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The Forum > Article Comments > Do we really need R18+ computer games? > Comments

Do we really need R18+ computer games? : Comments

By Barbara Biggins, published 16/2/2010

An R18+ classification will allow computer games with more extreme content to be sold and hired out.

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Should R18+ computer games be banned?

Too late!

I know many kids already have the software and the knowledge and skills to create virtual war games with all the atrocities thaat are present day concommitant horrors being committed.
Tis goes for sadist games involving everyday perversions as well. They send these incidents on line to friends or to other players around the country and around the world as simulation games.
You cannot ban these "recreational" games.

Posted by socratease, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 10:01:58 AM
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Barbara, there are a number of things I take issue with.

I'm glad the government is consulting the public on this, and I do not agree with your suggestion to alter the consultation question to be more loaded in favour of your argument. These questions should always be as neutral as possible.

The questions is not whether we "need" R-18 computer games. The question is whether our government has the right to decide what people do or don't watch.

I don't play computer games. I'll not be purchasing or playing any R-18 games. But I would object strenuously to the idea that the government should determine what we can and can't buy.

I reject the notion that we need to pamper people and select what consenting adults play. The games are labelled R-18. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children do not play them. I concede that there will be instances where children are still able to access them. That's unfortunate.

But it is not up to the government to shape what kind of people adults choose to be. That's individual choice.

Recently, when Google said they would withdraw from the Chinese market, the Chinese government made a particularly telling point. They said that it was the responsibility of government to shape public opinion.

In our society, it's the opposite. For damn good reason.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:04:39 AM
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What rubbish.
1) Forcing people to go around authority undermines the authority. The ratings agencies have made themselves superfluous by trying to go too far. As the first poster said, kids go around authority by instinct. Kids make bombs, kids take drugs, kids experiment with sex and danger. Banning these activities will *not* stop them! Engage with kids, for if you get the stick out and try the "just say no" approach they *will* ignore you, regardless of the wisdom you may have to impose.
2) *Risk* needs to be managed, not swept under the rug. Whilst the Risk of violence due to *some* violent games *may* increase, the *known damage* of prohibition is far worse. By "protecting the kiddies" you are actually exposing them to more danger. The last statistics I've seen show no danger from adults accessing risky gaming material...but I'd agree I wouldn't want younger kids playing. Managing the risk to young children is called "parenting".
3) Freedom anyone? Just who decides what is "too much"? the Top Down theory (usually held by conservatives) asks us to ignore the peril of giving people, *any* people the right to control other's lives. There is a line that must be crossed before a person loses that right and it involves committing a "crime" against another person. Undertaking personal risk, whether adventure, sporting, social, chemical, or interactive software is *not* a crime unless another person's rights are directly impinged. Prohibition however is a crime as it achieves the opposite result to what it is ostensibly intended for.
4) Parents need to take responsibility for managing risk for their children. There is a pretty small window before culture has it's way with their psyche, so if parents cannot get some respect and convey some wisdom by 14 or so then it is largely too late.
If this is the case, the horse has bolted: Don't expect the entire population to impose criminality on adults seeking fun just because of parenting failures.
Forget the concept of moral fire power. Just another conservative war that simply should not be fought.
Posted by Ozandy, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:18:27 AM
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What a ridiculous article.

Barbara state there are many reason there is no R18+ classification, but the article lists no substantive reasons, and relies on the assumption that the status quo reflects community standards. The real reason we don't have R18+ isn't complex at all - it's because our system demands unanimity from members of SCAG to change, and SA AG Michael Atkison is a deeply conservative Catholic reactionary who has blocked reform proposals from the more rational, sensible members, such as Robert Hulls in Victoria. Quite simple.

I note Barbara keeps mentioning a 91% opinion statistic, as if there were no other supportive statistics. How about the fact that most gamers are 30 years old now?

Also, I love the completely disingenuous proposal to swap a completely neutral question about the introduction of a R18+ classification and swap it with a oblique, emotionally loaded qualifying statement designed to skew the results! Don't get the results you like, why not just make the question a push poll! That will surely convince everyone you've got the community on your side! This is even worse than the Hungry Beast poll on the internet filter which emphatically suggested that RC content was mainly about child pornography and violence against women. They may as well have cited Conroy directly for all the objectivity in the explanation.

How exactly is preventing a proper classification of content getting behind parenting? Barbara's solution is a complete Chaimberlain-like surrender which completely abdicates the role of parental supervision.
Posted by BBoy, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:33:21 AM
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My own view, as a researcher in this area, revolves around the findings related to the influence of media on children. At least six effects of chronic exposure to violent video games are well documented. It should be noted that although the effects are stronger for children, they also apply to adults.
1. Increased fear of the world in general, and a hostile attributional bias (a tendency to believe that people want to hurt you);
2. Increased desensitisation to violence and less empathy for others being hurt;
3. A desire for increasing exposure to the same media;
4. Increased aggressive behaviour;
5. An increase in mental scripts that include solving interpersonal problms with aggressive behaviour;
6. An increase in beliefs that normalise aggressive behaviour.

The brain changes and learns every day, and what one experiences every day changes the wiring slightly. Short term exposure to violent video games increases the predisposition for aggression and increases desensitisation to violence, young or old, male or female. Long term exposure has the 6 effects listed above, as the brain rewires in line with the person's experiences. The science is clear on these main ways that violent videos can affect players.

In the end, a decision will be made on ratings classifications, and my main concern is that the science, and the large body of evidence for the above effects, is taken into account.

Those who wish to make up their own mind should attend the Growing Up Fast And Furious conference in Sydney on March 19. The world's leading researcher in this area, Dist Prof Craig Anderson, will speak on what the latest research into video games (both violent and prosocial) has found (see Other leading researchers, including Prof Rowell Huesmann and Prof Ed Donnerstein will also speak.

Hopefully this debate will be a rational one where the science is taken into account along with the needs of various interest groups.
Posted by Growing up fast and furious, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 12:25:11 PM
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The science may well indicate personal risk of violent thoughts.
I get violent thoughts from reading lies by conservatives or watching commercial TV ads aimed at kids. Reversing alarms at 3:00am also do this. These thoughts need to be managed as part of being an adult.
There may even be a quantifiable effect...but the "cure" still needs to be considered in terms of cost/benefit. Prohibition of drugs has resulted in massive crime, massive corruption and *more* drugs. (Most kids can get drugs easier than alcohol these days.)
Prohibition of "naughty" and "nasty" material considered OK by enough of the population to be a commercial success must be kept in the commercial space. Allowing criminal access, indeed ushering it in using prohibition is a *big* mistake!
Posted by Ozandy, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 12:50:35 PM
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