone, and, like you said, just serves as a way to ensure that no one is sued and everyone is happy. Parents should be the ones enforcing rules about what to view and what not to view on the Internet, because they're the ones that care if I look at otherwise adult material.

I never would've expected to see an entire column addressing those damn things, but I'm glad you managed to come up with one. Honestly, kids aren't completely naive. They know why they're being asked their age, so the system is really just a complicated version of having two buttons, "Yes, I'm over 18" "No, I'm not over 18."

And yes, I too have experienced sites messing up and acting like I put in a birthdate I didn't. Complete BS.

Companies are just afraid of everything...and they proably should be afraid of everything.

before i was 18 i always lied about my age, but still, the sites have no verification as everyone is saying... my parents had me set up my very first PC i ever got in the lounge room so they were able to watch what i do all because my brother got caught looking at porn too often... bring back strict parents

Age gates, oh the good memories of always plugging in the wrong date of birth. Sometimes I'd say I was a hundred. So wonderfully useless.

My gaming computer is in the living room and my Mum still stares at the screen to see what I'm doing. One of these days I should get round to pointing out that I'm 18 and mature enough to censor my own gaming. Then again she has never once told me to stop playing a game.

It's just one of these damned Politically Correct failures of this "modern" society. I don't wish to pin it on one country, but the Americans do have a horrible habit of sueing people. I'm not saying all Americans do it, but I bet it's very common and over very silly things (such as Peanuts containing Peanuts, and no warning. DESPITE IT BEING PEANUTS). But then again, every country is probably just as bad for it.

I just hope some companies get a "backbone" and stand up to this utter BS :)

Every time I see one of those things I enter that I am 100 years old or older.

They only do this because if they didn't, parents and politicians would be all up in arms that they explicitly market to children.

I once went on a site when I was underage, it had many women who didn't wear too many clothes.
Know how my parents got me to stop, they moved the computer and my dad hit me a few times.
Thats how you be a parent.

coldalarm:
It's just one of these damned Politically Correct failures of this "modern" society. I don't wish to pin it on one country, but the Americans do have a horrible habit of sueing people. I'm not saying all Americans do it, but I bet it's very common and over very silly things (such as Peanuts containing Peanuts, and no warning. DESPITE IT BEING PEANUTS). But then again, every country is probably just as bad for it.

I just hope some companies get a "backbone" and stand up to this utter BS :)

You want some companies to stand up and lose a potential sum of money due to lawsuits by abusive people with no conscience? It'll be easier to stuff a ham up your country's leader nose than to hope for this to happen.

SomeUnregPunk:

coldalarm:
It's just one of these damned Politically Correct failures of this "modern" society. I don't wish to pin it on one country, but the Americans do have a horrible habit of sueing people. I'm not saying all Americans do it, but I bet it's very common and over very silly things (such as Peanuts containing Peanuts, and no warning. DESPITE IT BEING PEANUTS). But then again, every country is probably just as bad for it.

I just hope some companies get a "backbone" and stand up to this utter BS :)

You want some companies to stand up and lose a potential sum of money due to lawsuits by abusive people with no conscience? It'll be easier to stuff a ham up your country's leader nose than to hope for this to happen.

I would love it if companies didn't have to fear the lawsuit happy people, but sadly, that'll never happen.

I actually told the truth to age gates the first couple of times I saw them, but after the fifth gate I encountered I figured out that in order to get what I want from the internet I had to lie to them. Now that I am 18 I usually scroll down to the 80s or 70s because it is less work than putting in my real age. by putting them everywhere they are teaching people(including kids) to lie to them.

Susan Arendt:
I only ever change the year, so according to numerous sites across the web, my birthday is January 1.

Same here, and the depth of my cursory scroll usually takes me to 1913.

I think it's heartwarming how these gates recognise the rights of 96-year old gamers.

Sewblon:
By putting them everywhere they are teaching people(including kids) to lie to them.

I find this a particularly engaging point. Are age gates and disclaimers teaching kids that lying is an easy and (technically) accepted way to get what you want?

I have and will be at least 18 til the time comes that I truly am.

Thats gonna be a famous quote someday.
What I mean by that is, I'm not 18 legally, but since I'm smart enough to say I am I will be til I'm legally 19. Simple as that, any moron can tell the truth, but it takes a somebody raised on the internet to lie.

mooncalf:

Susan Arendt:
I only ever change the year, so according to numerous sites across the web, my birthday is January 1.

Same here, and the depth of my cursory scroll usually takes me to 1913.

I think it's heartwarming how these gates recognise the rights of 96-year old gamers.

Sewblon:
By putting them everywhere they are teaching people(including kids) to lie to them.

I find this a particularly engaging point. Are age gates and disclaimers teaching kids that lying is an easy and (technically) accepted way to get what you want?

Yes they are. Now that you mention it that is probably worse than most of the things you might take from Grand Theft Auto or MadWorld.

One word, "liability". The ability to reasonably deny something in a court of law will save them millions from lawsuits where moral crusaders scream "think of the children" when they really mean "wheres my cut".

