There have been quite a few questions in the media and legally about what the justice system can do to regulate the gaming community without infringing on individual’s rights. I think we all know how I feel about that, but if you don’t, I believe that every person has a right to play whatever they want, but when it comes to children, we need to protect them. Sometimes that means knowing more than they do, sometimes that means regulating by law what they can and cannot do, and sometimes, just sometimes it means stepping up to the plate and doing what is right, but not what is always popular.
I came across a CNN article about the gaming industry in Japan and how they are allowed to create anything without being censored. The reporter was explaining how this greatly affects us here in America. If you have access to the internet, you can download any video game that is created anywhere in the world, not just the ones that are deemed acceptable by our own government. There was a video game that was created in Japan called RapeLay. It is a video game that was created to simulate a rapist who can follow, groom, and then rape their victims which could be females, children, etc. It was actually sold on Amazon for a short period of time, until the uproar caused by the public forced them to remove it from the website. I am appalled that Amazon was ever going to sell the game, but the fact that it was created in the first place is unsettling as well. The reporter actually interviewed a couple in England that was able to download the game onto their computer via skype and play it as if they had bought the game off the shelf at their local Walmart.
I believe that as parents, and community leaders, as caregivers, educators, and citizens of the United States, we need to ask the gaming community to not allow any games to be downloaded via the internet that are not sanctioned by their companies. Similar to television V-chips, I think there should be a lock available for computers that can allow parents to filter the material that can be downloaded on computers, or foreign material that isn’t regulated by our own government.
That may or may not ever take place, so instead of waiting around, what can you do? My husband and I were asking this question the other night, this is what we’ve come up with:
We were talking about what we will do when our children become the age where they will be encoutering innappropriate media with or without our supervision. My husband’s first reaction will be that he will make sure that he knows more than they do in regards to the games that are out there, and the movies that are available. I think that is great, more power to him and to all of the parents out there that can do that.
I also said that I would put any video game consule that we have out in the common area so that whatever game they play will be in full view of the entire family. That was one thing that prevented me from watching inappropriate television when I was growing up, because the only television we had was in the family room for all to see! We also talked about going over the ratings system and finding out why they are rated the way they are and what other “gamers” are posting about this particular game before we purchase it. My husband says that he will periodically watch them playing the game, and this includes at the beginning, through out the middle and at the end.
But what happens when we aren’t home? What happens when he or she is at a friend’s house that doesn’t believe exactly what we believe? What happens when he or she stumble upon something inappropriate?
It’s on these questions that we would love to see some government action. Maybe it’s an awareness campaign, similar to the anti drug public service announcements of the 1980’s and 1990’s, maybe it is stricter distribution on suspect material, maybe it’s increased regulation on what can be produced. Even with all of these things, with the ease of information distribution on the internet, it’s going to take the vigilance of parents to protect our children.