EU to Require Red Button in Consoles and PCs?

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The European Union Internal Market Committee wants to extend parental power by giving them a way to stop their kids from playing particular games according to a report from the organization this week. The report cites detrimental effects of long-term exposure to scenes of violence:

An amendment tabled by the Civil Liberties Committee calls on the Member States to frame specific civil and criminal legislation on the retailing of violent TV, video and computer games and argues that special attention should be devoted to on-line games.

This smacks of censorship from the wording which sounds like it would make it criminal to retail particular types of video games. Next we’ll be breaking down doors and hauling people away with black hoods on their heads...

This lead them to form a new plan of equal value:

Until PEGI on-line is up and running, the report proposes fitting consoles, computers or other game devices with a "red button" to give parents the chance to disable a game or control access at certain times. 

That doesn’t even sound logical. Think of the broad number of manufacturers that it would affect, not to mention the logistics. The Xbox 360 and Wii already have parental controls in them and now instead of telling parents to pay attention to what their children are doing they want to put the burden of responsibility on the hardware manufacturers? Force implementation of a, let’s face it, stupid idea, because games (which they do not make) may end up in the hands of children?

Obviously the people on the committee have no concept of how the games market works. They have no idea how little enforcement of the game ratings takes place at the retail level or how little parents pay attention at times. Perhaps none of them are parents or have never played a video game in their lives.

Parents do have a ’red button’ already that will stop their children from playing inappropriate games, it’s called attention and interest. Pay attention to what your children are doing, take an interest in their lives and perhaps you wouldn’t have to lay the blame on hardware companies who aren’t even making the games you are worried about.

Maybe put some responsibility on the shops who are selling the products to more closely enforce the age ratings on the games. You do it with sex and objects related to it. You do it with cigarettes, alcohol and in some countries drugs. Do you hold cigarette manufacturers responsible when a shop attendant sells cigarettes to minors? Do you close down Jameson’s distillery when a bartender sells alcohol to a minor? No, so why should this be any different?

They do go on to state that retail and parents need to take a more active role (perhaps they came to their senses later in the meeting) and they single out Internet Cafe owners as being somewhat irresponsible in these regards. Finally they closed their report with this statement:

A Eurobarometer survey shows that 3.2% of children aged 6-17 access the internet without adult supervision in internet cafes.

While I agree that all children must be protected from harm, the low number (3.2%) here shows that there are far worse things that could happen to children and should be taken care of before they begin pointing the finger at video games. How about the high rate of sexual and physical abuse in countries like Spain and Germany? Why not start there and then work down the list... The EU Parliament should contact me and I’ll help them draft that list. Heck,I’ll even help them build a way to enforce the game ratings while I do it, how’s that sound?

Source: Video games: a red button for parents

In : PC

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