Educator Advocates California's Law Against Violent Games

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Educator Advocates California's Law Against Violent Games

image

A teacher and author of the School-Wise books threw her support behind California's law that was argued before the Supreme Court last month.

By now, you should have heard all about the proposed California law which would impose criminal penalties and a fine up to $1000 for anyone who sells to a minor any videogame deemed too violent. Despite being struck down as unconstitutional by two separate courts, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear arguments for and against the law from the state of California and the Entertainment Merchants Association. The oral arguments were quite entertaining, and it was clear that support for the law was mixed amongst the nine Supreme Court Justices. Check out my article that tells all about what it was like that day in our nation's capital if you want to know more. Carol Josel, a teacher with over 14 years experience educating children and author of books like Getting School-Wise and 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips, went on record as supporting the law. She cites 30 years of research that "prove" that violent videogames have an effect on children and shows disdain for the ratings already in place by the ESRB.

"Video games: absorbing, interactive, potentially addictive, and, on many occasion, violent - and therein lies much of the problem," Josel wrote on her blog. "That's because many experts believe the brutality our children are exposed to desensitizes them and contributes to aggressive and very unchildlike behavior."

I'd argue that violence is a very childlike behavior, but there's a lot that Josel writes that I don't agree with. She seems to hold the belief that a lot of other videogame opponents share that games are especially corrupting influences because of the very interactivity that makes them games. "These games are uniquely interactive with kids shooting, maiming, even decapitating human beings for amusement," she wrote. The California law is important because a parent cannot play the game and make decisions for themselves. "That's because often the brutality comes only after hours of play and that, for instance, a player must first kill a cop before burning a woman."

Josel goes on to cite various statistics that don't necessarily prove her point. "A survey of 4,028 Connecticut high schoolers found that 6% of boys and 3% of girls reported signs of 'problem' gaming, including 'an irresistible urge to play, trying and failing to cut down on gaming, and feelings of tension that could only be relieved by playing.' Plus, 4% of the girls said they'd gotten into a serious fight, and 8% said they'd carried a weapon," she wrote. I'm not sure how she correlates the 4% of girls who get into fights with videogame play; there is no indication that they are the same 3% who are "problem" gamers.

She outlines the current ratings of the ESRB, but then lumps them all as not good enough. "Adequate? You decide. After all, some would assert that 'minimal violence' and 'crude language' might not be appropriate for a six-year-old or want their 13-year-old exposed to "violent content, mild or strong language, and/or suggestive themes.'"

It's never good for people to make kneejerk judgments, but I'm not sure that Carol Josel knows what she is talking about. She seems to ignore the fact that treating games like pornography or cigarettes through legislation is a slippery slope. Who will decide whether a given game is violent or not? As Supreme Court Justice Scalia wondered, will California appoint a censorship board for games?

The decision of the Supreme Court on this issue will likely be delivered within the next six months. Let's hope that the spirit of creativity and free speech that this country was founded on prevails and that the Supreme Court finds in favor of the EMA.

Source: Schoolwise Books via Gamepolitics

Permalink

I got another solution, parents should actually try being parents and spend time with their children.. oh wait but that would actually fix the problom.

She has an opinion! Good for her! And she teaches small children how to do fractions! Where are her psychology credentials again?

It's not that the actual games themselves are corrupting.. it's just that they induce adrenalin spikes in players, that's what gives the big turn on in shooters and the such.. and people who contantly play are subjected to these higher adrenalin levels more than others.. their bodies become used to higher amounts of adrenalin, they can become addicted to it and when not playing the adrenalin high has to come from somewhere, and it's usually from outbursts of violence.. so do games 'make' you more violent....

Yes, but only as a side effect.

Is too much gaming bad for you.. absolutely.. but intelligent people 'should' know this, and the reasons why.... it's the player's themselves who say that 'gaming is fine'.. but that's like getting a cat to take care of the cream or like asking an addict if his habit is good for him.

You're not going to get answers worth taking seriously from the people who do it, they are too close to the situation and UNABLE to give an objective view.

