The Supreme Court on Monday refused the state of California to prevent the sale or rental of violent video games to children. Despite claiming that new video games promote violence and aggressive behavior in youth,
the court stated that governments lack the authority to “restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.” The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento ruled that the proposed law violated the 1st amendment rights of minors.
“No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm,” said Justice Antonin Scalia. “But that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”
With the advancement of technologies paired with the implementation of intricate storylines, video games are now more than ever an expression of artistic creativity. Unsurprisingly, California game creators were overjoyed upon hearing the ruling. “There now can be no argument whether video games are entitled to the same protection as books, movies, music, and other expressive entertainment,” said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.
When you think about it, violent books have been accessible to children for quite some time. There is no restriction on Amazon that will prevent a 10-year old from purchasing a Stephen King novel. And even if there is, you can always lie about your age. So what is it about video games that makes the act of fighting or shooting so palpable when compared to its media counterparts? Besides, don’t we already have the ESRB regulating game ratings for parents?