ARIN6902: Games censorship


Impacting the Lives of Others

The current video games censorship debate is a long and fruitful one. Moral panics, government consultation papers, classification issues, the impact on the economy and our youth are all significant reasons that influence our interest in the topic. With violent video games featuring abhorrent content allegedly impacting our younger generation by playing on their vulnerability to induce violence, it is indeed a worrying factor for many parents. It is hard for parents to make an informed choice in what their children see and what they participate in front of a computer screen in the current ambiguous classification process. Moreover, the interactive nature of violent video games has been categorised as ‘violence breeding violence’, but there is little evidence to suggest this explicit assumption.

In my opinion, what is important in the current climate of games censorship is the impact that the consumption of these violent video games has on the lives of others, in that one individual’s consumption openly affects someone else. As brought forward in the Q&A episode screened in July 2008, who really is the judge in deciding what Australians are allowed or not allowed to see in a wider societal context of the freedom of choice of citizens? One point raised in the Q&A episode is the current gambling problem regarding pokies. It can be said that problem gambling is a more important societal problem than violent video games, but the government lets it go on because of the revenue streams that they capitilise on from the habits of the punters. If violence breeds violence then gambling breeds gambling. There are open problems with gambling affecting the people surrounding the gambler, but what are the real problems of a gamer and his/her gaming habits on the individuals surrounding them?

We all know the risks involved with violent video games, but it’s slightly condescending on the government’s behalf to choose what they think is appropriate for our eyes and what is not. What is important in the censorship of interactive games is that it is a guide for the citizens of Australia to make an informed choice as to what they want to see and consume. As soon as we truly see the impact of violent content on the mind and the affect on the lives of the people around the gamers, a clearer point of view free from moral panics will materialise and we’ll be able to truly make an informed choice. This may be idealistic, but a more transparent approach would benefit all parties.

References

‘Q&A (ABC1) R Rated Video Games’ (2008) Accessible at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4KR3nmDpz0&feature=related Accessed 21st May 2010