NIMF to Close at Year End

Founded in 1996, The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) will close its doors at the end of the 2009 calendar year.

In a statement, the group said “that more work remains to be done,” and that NIMF’s board is in discussions with other non-profits organizations to see if its programs and research can be carried on.

NIMF’s most prominent work was its annual Video Game Report Card, which graded the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), game publishers, retailers and parents annually on the enforcement and education of videogame ratings. While the rated groups were knocked early and often by NIMF, the 13th annual Report Card gave grades that would have made any parent proud, except for the “Incomplete” for the Parental Involvement category.

Game groups eventually even cozied up to NIMF, culminating in a grant of $50,000 bestowed upon NIMF in 2008 by The Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

President and founder Dr. David Walsh (picutred), who indicated that he is not ready for retirement, and will continue to speak and write on parenting topics, had this to say:

The current challenging economic environment accelerated those discussions making this the right time to begin transitioning the programs to other organizations who share our mission and values. I look forward to transitioning the Institute’s programs to worthy organizations that I am confident will continue to educate parents and caregivers on our rapidly changing digital culture.

NIMF credits its annual Report Card with the adoption of a ratings system, additional scrutiny over age appropriate game purchases at retail and parental controls being incorporated into console systems.

In a blog post, Dr. Walsh added:

We’ve accomplished a lot of amazing things in the last thirteen years.  And in that same amount of time there has been unprecedented technological innovation and an ever-increasing number of screens in young people’s lives, making the Institute’s mission just as relevant today as when we started.  So while this chapter of the Institute’s work is coming to a close, I am excited to transition the Institute’s programs to organizations that will continue to foster the same important conversations and bring relevant solutions to parents.

Update: Via an article on the WCCO CBS affiliate website, comes definitive word that a lack of funding was the culprit behind NIMF’s closure. NIMF was funded by Fairview Health Services with an annual commitment of some $750,000, a figure that Fairview could no longer justify in the current economic climate.

The President of Fairview’s North Region stated, “It was back in the summer of this year that we really said, ‘We can’t continue. Fairview can’t continue.’”

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  1. Avalongod says:

    Do you mean the PTC (Parents Television Council)?  They’re another NIMF, probably more rabid if anything.  The PTA isn’t so bad (and teamed up with the ESRB some years ago).

  2. Spartan says:

    Bad econ for the win!

    It could not happen to a nicer group but one does have to wonder if they really speak for all the people they say they do then surely money would not be an issue – right????

    Glad to see them go!

    Lets hope the PTA is next to vanish!!! 


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  3. MasterAssassin says:

    I’m not sad either to see them go because while they weren’t as bad as some groups like the Parent Trash Cult, they provided a lot of the misinformation that groups like that would use. Their so called experts like Anderson obviously had agendas and were not interested in being objective. Oh and remember the whole Grand Theft Auto promotes violence against women BS that was floating around a while back because u could have sex with a prositute and kill her? Do you know who started that crap? The NIMF!!! Back when Vice City came out 7 years ago, it was THIS organization that put out gross misinofrmation about the game basically making it look like some kind of women beating simulator. I am not all sorry to see them go  and I hope they all rot in hell. Rest in Pieces NIMF you won’t be missed.

  4. TBoneTony says:

    "A media group that advocated media education, but discussed things rationally and honestly and without fear-mongering misinformation would be very welcome.  Sadly, NIMF was not that group."


    Sadly I don’t think any family group has ever been like that, because when ever there is a group fighting for families or groups about protecting the kiddies, they never really talk without fear-mongering, it is just how they are able to get attention and it is sad family groups are like that.

    They only look out for themselves regardless how many innocent people they try to demonise.


  5. Avalongod says:

    Honestly, just not sorry to see them go.  They were highly biased and misinformative in their discussions of video games and other media and stoked up unnecessary fear in parents.  It’s only in relation to JT that they are "not that bad"…kind of like someone who is beaten by one romantic partner saying that their new partner who only lies, cheats and steals is "not that bad" in comparison.

    They financially supported scientists (Gentile, Anderson) who were just as biased as them and I’m not sorry to see their demise. 

    A media group that advocated media education, but discussed things rationally and honestly and without fear-mongering misinformation would be very welcome.  Sadly, NIMF was not that group.

  6. TBoneTony says:

    Sadly I don’t think anyone took them seriously when they started to highlight their causes with lies and misinformation.

    Never liked NIMF but I know that there are many other groups out there who hated games more than what the NIMF did.

    On the good side, they did try to inform parents. The only thing was that they were not prepared to listen to parents who did not agree with their opinions too, if they NIMF just tried to do less talking and more listening, they could have been allot better.



  7. Bigman-K says:

    Coming from an almost First Amendment absolutist who depises censorship and restrictions on Free Speech more then anything else i know, NIFM wasn’t actually that bad to be honest. At least they were always against laws that would restrict Free Speech rights unlike the utterly horrible censormongers at the PTA. It’s too bad the PTA isn’t closing going down instead of NIFM. That i would love.

     "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  8. Avalongod says:

    I have to agree with this.  All the hagiography here seems to be from folks who didn’t read NIMF’s publications very carefully.  NIMF were clearly in support of anti-game legistlation and would have swung behind censorship if the "C-word" weren’t a dirty word in the US.  They were very misinformative about the science of video games.

  9. ZippyDSMlee says:

    TImes are hard if the well known fear mongering group can’t get by with tis milloin dallor saleries… heres hopeing the 700 club is next!! Oh wait he runs a makeup company on the side….

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  10. DarkSaber says:

    They did, however, try to educate parents with misinformation, bad science and in some cases, outright lies.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  11. xMrAx says:

     To tell the truth NIMF was one of the better groups out there. Rather than spouting censorship they simply tried to educate parents about the media. They generally tried to come up with valid arguments and accepted that there are older people who like to play video games. It will be sad to see them go. 

  12. DarkSaber says:

    They WERE pretty damn bad right up until they got that $50,000 donat-, sorry, I meant bribe, and then started giving praise to the industry.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  13. Vake Xeacons says:

    Go ahead. I don’t feel the need to because they weren’t as bad as some other watchdogs we know (snicker), but uh, Dr. Walsh gets nooo sympathy from me.

  14. DarkSaber says:

    Can we gloat? I’m gonna gloat.



    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  15. Moriarty70 says:

    Compared to a lot of the "Think of the children" type of groups NIMF wasn’t that bad. They mostly talked about parent involvment, not banning games. Just remember the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

  16. Zerodash says:

    I wonder if Jack Thompson is going to take credit for this- he tried to take them down when they disavowed him. 

  17. gamepolitics says:

    Updated, one was not expressly mentioned at first, but I found a secondary article with more detail.

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