Woman, if you want to form an actual opinion. why don't you play an actual video game yourself?

That's nice.

...Why are we giving these people free publicity? Let them languish in the obscurity they richly, richly deserve.

Also, she should try Minecraft. If that doesn't win her over to gaming, nothing will.

What I don't get about people who put down ESRB ratings for potentially not aligning with some parents' preferences is that they still want another board to decide and make rated judgments of these games. If you feel it's all too vague and subjective for one board, why would you expect another to work?

subject_87:
That's nice.

...Why are we giving these people free publicity? Let them languish in the obscurity they richly, richly deserve.

Also, she should try Minecraft. If that doesn't win her over to gaming, nothing will.

Exactly, she's just trying to get some views to sell her books me thinks. I know I've never heard of her bathroom toilet-paper substitutes.

Plus, according to Boondocks, Oprah controls women buying patterns, she controls women in general. If Oprah supports the Wii, she supports gaming, so women support gaming.
Which makes this teacher not quite what she seems.

Now there's some research I could get into.

WOMAN DOES THINGS

WHY IS SHE OUT OF THE KITCHEN

Mysoginist joke aside,

"That's because many experts believe the brutality our children are exposed to desensitizes them and contributes to aggressive and very unchildlike behavior."

*sniff*
Smells like oxen droppings.

Canid117:
She has an opinion! Good for her! And she teaches small children how to do fractions! Where are her psychology credentials again?

While plenty of folks use their knowledge of psychology incorrectly, please understand that even breaking into the business as a licensed teacher requires an extensive curriculum that centers on child/developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, and a ton of study on the psychology of motivation and learning. Becoming a math teacher doesn't mean just taking a bunch of math classes. That's really only half of what we do in our studies.

Hell, even a basic first-year bachelor's degree elementary educator knows far more about how children learn and grow than most parents--simply by virtue of the fact that they were required to actually study it, and parents don't even have to read a pamphlet to have a child.

So, she is a fruitcake... but don't throw every teacher into that category is all I'm saying.

I didn't make it far enough in farmville to kill a cop or set a woman on fire.

Anyway, maybe the ESRB should change the wording of and maybe even add an extra rating to their scale so as to make it negligent-parent idiot proof. Her input doesn't really change anything though. The decision isn't hers to make.

edit Is anybody else strongly reminded of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter movies when they see that woman's picture?

I don't suppose you'd consider running a more impartial story?

Well I needed a good laugh to start the day. Thank you very much you crazy lady.

So... yet another idiot against gaming? That's only hundredth one this week... Seriously, why do you bother publicizing this stuff? Sure if it's a celebrity or something some people might be interested but... some angry woman? There are lots of those!

This again? Please play these games before you openly reject and condemn them. I'm off to play some ME2 to soothe my RAGE!

Greg Tito:
snip

It's unfortunate, but a lot of the folks labeled as "progressive" in education are just on a crusade to put bumpers on the whole world. And they are labeled "progressive" and given awards by politicians due to political maneuvering.

See, these sorts of educators, by claiming it's the whole world that has to be adapted to prevent anyone from ever feeling a negative feeling, these teachers are essentially telling parents, "Nothing that goes wrong with your child's development is the least bit your fault." This makes parents happy, and they tend to do a lot of voting. That includes voting for school boards, which are often comprised of business/political-minded people looking for a stepping stone to a career in politics.

So, happy parents mean happy politicians, so those politicians promote educational practices that center around telling parents how "right" they are about everything, and tell kids how "great" they are for having done... well... not much at all, pretty often. Because happy people are easier to sway than smart people. And the fact is that you can fire a teacher who disagrees, but not a parent.

It's all political gaming. We are being told that this is what a good educator is--one who advocates "for the children." And then, in a bizarre cycle, the fact that she is thusly a "good educator" for backing this cause means that this cause is more valid because a "good educator" is backing it.

