Violent video games: Should minors be able to buy them?

When video games first burst onto the kid scene, I interviewed a doctor who told me that he thought the games would be good for young children because they would improve their hand-eye coordination.

Does anybody still believe that video games help children?

I wonder whether video gaming has contributed to the lack of sustained focus in students that teachers often cite. I would be curious if long-time teachers see any difference in the generation of children — now in high school and beyond — raised on a daily diet of video games.

I am not a big fan of electronic gaming, although my boys play them. My older teen plays rarely now, but my younger one loves the soccer video games.  I limit him to soccer and Zelda games because he is only 11. But he is well aware that Halo is out there.

Now, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors is legal. I am not sure why violent videos are treated differently than explicit sexual material under the law, but they are.

Should they be?

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Two lower courts struck down the law as an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of speech. California appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that lawmakers should be able to restrict sales of violent videogames to those under 18 just as they can restrict the sale of sexual material to minors. The high court said in a one-line order that it will hear the state’s appeal.

California said violent videogames harmed minors psychologically and made them more likely to exhibit violent antisocial or aggressive behavior. The state also said that industry self-regulation was a failure.

Two trade associations challenged the law in court, arguing that videogames are “a modern form of artistic expression” and are entitled to First Amendment protection. The associations said the industry’s voluntary rating system for videogames had been a successful effort to inform consumers and parents about the games’ content.

A federal trial judge in San Jose and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals each ruled that the state did not have sufficient evidence to support the claim that violent videogames harmed minors. The courts also said there were other, less restrictive ways to prevent minors from playing the games, such as parental controls on some gaming systems.

Other states have passed similar laws, but none of them have survived legal challenges brought by the video-game industry.

96 comments Add your comment

fred

April 28th, 2010
8:03 am

Treat the video games the same as movies. And yes I do still believe that there is evidene out there that says that video gaming is good for hand eye coordination. However there is no way that I as a parent am going to let my daughters play these violent games (halo, gears of war,or some of the grand theft auto games) but that is my decision as a parent. If you do not want your kids playing certain games, do not buy the games for them, do not allow a game system in their rooms (ours is set up in the playroom next to our bedroom), and most of all talk to your kids, Maybe even play a few games with them. Who knows you may even learn a thing or two from them and spend a few good hours playing with them as a bonus

catlady

April 28th, 2010
8:05 am

I have always said that video games provide nothing positive that playing in the dirt, building a treehouse, swinging a baseball bat, kicking a ball, drawing a picture, or writing a story does not provide. Strategy? Board games can provide an opportunity to do that–but it takes someone to play WITH you, instead of park you in front of a screen.

On the other hand, I took a survey one time with my students–about 120 kids. Those who spent the most time playing video games (regardless of income) were the most likely to be behind or have behavior/attention problems. Too small a sample, of course, (tell the governor), but significant. Didn’t have to combine any answers to get the results, either. (What the gov did was called, euphamistically, “massaging the data.”

Parents, be parents not progenitors!

A Different Opinion

April 28th, 2010
8:08 am

Violent video games use by teens contribute (just like drugs, alcohol, violent movies, movies and television programs with sexual overtones, etc.) to violence in our public schools……period. Anyone who can’t see this has their head stuck in the sand. When are you gonna wake up parents……oh, I forgot, most of you don’t even care…please excuse me.

Morrus

April 28th, 2010
8:09 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

catlady

April 28th, 2010
8:09 am

Starting off in good form. I am 0 for 1 with the blog filter.

Peadawg

April 28th, 2010
8:11 am

“Violent video games use by teens contribute to violence in our public schools……period.”

Oh boy! This sounds more like a parenting/discipline problem to me. It’s sad how parents blame everybody/everything else for their kids bad behavior..except themselves.

Just Saying...

April 28th, 2010
8:14 am

Again this is a situation where the state is trying to parent the child. There are plenty of items that are “not for children” but children receive those items anyway because the parent or another adult buys the item for the child.

Recently I was in a game store and watch a parent asked the child [about 12 yrs old] what games he wanted. The child picked out Call of Duty 2 Modern Warfare and Saints Row 2. Even after being warned by the store associate that the games were mature and should not be played by children, the parent bought both anyway.

This is an industry that has been treated differently than any other. There is an Adult-Only rating in games, however you do not have any games with an AO rating because no game console will allow the game to be played on their “family friendly” console.

For those that do not know about game ratings, the definitions are below.

