California State Senator Leland Yee (D) has issued a stinging criticism of a new, online game-based Army recruitment strategy which his press release terms “luring young video gamers.”
Yee, author of California’s contested 2005 video game law, lashed out today at an Army program which will spend $2 million in tax dollars to sponsor the Global Gaming League. According to a report in USA Today, the GGL site gets more than 9 million visitors per month, mostly young men between 17 and 24. Said Yee:
It is disconcerting that the Army has decided to invade these websites with millions of dollars in advertising. While many of these young people are being desensitized to real-life violence through these online violent video games, the Army has decided to sweep in and exploit the situation. I urge them to reconsider this advertising strategy.
My father like so many others served honorably in the Army and our soldiers today are fighting because they want to give back to this country. Many of today’s violent video games do not portray this service as admirable, but instead glorify violence and promote racist and sexist behavior. These are not the lessons we should be teaching our young people. When ads for the armed forces are placed on websites promoting these types of games, it blurs the line between fantasy and real-life violence.
Yee also referenced today’s mixed FTC report, which he saw differently from video game industry officials:
Disappointingly, the industry continues to market these ultra-violent video games to minors. Their own standard is far too limited and according the FTC they are not even living up to that minimal threshold.
Clearly more retailers and parents are aware of violent video games and the effects on kids. While I applaud the industry for making some progress, it is still unacceptable that nearly half of all kids are able to purchase M-rated games.