"The California law is important because the parent cannot play the game and make decisions for themselves" What? The parents cannot come to a decision on a game. They cannot have an opinion on a game. You are allowed to teach aren't you? Seriously that just baffles me, the parents cannot make decisions for themselves. "An irresponsible urge to play" *gasp* you mean these kid really like playing games, well that is just absurd, gaming as a hobby. So 4% of the 3% of the percentage of the kids who were girls who play games have gotten into a serious fight. I want to go to this school, there are fights in my school every day. Also so every other girl (97%) have never been in a fight? This shows me that these girls who play games are even less likely to have a fight.

I'd just like to put forward the notion that games aren't addictive, but a very (very very very) select few can become addicted to them.

I mean, cigarettes are addictive, because the overwhelming majority of people who smoke feel they need them. That ain't the case with games.

First of all, I must say it, and I knew it would be as soon as I saw the title, but OMFG IT'S ANOTHER FEMALE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES!!! So is she gonna try to tell me that no % of this class has the "irresistible urge" to watch t.v?...cuz I'm willing to bet that % is much higher than 4. And to call violence an unchildlike behavior....when you're a teacher?!?! We're talking about human children right?

psrdirector:
I got another solution, parents should actually try being parents and spend time with their children.. oh wait but that would actually fix the problom.

Assume the law is in place and minors can't just buy M rated games. Now their parents have to go in and get it for them. Their attention will be much more likely to be drawn to the game and the content as described on the back. Now they're paying at least a bit more attention to what their son/daughter is playing and will hopefully not buy it. Now they don't walk in on a decapitation and complain on Fox News. Where is the problem with this?

poiumty:

WOMAN DOES THINGS

WHY IS SHE OUT OF THE KITCHEN

Mysoginist joke aside,

"That's because many experts believe the brutality our children are exposed to desensitizes them and contributes to aggressive and very unchildlike behavior."

*sniff*
Smells like oxen droppings.

Agree wholeheartedly, also 30 years of research on violent games? She'd have had to start that research in 1980 at the latest, I'm not sure Violent gaming's been around long enough for that, I too smell manure and it's none too fresh.

Can somebody find me the most violent game available during the mid to late 70's please?

"Parents can't play every game" but reviewers can. And Parents can research the games plot, and gameplay and deem it 'to violent.'

"Parents can't play every game" but reviewers can. And Parents can research the games plot, and gameplay and deem it 'to violent.'

I read that text, then I look at that photo and all I see is
image

Hmmm. So parents are completely unequipped to judge a game because the violent bits might come later. After you've put Barbie on her horse and sent her trotting along to town to exchange makeup tips, she will then change into her camo and start bustin' caps in the local gangbangers? Um, no, Ms. Josel. The violence in a game goes with the subject matter and if you can't figure out that a game called "Mafia" is not right for your kids, getting the government to do your thinking for you isn't going to save little Johnny or Jenny.

And out of 4,028 high schoolers, only four and a half percent (I'm going to assume an equal number of boys and girls and split the two percentages listed) get excited by gaming? That's one hundred and eighty kids who really enjoy it. What are the remaining 3,848 doing? Ah, right, another twenty of the girls are getting in major fights and another eighty-one of 'em are packing heat, assuming of course that all the girls already listed as gamers are gun-toting fistfighters. Wonder how many of the other students are armed and have a tendancy to throw punches. Maybe this survey was taken in one of those fringe schools with rumbles and such.

Ms. Josel, please sit down and stop spewing your drivel where the rest of us have to step in it. Your arrogance makes me wonder just what other nonsense you give to your students as fact. Oh, and the "absorbing, interactive, potentially addictive, and, on many occasions, violent" label you slapped on video games can also be attached to another popular school pursuit: drama class. So if you're planning on warning folks against the evils of "Neverwinter Nights", be sure to keep "Hamlet" and "Carousel" away from the teens too. Who knows what ideas they might form with those horrors.

moretimethansense:

poiumty:

WOMAN DOES THINGS

WHY IS SHE OUT OF THE KITCHEN

Mysoginist joke aside,

"That's because many experts believe the brutality our children are exposed to desensitizes them and contributes to aggressive and very unchildlike behavior."

*sniff*
Smells like oxen droppings.