Lawyers need to be held to higher ethics and rules than poltiations and doctors >>

I remember one time I got grounded because my parents (well just my Dad, he's the douche of the family) found out that I lied on an age-gate. (for Ebay)
Now my computer is in the Living Room, probably for that reason considering that haven't caught me doing anything.

I can faintly recall a quote from House (yes, that House) about age gates.

I think it was something like, "Hm. Are you over 18?"
"Yes, I am. *clicks 'Yes'* That was easy. Even a 17-year old could figure that out!"

It's really sad that they are our best option.

They do it because they're legally required to. If they provide adult content to an underage person they can be sued out the ass. I got into an R movie when I was 15 because I said I was 18. Bought an M game when I was 16. First time I bought cigarettes after I turned 18 I wasn't carded. First time I bought booze after I turned 21 I wasn't carded. Agreed that the system is worthless since I just scroll down to a year, ranging from 1980-1920 and get in, and I'm sure many folks younger than me can figure that out. Still, protecting your companies ass from prosecution is extremely important. The trump card "We asked how old they were, they lied." Makes perfect sense to me. The parents should pay more attention to what their kids are doing, it's not the world's job to protect them, despite how much they bitch and moan. You don't want your kids accessing unacceptable content on the internet? Don't get an internet connection. Even if you use those wonderful content settings, I guarantee your kid is smart enough to get around them, as simple as downloading firefox and putting it in a folder. Both sides of the argument are valid, the gatekeeper software is pointless as far as stopping access to the site, but it saves the companies ass. And if the company gets their asses sued off they can't provide content to anyone, regardless of how they lie about their age.

Maybe they should bring back the old 'Leisure Suit Larry' age control system?

I remember being a kid and trying to play this game and before it would start would ask me questions based on current (current enough to the game) and American culture (which was difficult for a brit :P) - but 'adult' stuff that only adults really care enough to know about.

Obviously it wasn't rocket science to work it out but it seemed a little more effective than a passive "How old are you" mechanism that has no real way to validate your actual physical age.

Seemed a bit stupid to be honest, the only 'rude bits' in 'Leisure suit larry' were always obsured by a big black block. I guess it was funnier to have a big black block moving up and down than a bunch of pixels getting it on!

I have a habit of telling all age-gates that i was born in Feubrary 29,1984.

But really,as long as game companies are legally obliged to do this (to not be sued to death),stupidity and uselessness will prevail.

"Are you all over eighteen!?"

image

"Yes Gatekeeper!"

"Shit, no we're not!"

"Asscreed" website

really good!

Wait, since when is 33 under 18? >.<

I used to legitimately enter my real birth date, but after a while it just got tiresome. Can't my computer just enter it for me? But of course, that can't happen because even the same site (and even the same page on the same site) will ask me over and over again to tell them my birth date. I even created an account on a website that I frequented so that in the hopes that the numerous "age gates" I encountered would be auto-filled based on the fact that I'm logged on, but no luck.

So I gave up. I just click the year button, scroll down past the 90's, and click. Like Susan Arendt, I too was "born" on the first of January.

I think the reason is that in the end, Parents are tired of parenting their kids, i have a son, he is quite young but it always strucked me as "stupid" that my mother in law keeps asking me and my whife to put a foamy helmet on my son, or buy a belt that haves our kid tied up to us like a dog on a leash when we go out, things like that.

why?, why do i have to tie my son to my belt if just paying attention to where he is at all times is enough?, why do i need to put a helmet in his head if i can prevent him from squishing his head by simply making sure that he doesn´t get to close to an unsecure area?.

why should i relay in outside help to look after my son?, in the end all those things are just an excuse for not to look after the kid, and people tend to forget that parenting is for parents, specialy the goverment, i know that they are doing it because they think its the best for the kids, but shouldn´t parents be the ones that know what is best for the kids?.

oh, and any parent that blames a corporation because his son got lost/hur/exposed to adult material should not have being a parent to begin with, the prime responsibility should always be of the parents, and a notice in the web stating "this site may contain inapropiate material to for children" should suffice.

i guess the question should go like "what happened to the super powers mom´s (or dad´s) had that alowed them to know what were you doing at any given momment as a kid?"

well... it probably got lost in generations of ADD.

Susan Arendt:
I only ever change the year, so according to numerous sites across the web, my birthday is January 1.

My parents knew every single game that came into the house, and made sure they watched me play them long enough to get a feel for what was going on. The irony, of course, is that those games were little more than one colored block banging into another colored block.

in todays age, a simple glimpse into a TV while your son is playing video games should be enough to cathegorize that game as "inapropiate" to their kids.

Andy_Panthro:
I tend to say I was born on april fools day.

You could use similar arguments for DRM, if you replace "parents" with "shareholders", and "children" with "pirates".

Except that there is precedent for expecting parents to regulate their children, and just about none for shareholders enforcing copyrights? Or were you implying that shareholders should push their companies to be even more draconian (move the MP3's into the living room, so to speak) than they already have tried to be?

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