GameDaily reports that the California bill that proposes banning the sale of M-rated video games to minors has taken one step closer to becoming law by passing through a key committee. This is still a long way off from being a signed law on the governor's desk, but it's still good to keep an eye on these types of things especially when there are quotes like this flying around from California Assemblyman / child psychologist Leland Yee:
"These video games teach our children how to kill, how to maim, how to hurt people; women, minorities, poor people. These are not the lessons that we should be teaching our children."
Something tells me that the Assemblyman is one of those people who would prefer that the only video games that children should have access to involve edutainment and big fluffy bunnies. Granted that it's not a good idea for young children to have access to Grand Theft Auto and the other industry scapegoat titles without understanding the nature of reality versus fantasy, but I believe that it's up to good parenting to separate appropriate behavior from digital escapism and not the retailer or the government.
Let's see what else Assemblyman Yee has to say:
"Unlike movies where you passively watch violence, in a video game, you are the active participant and making decisions on who to stab, maim, burn or kill. As a result, these games serve as learning tools that have a dramatic impact on our children."
Why is it that nobody ever blames Nintendo for the dozens of turtles that have been stomped by young and impressionable children? Why has Sega escaped criticism for teaching children that stealing gold rings and shiny emeralds is acceptable behavior? Animal cruelty and theft are just as serious as stabbing and burning, right? Slippery slopes and outlandish exaggerations aside, this looks like a clear case of a politician trying to frighten his constituents with scary words.
"Clearly the video game industry is not concerned with the welfare of our children."
I'd say that clearly the California Assembly Judiciary Committee has nothing better to do.