41 Ind. L. Rev. 55 (2008)
Shielding Children from Violent Video Games through Ratings Offender Lists; Saunders, Kevin W.

handle is hein.journals/indilr41 and id is 63 raw text is: SHIELDING CHILDREN FROM VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES
THROUGH RATINGS OFFENDER LISTS
KEVIN W. SAUNDERS*
INTRODUCTION
The past decade has seen a great deal of concern over the exposure of
children to violent video games. Social scientists have provided a basis for that
concern through studies linking the playing of such games to real world
aggression,' but the links have not been sufficiently strong for the courts to accept
legal limitations on access by children.2 In each case, legislative limitations have
been opposed by the video game industry, even though the industry's own ratings
system considers many of the violent games unsuitable for children.' The
purpose of this Article is not to suggest the abandonment of the legislative
attempts at limiting access. The analysis of the courts rejecting the previous
attempts has focused on the purported failure of the science to support the
necessity of the restrictions to meet the accepted compelling interest in the
physical and psychological well-being of youth.4 That analysis is time bound.
That is, all a court could say is that the science, as it existed at the time of the
court's examination of the issue, failed to support adequately the limitations.
That conclusion says nothing with regard to the science even six months or a year
in the future, and each time a legislature tries to limit the access of children to
violent video games, courts must examine the science anew. The continued
development of social science, and the new insights being provided by
neuroscience,5 make the possibility that courts will recognize the necessity of
these limits at some point in the future very real.
What is suggested here is that, at least as a temporary means of protecting
children, parents be provided with notice as to which stores and arcades are
allowing access to games that are inappropriate for their children, according to
the video game industry's own ratings systems. There is evidence that media
ratings systems may be confusing or misleading,6 so parents may not recognize
which games have been rated as inappropriate. There may also be confusion as
to the legal status of the industry ratings systems. If parents believe that their
children are not allowed to buy games or play games in arcades rated beyond the
* Professor Law, Michigan State University College of Law. A.B., Franklin & Marshall
College; M.S., M.A., Ph.D., University of Miami; J.D., University of Michigan.
1. See infra notes 18-55 and accompanying text. The cited material also shows that the
courts have not been receptive to the social science.
2. See infra notes 19, 27, 43-55 and accompanying text. But see notes 26, 31 and
accompanying text.
3. See infra notes 92-117 and accompanying text.
4. See infra notes 18-55 and accompanying text.
5. For a discussion of the relevant neuroscience, see Kevin W. Saunders, A Disconnect
Between Law and Neuroscience: Modem Brain Science, Media Influences, and Juvenile Justice,
2005 UTAH L. REv. 695.
6. See infra notes 108-14 and accompanying text.

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