EARLY CHILDHOOD
Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

EVERYONE 10+
Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

TEEN
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

MATURE
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. [Even have 17+ on the actual game cover]

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

RATING PENDING
Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

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You Dolts

April 28th, 2010
8:18 am

What about the parents’ responsibilities? You people are too quick to put the responsibility on the government and the taxpayers. Ridiculous!

I grew up during the age of video games. In fact, I currently own one now as an adult. I make good money, I have a good family, and I am a responsible 31 year old adult. My parents made me that way. If they wanted me to be a lout, they would have let me have any game I wanted and would have let me play hours-upon-hours without any regard to schoolwork; but they didn’t.

It’s time to stop putting parenting on the government and time to start holding parents responsible. It’s not Uncle Sam’s job to raise your kids; IT’S YOURS!

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RxDawg

April 28th, 2010
8:27 am

Sigh…I grew up playing video games. All sorts. Cutesy ones, violent ones, whatever. Now I’m a doctor in pharmacy and consider myself to be reasonbly successful (thanks to my hard work) and reasonbly normal (subjective at best). Heck, I still love to get immersed in a great video game when I can make the time to. I think “they” are looking in the wrong place on this one. It’s probably more important to raise your kids on good ideals and ethics. That’s what I’m going to focus on with mine.

Randy

April 28th, 2010
8:27 am

“What about the parents’ responsibilities? You people are too quick to put the responsibility on the government and the taxpayers. Ridiculous!”

The cost to the rest of us when parents fail is less when we can be proactive with things like this. People who think giving full responsibility to an incompetent parent will cause the problem to magically disappear for society display a tremendous amount of ignorance. Save it for a tea party.

Lori

April 28th, 2010
8:29 am

I don’t think it is necessarily that the violent video games themselves contribute to children’s violence, but rather the type of parents that would allow their child to play those types of video games. Either its a parent that doesn’t care, or one that is never around. Either of those would be a more important contributing factor.

I do think games should be rated like movies. If you are under the age that the rating requires, then they shouldn’t sell them to you. I have a 6 year old boy. I let him play fun games, like many of the games on teh wii, but no way will he play, now or ever while living in my house, games like Grand Theft Auto and other games that promote violence and/or explicit content.

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Legend of Len Barker

April 28th, 2010
8:44 am

Interesting that they say self-regulation has been a failure. From what little I know about the history of video games, it isn’t. Unless they want to say that movie rating regulations have been a failure. A parent allowing a child to play violent video games is no different than a parent allowing his or her child to see Full Metal Jacket or one of the slasher flicks that seem to come out around Halloween every year.

Parents can’t proclaim ignorance on what their child is playing. Somewhere between 15-20 years ago, video games began using a rating system, with full descriptions on why a game got the rating it did. At some video game store chains refuse to sell “M” rated games to minors.

Arguably, the video games have even more control over their product than the movie industry. Nintendo was burned by an outside company making compatible games for the NES without approval in the 1980s and introduced a lockout chip for the Super Nintendo. Every major game company has similar practices for their consoles.

The movie industry cannot boast this, at least based on the knockoff tables at the local flea market.

Proud Black Man

April 28th, 2010
8:44 am

The white right LOVES violence so the Califonia law will probably be struck down. Contrast this with same sex marriage and shake your head of the hypocrisy.

tion

April 28th, 2010
8:47 am

I would not like my son to play graphic violent video games, but I don’t think it should be a criminal act for others if they choose to play them.

Also, I think its important to limit the time allowed for video games. Get and egg timer. When they sit down to play, tell them, “OK, you have 30 minutes” or and hour. But don’t let them play for hours on end.

commoncents

April 28th, 2010
8:54 am

Wow PBM… then why is so much of the actual violence from the other side of the aisle?

Old Fart

April 28th, 2010
8:56 am

I remember when we had to go the arcade and put quarters in the machine just to play Pac-Man. It never made me violent – just hungry.

commoncents

April 28th, 2010
9:01 am

Of course, i’m sure that these kids with the problems had these video games handed to them, not as a reward, but for being mommy’s little angel who does no wrong. When I was growing up and wanted a video game system, I wasn’t given it. I had to work to make money (household chores) to be able to buy one. Then I was only allowed to use it on rainy days when I couldn’t be outside and when it wasn’t a school night.

