Freedom of gaming I |

Freedom of gaming I

While I would take issue with many observations in Jack Markowitz’s column “Protecting kids trumps ‘creative freedom'” (Nov. 4 and about California’s video game law, including his mischaracterization of video games in general, he correctly concludes that parents, not legislators, are best able to steer their children toward age-appropriate games.

Fortunately, parents have tools at their disposal to guide them — without threatening free-speech rights.

The independent computer and video game ratings system, called the gold standard by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, provides parents with clear content information on all game packages. Game consoles also come equipped with parental control systems that allow parents to block games they do not want their children to play. These are among the reasons why two federal courts ruled California’s video game law unconstitutional.

With no scientific evidence linking video games to real-life violence, this law would do more harm than good, stifling the creative expression not only of game creators but potentially of filmmakers, authors and journalists.

With the right tools for parents, we can protect kids without unconstitutionally curtailing the rights of expression.

Michael D. Gallagher

The writer is president and CEO of the Washington-based Entertainment Software Association (, which represents the U.S. computer and video game industry.

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