Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

November 10, 2010 -

In response to Microsoft’s recent Xbox Live dashboard update, which added the ability for parents to limit non-game content such as downloaded movies and television shows on a per-user basis, CNN took a look at the current state of other measures designed to keep kids from viewing content that perhaps they shouldn’t be.

The article focuses mainly on “age gates,” or content that is hidden behind a screen in which users must input their birth date. Obviously such obstacles are easily overcome by any mouse-wielder, regardless of age.

Sony’s PlayStation 3, the author writes, “doesn't appear to let owners lock content downloaded from Sony's digital store or those manually loaded onto the console,” like its Microsoft brethren now does. In reply, Sony’s Vice President of Marketing Peter Dille said that “We’re all doing something similar,” adding that Sony complies with the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).

James Schmidt, a retired professor and former member of the now-disbanded COPA Commission, answered Dille's claim, saying, “To say they [Sony] are complying with COPA is a nonsensical statement.” Schmidt said that the Commission determined that there was no “technological means” to protect kids online and that age verification schemes were “were so patently transparent that they were of no use.”

The ESRB asks participating videogame-related websites to install a browser tracking device that would not allow a user to access a website upon failing to meet an age gate’s standard.

GameTrailers.com, however, has declined to implement such a device, because, according to the site’s Shane Satterfield, that barrier was “a little more extreme than we had wanted…”

For her part, ESRB Chief Patricia Vance added, “We can't prevent kids from lying about their age. The important part is that we aren't inappropriately marketing these games to children.”

Schmidt outlined what the COPA Commission eventually surmised about the situation, “We believed first and foremost that the responsibility for monitoring access to content on the internet lies with parents and legal guardians.”


Comments

Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

So now they are trying to censor or block the videogame websites? Great job GT for telling them to politely go fuck themselves

 

This however has got to stop, we need to tell these nanny-statist to shut the fuck up.

 

IMHO of course.

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Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

Not exactly "censor," just allow parental control software to recognize certain material as something to block.  If mommy and daddy haven't activated the child locks, then nothing would be inhibited.

Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

Are we talking about COPA or COPPA here? There is a huge difference-the former is a content restriction that was ruled unconstitutional and no longer relevant, while the latter is the privacy protection measure that is still in effect.

Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

Age gates are dumb unless they are incorporated by a password in the paternal controls.


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Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

Age gates are perhaps the dumbest most ineffectual child protection measure in existence.  Seriously, has any child anywhere ever been stopped by an age gate?  Hell, I don't even put in my true age; I just open the "year" drop down and give the mouse wheel a good spin.  I usually end up being born in the sixties.

Age gates are nothing more than a nuisance to people who want to watch the damn video.  Get rid of them.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

Is anyone actually arguing that age gates effectively prevent minors from entering sites?

It's a liability issue, nothing more: if a minor lies to get around an age gate, it's not the site owner's fault.

I'll grant it's all terribly silly, but I think it's a necessary CYA from the content providers' perspective.

Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

"Is anyone actually arguing that age gates effectively prevent minors from entering sites?"

I should certainly hope not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

Come to think of it, it doesn't just shift liability, it's also an end run around the "children can see/hear it by accident" argument, which was key in the Seven Words case.

 

 
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TechnogeekAlso, it's the upgrade that's available for installation now. You might need to forcibly initiate the Windows Update process before it'll start downloading, though. (If there's a C:\$Windows.~BT folder on your computer, then you're in luck.)07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekAdmittedly there's more room to push for an advertiser boycott when you get into opinion content versus pure news, but keep in mind that reviews are opinion content as well.07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekMatts: There's a difference between "this person regularly says extremely terrible stuff" and "I don't like the phrasing used in this one specific editorial".07/29/2015 - 8:45am
MattsworknameWait, is that for the upgrade or the clean install only? cause I was gonna do the upgrade07/29/2015 - 8:32am
james_fudgehttps://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows1007/29/2015 - 8:30am
PHX Corp@Wilson, I'm still waiting for My upgrade notice aswell07/29/2015 - 7:57am
MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
 

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