Parents need to start being parents again and stop trying to be friends

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Been There

April 28th, 2010
9:14 am

I am 27 years old who played video games religiously everyday since I was 6, 2-3 hours a day and a bunch on the weekends. My parents allowed me to play violent games because they understood I knew what was fiction/fantasy and what was real. They let me watch all the Nightmare on Elm Streets and Chucky movies when I was young. They taught me very early on that what I play and watch in movies is not real life and never to assume it is. They beat that into my head everyday.

I graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA and then went to UGA. I joined the National Guard and have been to Iraq and Afghanistan and now I work in the police department. I still play video games here and there but obviously not as much since I have a family of my own.

The problem is absolutely the parents. My parents took an interest in what I was playing and just made sure that I wasn’t becoming “unstable” by playing them but there was never any worry because of what they always tried instilling in me when I was younger. Parents who absolutely forbid video games and violent video games are doing more harm than good. You can’t protect them forever, they’ll find a way to play it. Just trust what they are doing. Don’t bring up the comparisons between drugs and video games, either. Drugs are illegal and a child can get that through their head eventually. Video games are not illegal and so if you try to forbid it, they don’t understand why. They understand that drugs are illegal and can get you in more trouble than just with their parents.

Just monitor what they are playing and TALK to them about the games they are playing.

GAMomof3

April 28th, 2010
9:20 am

This is a hot button for me as I have a 15 y/old who I believe is addicted to video games. We are working with him and a therapist and the Dr. likened it to being on crack…the endorphins that are released while the kids play these games make them feel good. I confess to buying the latest game for my son, and that is my own fault for not reading up on what I was buying before-hand.

RxDawg

April 28th, 2010
9:25 am

Been There, good post.

Just Saying...

April 28th, 2010
9:30 am

I cannot find my comment, so here it is again.

Again this is a situation where the state is trying to parent the child. There are plenty of items that are “not for children” but children receive those items anyway because the parent or other adults buy the items for the children.

Recently I was in a game store and watch as a parent asked the child [about 12 yrs old] what games he wanted. The child picked out Call of Duty 2 Modern Warfare and Saints Row 2. Even after being warned by the store associate that the games had a mature rating and should not be played by children, the parent bought both games anyway. When we returned to the store a few weeks later, the same store associate told us how the parent came back to complain about the language and violence of the games.

This is an industry that has been treated differently than any other. There is an Adult-Only rating in games, however you do not have any games with an AO rating because no game console will allow the game to be played on their “family friendly” console.

For those that do not know about game ratings, the definitions are below.

EARLY CHILDHOOD
Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

EVERYONE 10+
Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

TEEN
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

MATURE
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. [Even have 17+ on the actual game cover]

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

RATING PENDING
Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

Just Saying...

April 28th, 2010
9:33 am

My comments are not showing.

V for Vendetta

April 28th, 2010
9:33 am

What else can we not handle? What else does the government need to do for us? I don’t think video games (or movies, for that matter) should be rated. It should be up PARENTS to find things out. They’re the ones who buy the games. Last time I checked, young children did not have their own money.

I can’t believe this. I really can’t. I’m going on the Secretary of State website this afternoon and printing out the forms for running for office. Apparently very few people actually want to do anything about our out-of-control government. (I’m sick of all the tea baggers running their mouths but accomplishing NOTHING. We all know they’re going to be absorbed by the Christian Right anyway.)

Small government starts with YOU. That’s the only place it can start. And if you’re not willing to do something about it, no matter how small, then you have no right to complain. Let’s get something done instead of talking about it.

catlady

April 28th, 2010
9:39 am

Ms. Downey, can you free the captive? (about 8 am)

Glen

April 28th, 2010
9:45 am

First off you admit that you let you 11 year old play a Teen Rated game(Zelda). To be honest there is hardly a difference between Zelda and Halo, you are using a weapon to kill enemies. Halo uses fictional weapons(some based off real weapons), but Zelda uses all real weapons like swords and a bow and arrow, weapons that have real counterparts. In Zelda the player is killing fantasy enemies, while Halo it is Alien Enemies. The main difference in the rating is the small amount of Alien blood and the multiplayer option of Halo. Both have the same amount of violence. Even so, you as a parent have every right to decide what is best for your kid.

Realistically we in the industry don’t want kids playing ultra-violent video games, and we want have a better record keeping the adult rated material out of the hands of kids than movie industry and the music industry according to the FCC and the FTC. Why only target one media?
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/secretshop.shtm
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-10345920-62.html

Second studies are very conflicting as to the result if violent video games are bad for youth.