Agree wholeheartedly, also 30 years of research on violent games? She'd have had to start that research in 1980 at the latest, I'm not sure Violent gaming's been around long enough for that, I too smell manure and it's none too fresh.

Can somebody find me the most violent game available during the mid to late 70's please?

Donkey Kong maybe?

C14N:

psrdirector:
I got another solution, parents should actually try being parents and spend time with their children.. oh wait but that would actually fix the problom.

Assume the law is in place and minors can't just buy M rated games. Now their parents have to go in and get it for them. Their attention will be much more likely to be drawn to the game and the content as described on the back. Now they're paying at least a bit more attention to what their son/daughter is playing and will hopefully not buy it. Now they don't walk in on a decapitation and complain on Fox News. Where is the problem with this?

The problem is they won't, the kids will whine and the parents will cave exactly like that which happens now(hell that's how I got my games).
All that will change is gaming will have been fucked by pointless laws for absolutely no reason and no longer enjoy the protection of any other artistic medium.

The daft thing is, restricting violent video games sales to children is surely a good thing, along with dvds of movies and TV?

Is there no way we can make this happen without casting video games into some pit of artless condemnation?

I'm assuming there's too much cash in Hollywood, and so the laws on DVD ratings won't change?

psrdirector:
I got another solution, parents should actually try being parents and spend time with their children.. oh wait but that would actually fix the problom.

This right here is exactly what I've been telling people for the last 6 months. At what point does it become the parents responsibility to raise their own children?.

It's ridiculous.

Greg Tito:
I'm not sure how she correlates the 4% of girls who get into fights with videogame play; there is no indication that they are the same 3% who are "problem" gamers.

3% of girls have a gaming problem. 8% of girls carry a weapon. Therefore, 3% of girls are insane gamers and 5% are... just insane...?

(Sigh.) Dubious studies bandied about by people with no math skills who want to sound authoritative by using the word "percent" a lot. After all, 25% is so much more accurate than "one quarter"!

If you want dubious correlations, we could compare her "save the children from evil" stance with her predecessor, Pat Pulling, who once claimed that 8 percent of the Richmond [VA]-area population is involved with Satanic worship at some level. That's 56,000 people. A number she arrived at by adding 4% of teenagers and 4% of adults.

See? Math are smart making!

Canid117:

moretimethansense:

poiumty:
snip
snip

snip

Donkey Kong maybe?

1981 no dice.

SenseOfTumour:
The daft thing is, restricting violent video games sales to children is surely a good thing, along with dvds of movies and TV?

Is there no way we can make this happen without casting video games into some pit of artless condemnation?

I'm assuming there's too much cash in Hollywood, and so the laws on DVD ratings won't change?

Well there's :
The ERSB,
The PEGI ratings board,
The BBFC,
The fact that most places ID check nowadays
Also(and this is a crazy thought) the parents could just check the fucking ratings right on the fucking box!
It's not that fucking hard.

Greg Tito:
"The California law is important because a parent cannot play the game and make decisions for themselves."

Oh that right there is pure gold! So she's basically saying that all parents are incompetent!
I sure hope she doesn't mind if I quote her on that.

moretimethansense:

SenseOfTumour:
The daft thing is, restricting violent video games sales to children is surely a good thing, along with dvds of movies and TV?

Is there no way we can make this happen without casting video games into some pit of artless condemnation?

I'm assuming there's too much cash in Hollywood, and so the laws on DVD ratings won't change?

Well there's :
The ERSB,
The PEGI ratings board,
The BBFC,
The fact that most places ID check nowadays
Also(and this is a crazy thought) the parents could just check the fucking ratings right on the fucking box!
It's not that fucking hard.

Well, indeed. It's not us that need convincing however, we can understand the concept of numbers on a box meaning 'not suitable for people under the age of'.

I rather meant passing it as a law, is there no way this could happen to both games and dvds, like in the UK, without it declaring that they have no artistic merit, or is this one of those constitution things?

Greg Tito:
The California law is important because a parent cannot play the game and make decisions for themselves.

WRONG. That is one of the most willfully ignorant statements I have heard out of these people.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here