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Residents sound off on violent video games

Supreme Court decision doesn’t affect family’s home, mother says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A Supreme Court decision has some local community members speaking out about violent video games and parents’ responsibility to know what their children are doing. In a 7-2 ruling Monday the Supreme Court struck down California’s 2005 ban on selling video games to minors. The court found that the law, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, violated First Amendment free speech rights. Chief Valerie Harris, of the Auburn Police Department, said parents, and not the government, need to be regulating what games their children are playing. “We need to protect our First Amendment rights and parents, adults need to properly supervise the type of video (games) that youth use to make sure they are not involved in too violent games too early,” Harris said. “It all goes back to parenting, supervision and a balanced understanding of the game versus reality.” Randy Tooker, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn, said children who attend the club play video games, but not violent ones. “It’s just not in line with the safe, positive place we are creating here and what we feel is appropriate at the club,” Tooker said. “The games that the kids do play here are more group interaction. They are on the computers, they are strategy games.” Tooker said kids also play a variety of games on the Microsoft Kinect console, which has no controller and allows them to get up and move in a variety of sports-themed games. Tooker said he also thinks the most important part of the violent video game issue is that parents are involved and know what their kids are playing. Auburn resident Jack Woods, 13, said games like the WWII fighting-focused “Call of Duty” are fun to play and certain kids should be allowed to play them. “I believe if you are mature enough, and your parents believe you are mature enough to play those games, and you know it’s wrong to kill people, you should be allowed to play those games,” Jack said. “I know that in ‘Call of Duty’ you are able to turn the blood and gore off, too. So there is that option.” Keyly Carlos, 10, who also attends the Boys & Girls Club, said she doesn’t think every young person that plays violent games will act violently. “Maybe it wouldn’t happen, because some people are nice and they play the games,” Keyly said. Auburn resident Shelby Kindice, 11, said violent games could be fun, but they are not right for everybody. “Sometimes it’s fun but most of the time it’s just not appropriate for most of our ages,” Shelby said. “Because they could think it’s the best game in the world and then go punch or kick somebody and think it’s OK.” Shelby said she enjoys the games offered at the Boys & Girls Club, and it doesn’t bother her that the club doesn’t allow violent games. “I don’t really care, because I have other games I can play,” Shelby said. “I like the (online) games called Girls Go Games because it is cooking, dressing up and makeovers. I really like cooking and dressing up people, it’s fun.” Shelby said she also likes racing games and games that teach you how to drive. Auburn resident Austin Baze, 11, said he enjoys violent games, but he has to skip past parts of them. “They can be fun sometimes, but sometimes it’s really gruesome and hard to watch,” Austin said. “Some stuff I don’t want to see.” Austin said he thinks it’s good for him to stop playing the games once in awhile and play the games that are offered at the Boys & Girls Club instead. Lisa Kindice, Shelby’s mother, said the Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t really affect her home, because violent games aren’t allowed and she supervises what her kids play. “I think it’s a parent’s job to control what is in their child’s environment,” Kindice said. “It’s my opinion that violence has no place in childhood whatsoever. That is not what being a kid is about. I think some kids don’t have a good foundation at home where if that is all the input they are getting, that is going to be all the output they are giving.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com