Third, under the law, even Super Mario Bros. could be considered to be banned for sale for using violence(in the form of jumping or fireball) to incapacitate or kill and enemy. This is ridiculous.

To this date, not a single video game law has been upheld in a court of law, I think the only reason the Supreme Court took this case was to settle the issue once and for all. I have no doubt they’ll side with the industry.

jms

April 28th, 2010
10:09 am

Just like movies, parents should first learn the sex & violence content and decide whether or not they think it’s appropriate for their child.

And just like watching TV, eating candy, etc., parents should teach their children how to enjoy these things in moderation.

the prof

April 28th, 2010
10:11 am

Ignore PBM….he isn’t black.

BehindEnemyLines

April 28th, 2010
10:18 am

re: “Does anybody still believe that video games help children?” — In short, absolutely. I’ve seen the overwhelmingly positive impact of games on my now 12 y/o son’s interest in history, in science, in physics, in engineering, in sports, in music, interests that he’s pursued well beyond their relationship to gaming. I’ve further seen the incredibly positive bonding opportunity sharing an interest in games has provided for us. I’ve also seen the enjoyment he gets from playing them, the increased & improved interaction he has with classmates during the school day directly because of the common interest the games provided outside of school, I’ve watched as he learned how to deal with both success & failure as well as the gray areas in between, I’ve watched as he learned from another example of the connection between effort/practice & success. So I have no hesitation at all in saying that there are enormous positives associated with gaming as a hobby. Perhaps the key to that is something I noticed while typing: words like “watched”, “seen”, “witnessed”, point being that I haven’t turned the games into a babysitter, haven’t used them as an excuse to abdicate parental responsibility, choosing to make the effort to be engaged in my child’s life, determine what is or isn’t appropriate for them & making the most of the opportunities that are presented by the child’s natural interests. It’s called parenting, more people ought to consider trying it as opposed to simply procreating & then trying to go back to their previously merry little lives.

An advocate for public education change & choice

April 28th, 2010
10:23 am

I would have to side to some degree with You Dolts commentary. The greater responsibility is on the parents to monitor and control the activities they allow in their homes within the limits that deem acceptable. I believe its abit backward to put the burden on the greater society to assume the responsibility and accountability that should be on parents. If its not allowed in the home then the general availability of the product to young pre-teens is a mute point.

There is not question in my mind that video games in general and violent video games in particular is having an impact on the academic and sociological development of our children. Kids today are less apt to go out and play defaulting instead to immerse themselves in the electronic world at every opportunity afforded to them. I do believe that it contributes to the short attention span of kids and has altered the way information is taught. The younger generation today has the belief that adults are obligated to keep them entertained and that expectation extends to the classroom and IMHO has ties to the rise in video game culture combined with in general TV having become the babysitter in a lot of homes.

Philosopher

April 28th, 2010
10:24 am

@commoncents: “the other side of the aisle”??! Come on, now- I often dislike PBM’s approach, but really..do you leve on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line or something?

JoeV

April 28th, 2010
10:34 am

People really seem to have a problem understanding that there are MANY, MANY parents out there that aren’t capable of parenting their children. They are either ignorant, uneducated, lazy, or bad people. Society as a whole pays the price for bad parenting. We MUST enact laws that police the ignorant or we will pay a greater price later when these children of bad parents are robbing Quik Trip and slinging crack.

People like to piss and moan about less government, but these people obviously have no clue how many bad parents there are out there. No clue.

Yakko

April 28th, 2010
10:34 am

Glen pretty much hit the nail on the head with his comment. Everyone always makes assumptions that violent video games are ad for kids, and they NEVER cite any concrete data backing them up. Why? Because none exists. For every study concluding that video games are harmful, there is one concluding that they are beneficial. For example, a study by the Harvard School of Sociology concluded that violent video games actually benefit a child by providing a safe place to see what would happen if he took the violent path. This, combined with parenting to drive home the point that in reality violence is a wrong can help reinforce the peacefulness of a child. Also, many games have puzzles in them (the God of War series, Resident Evil, Portal) that challenge a child’s spatial awareness and benefit him much like a crossword puzzle would.

