The video game industry seems to delight in pushing the envelope -- and the bounds of good taste -- with ever-gorier content. That has put it under renewed attack from legislators and activists who claim some titles must be kept out of kids' hands, though courts have repeatedly granted games First Amendment protections.
The opponents cite new research that they say suggests strong links between violent games and aggressive behavior. They are disturbed by games' cultural ubiquity and the always-improving technology that makes virtual gore more realistic than ever.
"Pediatricians and psychologists have been warning us that violent video games are harmful to children," said Mary Lou Dickerson, a Democratic legislator in Washington state who wrote a law now being challenged in federal court -- banning the sale of some violent games to kids. "I'm optimistic that the courts will heed their warnings."
Lawmakers in at least seven states proposed bills during the most recent legislative session that would restrict the sale of games, part of a wave that began when the 1999 Columbine High School shootings sparked an outcry over games and violence. None of the measures that passed have survived legal challenge.
The game industry says legislating ultra-violent games out of the hands of children would deal a severe blow to free speech. Game companies point to the industry-imposed ratings system that gives detailed descriptions of violence in a game and labels some titles as "mature" or "adults only." ...more at Yahoo News