Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,
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Pennsylvania Legislators Hold Video Game Hearing

Add Pennsylvania to the list of states examining the video game violence issue.

As reported by the Harrisburg Patriot-News a committee of the Pennsylvania House held a hearing in late August to consider the effects of violent games on children.

Rep. Ronald Waters (D) said, "I watch young people play these games, and they play them for long periods of time. It's hard for me to watch that kind of activity without wondering what kind of effects it's having on them. What are we doing subliminally to our children that we allow them to entertain themselves with this type of activity..."

Waters expressed concerns about Grand Theft Auto and worried that the ESRB rating system might not be working at the retail level. Although he would support video game legislation, Waters was more interested in research similar to the federal government's proposed CAMRA study.

"I'm just asking for a study," Waters said. "Whatever the outcome of the study is, I'm willing to accept it. If we find that there is no consequences of this, then I will be someone who will say 'OK, I accept the study.' But if the study says yes, there are things we need to alarm parents about, then we need to make sure that parents know that."

Child psychologist Marolyn Morford of State College told the Patriot-News, "You can never predict human behavior 100 percent, but you can talk about probabilities, and it is more likely that [children] would engage in an antisocial behavior if that behavior is reinforced for them over many hours and if their cohort also supports those sorts of behaviors. That's how games operate."

Morford, who uses The Sims and other games to help socially phobic patients, does not see legislation as the answer, but rather increased education and awareness on the learning effects of games.

"There is entertainment, but there's also learning that's going on, and I think that anybody who ignores the learning factor is ignoring a very powerful motivating dimension of that experience," Morford said. "I would like the gaming industry to not be so stupid and ignorant or act like they're so ignorant, that this is just like watching a violent movie and not recognizing what kind of power they do have and how they can play into people's weaknesses."

Clay Calvert of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment testified before the committee.

"The Legislature is right to be concerned about violence in society," said Calvert. "They are right to be concerned about violence in the media. The question is what is really the answer and from my perspective, I don't think legislation is. The Legislature in Pennsylvania is stepping deeply into the culture wars when it decides to legislate about violent video games."

Calvert praised the committee for keeping an open-mind.

"This was not a hostile group of people," he said. "They seemed like they were genuinely interested in these issues. I think they wanted to learn about the situation. So I give them credit for having an open mind going in. It wasn't 'bash the video game industry day.'"

Tags: clay calvert, legislation, marolyn morford, pennsylvania, ronald waters
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  • 19 comments
But it did sound like it.

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"You can never predict human behavior 100 percent, but you can talk about probabilities, and it is more likely that [children] would engage in an antisocial behavior if that behavior is reinforced for them over many hours and if their cohort also supports those sorts of behaviors. That's how games operate."

Thank you, I'll begin drafting that "Christianity as porn" bill shortly. After all, that how religion operates as well. The churches mentally molest parents and children into bigotry and hate of whole groups of humans (racial, sexual orientation, other religions, gender, gamers (yup, we've seen posts by people using religions to preach hate about gamers), and other groups on and on). Then those parents feed even more hate to their children. And the children feed hate to other children in the community and vice versa. And in the schools, those children abuse (aka bully) the "different" kids because of that religious taught hate. And the authority figures, taught religious hate by the churches and community allow the abuse to occur. And the victims strike out, either through commiting suicide or assault on the other students or someone else.

Yes, that sounds right. It's not media, it's religion. When a school shooting happens and there's abuse that "led to ti", I'll start sending out affidavits to search the homes of the authority figures and the abusers of the school shooters. I'll predict the police will find religious texts, and that's what actually started it. I'll predict there will be a great many religious abuser out there. Trust me. And, as an expert, I'll link all the other violent religious crimes over time, showing that religion is to blame and we need to protect the children from religion, such as Christianity. Oh yes, we must protect them. The First Amendment was not written to protect religion from mentally molesting children into believing in hate.

What was it another person said?
""There is entertainment, but there's also learning that's going on, and I think that anybody who ignores the learning factor is ignoring a very powerful motivating dimension of that experience,""

Well, there may or may not be entertainment in the teaching of religious hate, but there is "education". Teaching children how to treat this group or that group because the God of that religion says so. So, yup, we need to protect the children.

And they are as exposed to religion, if not to a greater degree, than religion. So perhaps Rep. Waters should be concerned about that too.

