The Timothy Plan's Look Inside Video Games 2010 Report Released

November 24, 2010 -

The Timothy Plan's Look Inside Video Games 2010 Report has been released, once again giving parents who want it help in determining the content of various video games on the market. The guide, which is skewed towards Christian parents rates games based on several content categories such as sex, nudity, gay/lesbian, violence, cartoon violence, language, comic mischief, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, demonic, and game addiction. The report uses a scale of 1 - 3 in each category (with 3 being the worst).

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NIMF to Close at Year End

November 20, 2009 -

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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NIMF's David Walsh Interviewed in Game Informer

July 2, 2008 -

Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, is the subject of an  interview in the July issue of Game Informer.

The politically-connected Walsh, whose organization delivers its Annual Video Game Report Card each holiday season, is described by the magazine as "one of gaming's most thoughtful and reasoned critics." He dishes on a number of topics, including:

  • ESRB ratings (watchdog-ish, cautiously supportive)
  • his criticism of the Grand Theft Childhood book (disagrees with its premise)
  • his thoughts on video game legislation (opposes censorship)
  • Jack Thompson (publicly distanced himself from Thompson)

Regarding legislation, Walsh told GI:

I'm not in favor of censorship. Once we delegate to the government what we can and can't say and freedom of expression - and video games are a form of expression - that's a very slippery slope. I think government can have a role. I think the role they've been playing is the "bully pulpit" to raise awareness.

As to Thompson, Walsh said:

Extreme positions create a lot of heat but very little light. Television and talk radio love extreme positions. So there are folks out there who do not hesitate to take positions that they can't defend. You get the these food fights going on that talk radio loves, but don't really advance our knowledge and understanding whatsoever. It got to the point where I had to publlcily distance myself from Jack Thompson. 

Distance himself, indeed.

The high-profile split with Thompson came in October, 2005. The story was broken by GamePolitics, and set Internet tongues wagging for days. Read Walsh's letter breaking ties with Thompson here.

 
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