To address an argument above, the AO is not used because very few games actually qualify for it. It is the equivalent to an NC-17 rating for a movie, and developers try to tailor games to avoid it, much like directors do an NC-17. The Mature rating (M) is the “R” of video games, and retailers WILL NOT sell an M game to a child under 17 without a parent’s permission. Unfortunately, parents haven’t educated themselves and buy it for their kids anyway. This points to the real problem: the lack of education in parents towards an area of interest their kids have. Parents, do some research into video games, follow the ratings, and your kid will thank you.

Finally, I’d like to address Ms. (Mrs.) Downey’s claim that games are the cause of short attention spans. This is ridiculous for a nuber of reasons, the first being that video games as a medium require more time than any other entertainment form save books. Even the shortest game takes 10-12 hours to complete, and that requires a geat deal of attention investment from the child. Games like Mass Effect 2 and the Final Fantasy series can take 60-80 hours to complete. The Zelda games your child plays, Ms. (Mrs.) Downey fall into the latter category. Second, there is simply no evidence that games cause short attention spans. None.

And before you go thinking that I’m some nerd living in his parents basement: I graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and recieved a full scholarship to UGA (Broadcast News). I’m now in my final semester at Georgia State Law and one of the areas I’m interested in practicing in is First Amendment Law, precisely because of this issue. The Supreme Court is going to destroy the CA law because it is blatant censorship and unconstitutional.

A blurb from the burbs

April 28th, 2010
10:35 am

I agree that parents bear the responsibility. However, these games should be restricted just like the movies. Unfortunately some parents lack the common sense to decipher what a child can and cannot handle. Some games are beneficial if played in moderation. However, there are more bi-polar and mentally ill children than before. Some of the things that I have heard from elementary aged children lately is just shocking. A very young of my child’s recently spoke about shooting himself and on another occassion mentioned using an ax. It is hard for a random adult to determine whether this child picked it up from a game or it is something serious.

Proud Black Man

April 28th, 2010
10:56 am

@ commoncents

“Wow PBM… then why is so much of the actual violence from the other side of the aisle?”

100 Years War
30 Years War
Franco-Prussian War
French and Indian War
Napoleonic Wars
Russian Civil War
Spanish Civil War
WWI
WWII
Vietnam War
Iraqi War
Afghanistan War

I could go on but I believe you get my point. Remove the beam from your eye tea bagger.

Dan

April 28th, 2010
10:56 am

Its all nonsense, before videos, kids played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, army etc all involved make beleive versions of fights shootings etc, then dungeons and dragons, throw in wrestling (the fake kind) etc. not to mention the multitude of literary works that depict such things. The fact is all these things reflect human nature, which is why the exist and properly raised kids understand the difference between games and reality, socially accepted actions and not. The rest is simply transference of blame

anon

April 28th, 2010
10:57 am

It all falls on the parents. Period.
I’m 37 and have played games since the Atari 2600 was brand new. I play Halo, Bioshock, and Fallout with my 12 year old son. I draw the line at Grand Theft Auto. He also plays Portal and other games for the Wii that involve puzzle solving.
The violent video games do not make children violent if the parent is involved. My son is in all advanced classes and band, and recently got hand picked due to his percussion skill for a special concert. During some games he will make connections of something in the game to what he is learning about in school.
Remeber cowboys and indians? That didn’t make an entire generation or two violent.

Philosopher

April 28th, 2010
10:57 am

Lots of data has been presented regarding the effects of violent games and movies on children, and it’s been out there for a long, long time. Folks just refuse to hear what they don’t want to hear…on every subject,including carseats and bike helmets. I have watched parents needlessly place their kids at risk because they don’t want to be inconvenienced or admit that maybe SOMEBODY has learned something thay don’t know! “I have a right to let my kid hang out the sunroof while I’m texting and driving and don’t even THINK about stopping me!”. Yeah..ignorant, lazy parents who put their kids at risk make me crazy. But the bottom line is, it is not the government’s right or responsibility to step in unless the behavior is putting other citizens at risk. It’s the same principle behind waiting until a certain number of deaths have occurred at an intersection before a light is put in…sorry, it is life. We must let foolish parents be foolish parents until it clearly affects other folks.

drew (former teacher)

April 28th, 2010
11:13 am

Let the industry regulate itself, and let parents do the parenting…for better or worse.

But the more interesting question, at least where education is concerned is: How do video games (or for argument’s sake, ANY visual media) effect the attention span of students? And the answer is…significantly. Visual media train the mind to react to continuously and constantly changing visual stimuli. You see…you react. There’s no time to think, to contemplate, to question, to compare, to evaluate, etc., because each image is followed immediately by another. Visual images “massage” the mind altogether differently than the printed word. The brain playing video games and the brain reading are two completely different animals. Just imagine if students spent as much time reading as they do playing video games or watching TV.

