President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give Parents More Tools

January 16, 2013 -

The Washington Times (thanks to PHX Corp for pointing this out) notes that the President is not looking for more regulations on video games and movies (through research announced today through the CDC), but wants the respective industries to provide parents with more tools so they can make more informed decisions about the content their children are consuming.

"The entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play," the White House said.

The movie industry (and we assume) the video game industry are likely not opposed to providing more tools to inform parents about what kinds of content the most popular entertainment contains. What they are opposed to is government-mandated restrictions or regulations.

Last week MPAA president Chris Dodd (a former CT. Senator) told The Hollywood Reporter that the movie industry would strongly oppose any mandatory government restrictions on violent content in movies, but did think providing more tools for parents was a good idea.

To be fair, both the MPAA and the ESA's Entertainment Software Ratings Board already provide tools for parents to make informed decisions about suitable content for children. The trick for these industries is to make those tools even more visible than they already are now.


Comments

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

I can give someone hammer, but I cannot make them swing.  I can give them a easier hammer (nail gun), but I still cannot make them use it to put a nail in.  Even if they see that the nail needs to be put in.

A tool is only as good as the person who uses it. 

This is the same way, it's not that we don't have a lot of tools, (ESRB, Knowledge campaigns, Ratings Locks, Retailers that enforce the ESRB), but we have parents who don't care or even want to use them.

High Tech Redneck

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

But THIS legislation will give them more tools to not use!

It's just weak politicians going for easy points with their nanny state followers while knowing full well it's unnecessary and redundant. Just think of all the tax dollars we waste on ideological posturing bills like this..

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"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." -H.L.Mencken

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

What? Really? Parents need more tools? I nearly spit my soda at the screen when I read this. They need more tools? What is wrong with the tools that currently exist?

And what tools are available? I may be a little off, but lets count them off:
 

  • Ratings on the front and back of game box with brief description on the back of the box.
  • Leaflets and signs about ratings and how to find out more about the ratings littered throughout GameStop and perhaps [store name here].
  • ESRB website where you can look up games and find out what the ratings are and a description of what each mean.
  • Smartphone and tablet(?) apps that do the same thing as website.
  • Television and newspaper ads the ESRB put out. Some are with local government officials. I don't really see these in my area, so to be fair, maybe more tv and paper ads. Maybe billboard ads too. Keyword: MAYBE.
  • Some games have the ESRB warning as the first screen you see. I know Nintendo games and some XBOX and XBOX Live games have this. I can't swear PS3 has them, for I do not own one. I'm sure there are PS3 owners here that can swear to it.


So, to be honest, what more tools do these parents need?

 - W

Consumer responsibility is just as important as Corporate responsibility. So, be responsible consumers.

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

Don't forget some consoles like the Xbox 360 have parental controls to allow you to decide how long your child plays on the console either daily or weekly and which type of rated games they are allowed to play.

However, I would assert that parents do need to be more informed and aware that these exist. And that means it has to be a constant campaign to inform parents at the store where they sell or rent games. That's our first line of defense, the employees at a retail store who need to make money.

When I worked at a rental store I was active in informing parents what kind of content was in a game. Sometimes they were okay with it, other times they weren't. Some times they were indifferent... :(

But I took on that responsibility. We weren't penalized if we didn't as long as it didn't come back to bite us.

I don't know how many people on here have children. But maybe it's easier since you are already involved in the games industry. For parents who have never played a game or haven't played in a long time, the technology has chanegd.

Not only are there settings in the games and ratings, but the consoles have options as well. It takes someone willing to sit down and expose themselves to all of it.

I can relate to a parent that just wants to sit back and relax on the weekends or after work and not be obsessed with every little thing my child does. It's a tremendous amount of work and they all need to step up to the challenge.

-Mrxknown_JG-

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

Functioning brains would be a good start, I guess.

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

If the video games industry is required to make more tools for lazy parents, eventually it's going to get intrusive and will only hurt the consumers. I can see developers putting a couple more splash screens when you boot up the game and go the way of Resident Evil 4 by saying things like, "WARNING: This game contains explicit scenes of violence and gore. This game is not recommended to anyone under the age of 17". Honestly, I don't see much more the video game industry can really do other than what I just mentioned.

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

How much more is needed?

There are numerous websites to look this up, plus the rating is on the front and back of the box, on the manual, on the disc itself or cartridge itself, and you see it when you boot up the game

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

How many more tools do parents need? Every game sold at retail has an age based rating plus content descriptors. The ESRB has on its website even more content descriptions on it website for the latest games. It has a mobile app that lets you scan the barcode of a game to get that information. All mobile games now have age and content based ratings. There are freely available review and gameplay videos for parent to watch. There are many popular websites that delve even deeper into games' appropriateness.

What more do we need? Parents are not helpless. There are no new challenges that have not yet been addressed. If parents cannot make informed decisions with the tools they have available now, they are simply ignorant.

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

That is literally the very first thing I thought of when I saw this headline.  Oh, you mean like the numerous ratings descriptors on the box?  Or the detailed information online?  You mean the way the video game industry gives more information to parents than the movie industry, and significantly more than the music industry?  You mean like that?

This has gone far enough.  How dare you have the gall to criticize the video game industry for not providing enough information to parents when they provide more information than any other entertainment medium combined?  How dare you drag video games into the spotlight once again, every time some kind of national tragedy happens involving a mentally unstable person and a gun, so they can justify their existence to people who neither understand them nor care to?  How about turning the spotlight onto guns and mental health, which is the real issue here?  Oh I forgot, that's not politically convenient.

Fuck Obama for taking the easy route politically instead of turning the spotlight where it belongs.  And fuck the lazy, ignorant, dumbass parents who still, for all the information and tools provided to them, cannot or will not make informed decisions about what media to let their kids consume.  Quentin Tarantino is right.  We shouldn't allow ourselves to be drawn back into this debate once again when the song and dance is the same now as it was 20 years ago.

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

All that said, I could certainly see tools areas where the movie industry could catch up to the video game industry. 

Re: President Obama: Entertainment Industry Needs to Give ...

These tools fail because of lax parenting.  Creating more "tools" doesn't create better parents.  The ESRB was founded in 1994, how many shootings have happened since then, and how many still are blamed on video games?  Having the rating solves nothing if the parent is unwilling to enforce it.  

 
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