Why Violent Video Games Aren’t Regulated

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Today’s Top Stories: 

  1. State of the Union Address  (0:20)
  2. Pentagon Sends More Troops to Border (1:14)
  3. California Plane Crash  (1:45)
  4. More Nations Recognize Venezuelan Leader  (2:12)
  5. CDC Toothpaste Warning (2:54)

Today’s quote is from Calvin Coolidge:  (3:38)

“A government which requires of the people the contribution of the bulk of their substance and rewards cannot be classed as a free government, or long remain as such.”

The story of the day: Why Violent Video Games Aren’t Regulated (4:15)

About 15 years ago, a string of states enacted laws designed to prevent minors from purchasing violent video games. But before the laws were activated, the Entertainment Software Association, which is a lobbyist for the video game industry, went to court and had the laws abruptly stopped.


Why Violent Video Games Aren’t Regulated Podcast’s Notes


I’m Arlene Richards and this is the story of the day.

Today Ill speak with a psychology professor and a former Minnesota attorney general about why 15 years ago judges decided that the First Amendment allows kids to buy violent video games. Also why there is little evidence that playing video games can cause a kid to become violent.

When the ESA asked several courts to block state video game laws, it claimed that laws designed to stop minors from purchasing violent video games violated the First Amendment. And the US Supreme Court agreed.

So how does the first amendment allow kids to purchase violent video games? I spoke to Mike Hatch, a former Minnesota attorney general who, in 2005, defended the state of Minnesota’s video game law.

Mr. Hatch said historically, anything dealing with expression is protected by the First Amendment, except for obscenity, pornography, libel, and threats.

In 1789, when Congress passed the Bill of Rights, the Freedom of Speech, was intended to protect Americans rights to express themselves without having to worry about government interference, a very basic component of freedom of expression.

Over the years, as speech and expression became more offensive and inciteful, the courts decided that additional definitions needed to be applied.

Despite the many interpretations of the First Amendment, in the case of violence, there is no restriction under the First Amendment.

Mr. Hatch said there are different standards for kids than for adults but despite the testimony of psychologists and parents, the courts have ruled that there just wasn’t enough evidence.