Yup yup, hear comes the bill.
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Maybe I shoulda done a press release format instead.
Ok, while I agree that there are many religious bigots out there, I would have to stand by my Parental Rights beliefs as opposed to supporting such a bill as above. People have the right to teach their children bigotry and hate. They even have the right to teach their children that their God supports lying and deceiving others to get ones agenda pressed. As much as I find it obscene and dishonorable and unethcial, I have to back the rights of the parents to teach that to their children.

Yes, the legislature is right to be concerned about ALL the different exposures of media and ALL the different genres in each of the different forms of media (and, yes, that includes religion). But it is more useful to seek out methods of educating parents so that the parents can make their own informed decisions, rather than have individuals, organizations, or the government DICTATE to parents what is or is not appropriate for their children.

Heh, maybe I need to start my own organiztion. How does "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" sound? PFENL. Hmmm....

nightwng2000
NW2K Software
But it did sound like it.

"You can never predict human behavior 100 percent, but you can talk about probabilities, and it is more likely that [children] would engage in an antisocial behavior if that behavior is reinforced for them over many hours and if their cohort also supports those sorts of behaviors. That's how games operate."

Thank you, I'll begin drafting that "Christianity as porn" bill shortly. After all, that how religion operates as well.


When I read that paragraph I had the same reaction you did at first, but I think before you wrote that, you should have considered the next line very carefully.

Morford, who uses The Sims and other games to help socially phobic patients, does not see legislation as the answer, but rather increased education and awareness on the learning effects of games.
The problem is, she implies that when a fictional game is treated as a fictional game that doesn't extend past the game, it will still, automatically, "teach" the player that that is how one should act in the real world.

When one plays The Sims in an entertainment only aspect, the individual knows it's fiction and that there are other ways of acting in the real world. The real world rules and the game rules are two seperate things.

But when The Sims, in a specific context as in her office, then that fiction is altered by her by implying the social aspect COULD be taken into the real world. I suspect that she reinforces her use of the games with other information for the player. Information which isn't available to the average player who uses the game as entertainment only.

While she doesn't like legislation and supports informing individuals about games so they can make their own choice, she still confuses the issue by implying that using a game in an educational context is the same as using a game in an entertainment context. The same information isn't always relayed in the two environments.

nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Thank you, I'll begin drafting that "Christianity as porn" bill shortly. After all, that how religion operates as well. The churches mentally molest parents and children into bigotry and hate of whole groups of humans (racial, sexual orientation, other religions, gender, gamers (yup, we've seen posts by people using religions to preach hate about gamers), and other groups on and on). Then those parents feed even more hate to their children. And the children feed hate to other children in the community and vice versa. And in the schools, those children abuse (aka bully) the "different" kids because of that religious taught hate. And the authority figures, taught religious hate by the churches and community allow the abuse to occur. And the victims strike out, either through commiting suicide or assault on the other students or someone else.

The one glroious simple explanation to all of life's problems is that religions teach hate????? You just might be on something. You think that all religions teach hate and that is why there are bullies?? Wait what if a christian bully bullies a christian victim and the authority figures do nothing is it still a case of religious hate??? Give that man a (exploding) cigar for the most best scapegoat I mean solution to all our problems and to think what was teaching us peace and love was actually turning us into murderers, who would've thought?
I'm pretty sure Nightwng was being sarcastic. A large sector of the anti-video gamers are from the religious right, and to me it sounded like he was just mimicking some of their overhyped rhetoric. I replaced "religion" with "video games" in his post and it sounded like something Jackoff would write. I have a tough time believing anyone on this site would write something like that seriously (especially Nightwng, a GP veteran), because that would be fairly offensive, at least to me, and I'm agnostic.
Well, let's assume for the moment that I was limited enough to actually draft such a bill.
Your argument is one that might be heard in a hearing on the legislation.

So let me counter that, in the manner of those in favor of the video game bills with my evidence.

Religion has been used on numerous occasions to justify criminal and/or unethical acts.
We have the numerous abortion clinic bombings (Eric Rudolph being one of the most famous) in the name of religious beliefs. Indeed, this year there was a foiled abortion clinic bombing attempt. Whether for or against abortion, it makes little sense to physically attack others while proclaiming "Protect life". And the use of religous justification by those such as Eric Rudolph show a "causal link" between religion and murder.

Then, we have the higher ups in the church who covered up massive numbers of child molestations by priests. Whether one could tie religion to the molestations themselves is unclear. But the higher ups covering it up shows a clear support by the church in regards the acts commited by the priests.

