OUR VIEW: Parents, take on role with kids’ ‘free speech’Parents, be warned: Some video games are terribly violent, explicit and inappropriate for children. And after a ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court, states cannot ban the sale or rental of violent video games to kids.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Parents, be warned: Some video games are terribly violent, explicit and inappropriate for children. And after a ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court, states cannot ban the sale or rental of violent video games to kids.
The court voted 7-2 to throw out a 2005 California law that limited sales of violent games to kids, saying it is unconstitutional and a violation of free-speech rights. According to Justice Antonin Scalia, “Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply.”
Except, of course, when it comes to pornography, which children cannot purchase. When it comes to free speech, we don’t necessarily see how the courts can differentiate between a dirty magazine and an ultra-violent video game, but that’s not our call.
Actually, we don’t disagree with the ruling on violent video games, since we feel that’s a local-control issue, i.e., one that rests upon the shoulders of parents.
When it comes to what a child watches on television, sees on the Internet or plays through a video game system, parents need to have strong oversight. We marvel at the parents who complain about the explicitness of certain television shows, yet don’t seem to take the action to limit their children from watching them.
Once again, we warn parents that video games aren’t all fun and games. The same can be said for certain music, books and TV shows.
Scalia, in his opinion, wrote that nonobscene speech “cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them.”
So states can’t inhibit kids from playing these games. Fair enough.
The Supreme Court did not, however, say parents can’t.