Not every teenage boy backs the video game industry when it comes to banning the sale of violent video games to children in California. Take 16-year-old Daniel Willens, a junior at Sonoma Academy -- a preparatory school in Santa Rosa, California, for example.
The teenager penned an editorial in the Press Democrat called "PRO: Minors shouldn't be allowed to buy violent games." Daniel sounds like many of the other supporters of the 2005 law written by California State Senator (D-San Francisco). Daniel opens with the following statement:
"Killing innocent civilians and picking up and beating prostitutes aren't activities parents want their children doing in their free time. Therefore, it only seems logical that minors should be prohibited from buying or renting video games where these actions occur. A California law passed in 2005 does just that, but it was immediately challenged in federal court and is being examined by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court should find this law constitutional."
He then lays out why the law should be found constitutional by the highest court in the land:
"Because the statistical majority of underage gamers are negatively influenced by these games, California has a compelling interest in prohibiting minors from buying them. This compelling interest should warrant governmental regulation. (Editor’s note: earlier in his op-ed, he cites studies from Iowa State University about exposure to violent media and its connection to aggressive behavior) Essentially, California should regulate sales of hyper-violent video games to minors, placing these games in the same category as obscene speech and child pornography -- areas of speech the court has found to be less protected. The California law proposes an equivalent regulatory scheme to that employed for obscene speech. It would effectively prohibit minors from buying the targeted games, yet the actual use of these games would be left to the discretion of parents or guardians."
Commentary: As always, if you want parents to continue to have the power to make choices for their children, they simply can use the ratings system already in place and existing retail policies requiring that anyone under the age of consent to provide a picture I.D. at the register before the sale of a "mature" rated game occurs. Of course, this student does not speak for the entire student body at the school.
Read the rest of the editorial at the Press Democrat.