Tuesday, June 28, 2011

States Barred From Restricting Violent Video Games

Sergey Sukhorukov/Shutterstock
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued a key ruling that disappointed parents and others who thought it was a good idea for states to pass laws restricting minors' access to extremely violent video games. A 7-2 majority of the justices overturned as a violation of the First Amendment's free-speech rights a California law that prohibited the sale or rental of video games to youth aged 17 and younger if those games gave players options that included "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being."

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said, "Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas--even social messages--through many familiar literary devices...and through features distinctive to the medium." He also maintained that none of the studies that have linked violent video games with aggressive behavior in youngsters were able to convincingly prove that link. In his dissent, Justice Steven Breyer had cited those studies as a reason to uphold the California law. Read more about the potential mental health consequences of violent video games in Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/45/16/22.1.full


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