Jun 27, 2011 11:35 PM by Shawn Kline

Supreme Court: childrens' gaming decisions left to parents

The US Supreme Court ruled on Monday it's everyone's right to buy a video game- no matter the age or even the graphic content of the game.
It continues a decade-old argument: should violent video games be available to children?

"You can get anything from Hannah Montana to Mortal Combat." Jeff Pearson says, "which started this debate years ago with all the fatalities."

Pearson owns Play-N-Trade; an arcade store selling video games to people of all ages, including games rated "M" for Mature. If Louisiana ever banned the sale of these games to minors, Pearson says it could make or break his business.

"It would have been a difference of 10 to 15% in actual sales," he said.

Some states like California banned the sale of violent video games like Mortal Combat or Call of Duty to children under the age of 17. However, the nation's highest court- the Supreme Court says you can't do that- calling it a violation of the first amendment.

"When a parent comes in with their kid, what kind of game do they allow them to play?" Pearson says, "they could be good parents across the board but it all comes down to how (the children) are raised."

In a 90-page decision, Supreme Court Justices ruled the choice is ultimately up to the parents if their child is mature enough to play certain titles.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board or ESRB posts suggested age groups on just about every game. It's system rates games for content suitable for Everyone to Teen and Mature (17 or older). However, in Louisiana, these are just suggestions. Game stores like Pearson's Play-N-Trade have the option to deny a sale of certain games to minors, but it's up to the clerk's discretion.
Monday's ruling now makes it more difficult for government to regulate these sales and instead, puts it in the hands of parents.



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