The California Legislature enacted legislation that violent videogames increase the likelihood that minors will be antisocial or offensive, and minors who do not act violently will suffer psychological damage if they are exposed to violent videogames for a long time.
The Entertainment Software Association and others filed a complaint that the law was unconstitutional, and the US Supreme Court, when the National Assembly passed a mandatory shutdown, made a decision on the law.
Although the law is totally different from the mandatory shutdown system under the Youth Protection Act, this ruling allows us to look at the United States’ view of video games.
Supreme Court Rejects California Video Game Law
Games are protected by freedom of expression
First and foremost in the ruling is the Supreme Court’s judgment that video games are also protected by freedom of expression. If the game could not be protected by freedom of expression in the first place, the problem of freedom of expression would not have arisen from the beginning.
It is controversial whether games are also protected by freedom of expression because the problem of freedom of expression arises mostly in the area of political expression. And this is the same in our country as can be seen in the Minerva, PD notebook, and mouse painting events.
It was a question of whether games could be protected by freedom of expression because games were originally a medium of strong entertainment. The attempt itself was dangerous.
The game’s interaction is nothing new for every medium.
The next thing to notice is the Supreme Court’s decision on whether it’s reasonable to treat violent games differently from other media. Games, unlike other mediums, have the property of an interaction.
In other words, in a video game, the player has an active interaction through the screen (https://www.daretobedigital.com/hardware/best-cpu-for-gaming/) that determines participation in violent behavior. Thus, if such interactions are characteristic of games that do not exist in other media, discrimination against violent games may be justified.
The Supreme Court, however, judged that the game’s interaction was nothing new, especially based on The Adventure of You: Sugar cane Island, published in 1969. These types of novels are later referred to as gamebooks, where the content of the novels depends on the reader’s decision.
In the end, the Supreme Court’s view is that all media are interactive, with varying degrees, and that all media have such characteristics that it is unfair to treat games differently.
There is no causal relationship between game violence and real-world violence
Finally, we need to note that the Supreme Court judged that there was no causal relationship between violent games and violence in the real world.
The Supreme Court found that California’s findings by Dr. Craig Anderson and some psychologists’ arguments that exposure to violent video games have a detrimental effect on children are not valid. In addition, almost all of these studies are based on correlations, not evidence of causation, and found to contain significant, admitted defects in the methodology.
In addition, even though the Supreme Court acknowledges Dr. Anderson’s findings that violent video games make children more aggressive, these effects are very small and indistinguishable from those from other media.
Every society has different legal standards. And if the legal system of a particular country is based on scientific evidence and established by rational decision-making, it will not be a problem because it is different from that of other countries.