Then, we have the number of religious private schools which have adopted, either written or unwritten, policies against homosexual students. Several students have been expelled from the schools based solely on their sexual orientation. That is, in effect, a claim by the church of bigotry and hate towards individuals based on sexual orientation. Moreover, by the school adopting this policy, it sends the message to other students that only the heterosexual students are "normal" and will be treated superior and any negative treatment by heterosexual students against possible homosexual students will be accepted (unless they get caught by outsiders, then there is denial).

We also have the churches themselves promoting bigotry and hate against a variety of groups. Homosexuals are not really unique, merely most noted in the press. Whether it is the extreme of those like Fred Phelps, or the not quite so loud groups, such as the Eagles Forum, there are many churches that preach hate for many individuals. Gender discrimination isn't as well publicized. But it does happen. A recent case of a woman being fired from her Sunday School position is one example. Hate for other religions, even hate for one sect of Christianity versus another is quite well known in a large number of churches.

These constant pushing of hate as a way to treat others in society within church as well as within the home tends to have a negative impact on impressionable youth. They take that attitude of superiority over others and even expand it to justify other forms of hate. If the religion, offered as a "good religion", says it is ok to hate one group and that you are superior to that group, it must be ok to hate other types of people too. So the youths take that education to other places, such as school and the general community, and anyone who isn't like them is fair game for abuse, or a variety of types. And if the authority figures there don't stop it, it must still be ok.

Therefore, religion is the root of all evil (even if it is claimed to be a "good religion") and we must Protect Our Children from obscene forms of education and prevent our children from being mentally molested by such people. Protect the Children! Surely you wouldn't put your religious beliefs ahead of our children, would you?
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(continued)
(concluded)
I don't know which makes my stomach churn more:
Those individuals who do use religion to justify their bigotry and hate, thereby giving negative stereotypes to the whole of the religion, even though the overwhelming majority aren't as ignorant and hate filled as those few.
Or, trying to dictate to others that they MUST follow my beliefs and that MY beliefs are appropriate for everyone else's children and if they don't agree, then they must be bad parents.

Yes, there are a lot of folks who justify their bigotry and hate with religion. And that, to me, is obscene and certainly not what I would define as a "good religion". But I wouldn't have it dictated that they couldn't teach that to their own children. It's just as wrong as teaching the hate as it is to deny someone the right to teach it to their own children. At least, to me anyway.

nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Guess JT hasn't got ahold of 'em yet. Hopefully he'll keep his big nose out of their business long enough for them to form their own conclusions. And I hope that whatever "study" they choose to follow is a credible one. And I hope it rains supermodels right over my house.
I'm impressed with what's being said in terms of not jumping to conclusions.

I should note that this hearing was mandated by a resolution passed early last year.
I'm impressed as well. Thisis the first time where a representitive is willing to listen to all evidence fro mall sides, and is willing to help get a study unerday instead of misquoting a flawed study that was already proven wrong
That he seems to be giving games a chance, I can almost guarantee that games will end up being fodder for the problems of Pennsylvania.
I'm just asking for a study," Waters said. "Whatever the outcome of the study is, I'm willing to accept it. If we find that there is no consequences of this, then I will be someone who will say 'OK, I accept the study.' But if the study says yes, there are things we need to alarm parents about, then we need to make sure that parents know that."

"This was not a hostile group of people," he said. "They seemed like they were genuinely interested in these issues. I think they wanted to learn about the situation. So I give them credit for having an open mind going in. It wasn't 'bash the video game industry day.'"

Now if only more politicians were like this instead of jumping on the "scapegoat the games industry' bandwagon at a moment's notice. Kudos to penssylvania. Oh and I wonder if the camra study proves flawed what will the pensylvannia legislature do about it? Will they drop the issue altogether or will they try to make their own study?
quick someone e-mail this man about Jacky boy and what his real agenda is before Jack gets a hold of him and starts spreading his mystic bag of bullshit on them (I'm not joking either).
1) You're wondering what these games are doing to children as YOU WATCH THEM PLAY and then you think WHAT CAN I DO? Since when did connecting the dots become an over-qualification factor for a politician?

2) Whatever the study says you'll be ok with it? Half way through that statement the words "yea, right" came to mind. I'm not picking on Waters with this, I would think those two words no matter who said it.

3) I'm not so sure 'reinforcement' is the correct terminology for what Morford was talking about. Am I right or confused on that part? I think of reinforcement as positive or negative (spanking or candy).

4) Which WILL get more media and political attention: Bully or JackAss 2? Which SHOULD get more media attention: Bully or JackAss 2?
As long as the study is done right if its all one sided from the start it will be misleading and knowing them they will take it as fact.....