Should video game content be regulated beyond ratings?

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Welcome to my HubPages venue for "Just Saying My Piece!". Here, I hope to share some of my personal commentary and philosophy regarding a wide variety of trending topics, including politics, religion, education, society, culture, and much more. Please feel free to leave comments and have a go at the poll questions, too!

The debate...

Video games have now been around for several decades. Throughout that time, many questions have arisen regarding what some of the subject-matter and portrayed attitudes might be doing to certain people's thinking...especially young, vulnerable, and impressionable children.

In the early days, when technology offered only simple games like Pac-Man, Asteroids, Donkey-Kong, Tetris, and the like, few real concerns were raised, with possible exception that they might be somewhat "addictive" and might take people away from more important things, and some might even contribute to a few minor physical (or emotional?) idiosyncrasies. The fact that Pac-Man was "gobbling up dots" didn't seem too harmful, nor did Asteroid's "shoot-'em-up" scenario, nor Donkey-Kong's "get-the-girl-from-the-gorilla" challenge.

Of course, we know the games have changed to include just about anything imaginable today. Some of the modern games are pretty harmless as far as attitudes and violence go, but many are not, at least in my opinion. Some games glorify killing, some glorify crime, some glorify sex, some glorify bullying, harsh language (profanity), arrogance, blood and guts, and on it goes.

Video games can be significantly helpful in some educational scenarios, as long as they are not full of negativity or various forms of mistreatment and causing of harm to others in the game-play. Some video games can help with hand-eye coordination, organizational skills, typing skills, and more; and such benefits should certainly be recognized and promoted for what they can do. But, it still remains that other video games are NOT helpful...in fact, some are actually harmful...as scientific studies already show.

It is not favorable to resort to government regulations, but it might be the only way out of the current mire we find ourselves in with regard to some of the ugliness and outright criminal traits being glorified in some of today's video games. Couple that with high-definition, 3D graphics, over-the-top soundtracks, and all the other things that go into these games, and you have a recipe for some very powerful and not-always-very-good influences that will have an effect on anyone...not just our kids.

It's time to tell our government representatives they need to step in...very minimally, but firmly...to tell video game producers they cannot continue to promote things that are clearly in opposition to fostering peace and harmony and tolerance between people. Use the link below to make your contact.

What do YOU think?

Do some video games negatively influence children's thinking and behavior?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Slightly
  • To a great extent
  • Don't know, don't care!
See results without voting

Should video game subject-matter and attitude-related content be regulated beyond the ratings?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting

Comments 9 comments

JohnGreasyGamer profile image

JohnGreasyGamer 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

Nice review on the age rating system and what it's become. Yet I think that for games to affect a child, they've firstly got to have access to it. A lot of stores in the UK over the past 3 years have been asking more frequently, "are you older than [age here]"? Plus, if they're suspicious they can refuse purchase - this crackdown is showing great change in how our children live their lives.

Of course, what I really mean is bad parents with stupid kids - they have no excuse for blaming the BBFC or equivilents, when they didn't read the ratings and reasons "why" it's got that mark.

Yet even by making age-ratings, that's still not enough. While we can't get much firmer than that once the game has been produced, major factors can be reduced in-game or during production (less gore, censore some lyrics, reduce bad and unneccessary language). Great Hub, voted up! ^^


w1z111 profile image

w1z111 4 years ago from New England, USA Author

Hi John...thanks for your feedback. Yeah, I think the day is here when we might have to do some serious looking at some of what we (parents, adults) allow, but we also need help from regulators, I think; not to have them remove freedom of expression/speech entirely, but at least to have some oversight and enforcement measures to minimize the production of (or at least the access to) some themes, or subject-matter that has been shown to adversely affect how children think, act, and generally behave in any given scenarios and situations. I really don't like more government controls, but I think some things need more of them (while clearly, some others need less of them). Someday it'll likely work itself out; hopefully in positive ways. Thanks again...and thx, too, for the vote-up!


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 4 years ago from Sunny Scotland

Nice hub and gaming is a topic close to my heart.

I have been a gamer since the 8-bit days and have fond memories of the early home computer boom in the 1980s.

Manic Miner, Pac-Man, Chequered Flag, Night Gunner....

Gaming of course has come a long way since then and many modern games are realistic and include graphic violence, swearing, heavy soundtracks and more.

The point is that games that contain those features are not for children - I for one let my kids play Wii Sports, Mario Kart, Cars 2 etc - but there is no way I would let them play COD etc until they are older.

Games can be beneficial and computer use leads to better typing skills, problem solving, hand-eye co-ordination and increased reflexes.

I played games (a lot more!) when I was a kid - but it was always balanced with being outside playing football, tennis or good old hide and seek.

Gaming is good, but like anything else, you can have too much of a good thing.


w1z111 profile image

w1z111 4 years ago from New England, USA Author

Hi RetroBrothers...thanks for your feedback. Yeah, I know some of my thinking on the video game world is surely 'tainted' by my age and my own experience with the earlier, less powerful (speaking of influence power) games. And, I haven't even played any of the newer, more realistic ones...but I have seen ads and trailers for some of them; and it really frightens me (there's my age showing again I guess). I cannot fathom how a society can 'accept' and even promote the kind of things portrayed in them, but I guess I should learn to accept it, cuz I don't think it's going away anytime soon. If anything, it'll probably get even more scary...once they figure out how to make the holographic formats available for general consumer use. Yikes! Gimme a break! lol Thanks, again...happy gaming!


w1z111 profile image

w1z111 4 years ago from New England, USA Author

Hah! What irony lurks behind those Google Ads? I write something against some of the video game content, and what does Google do? Puts up an ad for a game that probably has some of that very stuff in it! Yeeeesh! Is there any way to choose what kind of ads get placed??


JohnGreasyGamer profile image

JohnGreasyGamer 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

I think the only way you can control ads is to pay to have them removed. Not entirely sure, but it would be good choosing the ads. Problem is that people might choose the most popular ones, and start using them to make money with Adsense, etc. ^^


w1z111 profile image

w1z111 4 years ago from New England, USA Author

Hi again John...yeah, my hubs are "monetized" for Adsense already...(not that they earn much, but...). I'll have to look into the ad settings to see if there's any choices. Thanks again.


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 4 years ago from Sunny Scotland

Hi W1z111 - thanks for the response.

In general I have no problem with modern 'more realistic' games - I think that some of these games are not for children - but this is not a problem as there are still thousands of games that are.

I for one enjoyed (on the PC) stuff like Half Life, AvP, COD, the DOOM series - sometimes the scarier the better!

The Grand Theft Auto games have always garnered a certain amount of publicity due to the nature of the game - but for me they have been enjoyable if taken with a pinch of salt.

Even back in the 80s and 90s there were certain games that were shrouded in controversy - Barbarian due to the 'risque' nature of the cassette sleeve and the 'violence' of the game, Brutal Sports Football, Sam Fox Strip Poker, Cannon Fodder....

Whatever the era it will always raise debate.


w1z111 profile image

w1z111 4 years ago from New England, USA Author

Hi again, RetroBrothers...yeah, I'm with you I guess. I have no issues with some of the simpler games, and I applaud any game creators who try to keep them as "benign" as possible. I'd like to see games promote more positive things like teaching principles that lead to people getting along with each other, instead of fighting with each other. Unfortunately, it seems those kinds of games don't raise the adrenalin levels enough, or something. Anyway, I hope someday we learn that promoting negativity will bring about more negativity; promoting positivity will bring about more positivity. I think it really is as simple as that. Thanks again...

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