90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Expert: Violent Video Games Should Be For Adults Only

Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee holds up three video games after a news conference following the 2011 Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional to bar children from buying or renting violent video games. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee holds up three video games after a news conference following the 2011 Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional to bar children from buying or renting violent video games. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. set off a fresh debate about the effects of media violence, including violent video games, on children.

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre put the blame for the incident squarely on the entertainment media, calling it a “callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.”

President Barack Obama called for research into the relationship between “video games, media images, and violence.”

Nancy Carlsson-Paige is a child development expert. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Nancy Carlsson-Paige is a child development expert. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

TV and film executives, along with leaders in the gaming industry met with Vice President Joe Biden on the issue, though people in their own industries criticized them for it, saying the very act of meeting with Biden signaled – incorrectly – that there was something wrong with their products.

In the aftermath of the shooting, some schools have been disciplining kids for playing with toy guns.

A five-year-old girl was suspended from a kindergarten in Mount Carmel, Pa. for a “terrorist threat,” after talking with a classmate about shooting each other with bubbles from a Hello Kitty bubble blower.

In Massachusetts, five-year-old Joseph Cardosa faced suspension after reportedly building a toy gun out of Lego bricks and making shooting noises.

Longtime child development expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige (who is also the mother of artist Kyle Damon and actor Matt Damon) told Here & Now’s Robin Young that she thinks making toy guns out of Lego bricks is a healthy way to play, saying she has fond memories of her Annie Oakely hat and double cap guns with which she and her friends played war games.

Children need to play good guy versus bad guy games, she says, which is why she is for war games. But Carlsson-Paige says in order for those war games to be healthy, they should be something children make up.

Carlsson-Paige says the aggressive marketing of toys connected to movies and video games harms children’s play, because they are given characters, weapons and plots – in short, leaving them very little room for engaging in creative play.

Carlsson-Paige also says that toy makers routinely market toys from movies and video games rated “mature” to kids as young as four, and she wants laws to stop the the sale and marketing of adult-level toys to young children.

As for video games, Carlsson-Paige said, “I’m not for censorship. I’m not talking about the 22 year old playing Call of Duty. I don’t want to take video games away from adults. I just want them kept from children.”

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Here & Now resident chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst shares her list of the best cookbooks of the year.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

December 18 Comment

College Counselor: ‘A Deferral Is Not A Denial’

Lisa Micele shares tips for applying to college — especially for students who have been deferred under early decision.

December 18 17 Comments

America’s Political Dynasties

Americans under 38 have only experienced one presidential election that did not involve a Bush or a Clinton.

December 17 2 Comments

Atticus Lish’s ‘Preparation For The Next Life’

The author's debut novel centers on an unlikely romance between an Iraq veteran and a Uyghur from China.

December 17 3 Comments

Diagnosing Ear Infections With Your Smartphone

The CellScope Oto is a clip-on gadget that turns a smartphone into an otoscope — the tool doctors use to check out a patient's eardrum.