I’m not saying video games (or any other visual media) are bad. There’s nothing wrong with good hand-eye coordination, or entertainment (in moderation), but reading and comprehending the subtleties of the printed word requires a completely different skill set, and visual media do nothing to promote those skills. If anything, they make the acquisition of those skills even more difficult. So children come to school with superb hand-eye coordination, but without the patience or skills necessary to attend to the printed word.

I’ve always contended that once a person learns to read, they have the capacity to learn anything they want to learn. Especially in this day and age, with a world of information at our fingertips. And call me “old school”, but I also believe that reading is the best thing person can do to cultivate their mind.

JoeV

April 28th, 2010
11:17 am

Sorry, it is life?!?!?

Wow, just wow. What about the kids? These kids don’t have a voice! They are only going to perpetuate the cycle if someone/something doesn’t intervene.

Philosopher

April 28th, 2010
11:26 am

@JoeV: It’s not what I advocate…but it is life…as long as 2 sets of parents disgree about what they are allowed to do with their kids, it is an endless struggle. Left up to me, corporal punishment of kids would be banned and punishable by law…but it’s not going to happen in Georgia-parents demand the right to bully their kids and don’t mind other people doing it, either. Kids are belongings to many parents…they have no understanding that their kids are a responsibility and should be raised, not trained. I just know not to expect much from our adults or our legal system here in Georgia. “It worked for me and it’ll work for mine” is going nowhere any time soon!

anon

April 28th, 2010
11:32 am

Well then lets be thankful it’s not left up to you, Philosopher.
It took my son messing up only once when he was younger and getting punished for it, and he hasn’t been bad since.

Old Fart

April 28th, 2010
11:44 am

We used to throw rocks at plastic enemy army men in the empty lot up the street when I grew up. It didn’t make me hate army men – just stupid democrats.

Philosopher

April 28th, 2010
11:48 am

@anon: Don’t put words in my mouth. I said absolutely NOTHING about not punishing kids! I have 3 great respectful, well-behaved kids- honor students and 2 now adult college grads with well-paying jobs- to prove that strong, consistent discipline (hard work) NOT hitting, works just fine. I never needed to beat them, not even once…and curiously, they managed to get the message…fancy that!

V for Vendetta

April 28th, 2010
11:49 am

JoeV,

What would you have us do? Do you want the government to take kids away from bad parents? That’s a slippery slope. Who makes the decision, and how do they make it? Who PAYS for it? What consitutes a “bad” parent–one who buys a violent video game, or one who lets their one-year-old roast to death in a hot car? Do you really want the government (or anyone for that matter) making such decisions?

Option 2: Sterilize people who you deem are unfit to have children. Again we run into the same problem. Who can make that decision–one that will affect someone for the rest of his or her life? Do we assume that they will never change, that they will forever be unfit to parent, or is it only temporary? By what criteria are they judged? Doesn’t this sound an awful lot like Eugenics–which is sound in theory but inherently immoral as it violates individual rights.

And isn’t that what this all boils down to: individual rights. Having children is a weird exception to almost every rule: It requires a person to be caring, compassionate, disciplined, intelligent, and faithful–but the act that leads to children doesn’t require ANY of those things. Children can be conceived accidentally/unintentionally, but this shouldn’t absolve the resulting parents of responsibility, should it? But who enforces what amounts to a personal choice?

There is no doubt that kids are victims. Children suffering is abhorrent, but, as long as man is free in this world, it will be an inevitable by product of choice.

In short, I’m well aware that there are bad parents out there. But I simply don’t care. I help when I can (I am a teacher after all), but I’m more concerned about my own kids. I pour everything I have physically and mentally into trying to be the best parent I can be. My reward will be their success.

We can’t expect everyone to do the same. We SHOULDN’T expect everyone to do the same. It’s naive.

V for Vendetta

April 28th, 2010
11:52 am

Sheesh. Get off the hitting tirade, Philosopher. You’re such a drama queen. You want the government to BAN spanking? Is there anything else you’d like the government to do for us? Cook breakfast perhaps? Supply us all with a million dollars each (collected from the rich, no doubt). Find a way to reanimate the corpse of Karl Marx? Just curious.