Parents guide their moral upbringing, direct their education, and, with some rare exceptions, are legally responsible for their children until they reach the age of 18. As young people gain responsibility, they increasingly acquire the rights and privileges of citizenship. Along these lines, the Supreme Court has never held that the protections in the Bill of Rights apply to minor children in the same way they apply to ordinary adult citizens. A recent post of ours mentioned a Supreme Court case from the state of California regarding a law regulating the sale of violent video games to minors and the controversy surrounding all sides of the debate. The case brings up lots of questions about the First Amendment, like whose rights are being challenged in this case–the minors’, the parents’, or the game producers’?
Our friends at the National Constitution Center recently published their own blog post about the issues surrounding video games, minors, and free speech and explained why laws banning the sale of violent video games are often ruled unconstitutional. The author, Professor Geoffrey R. Stone, wrote:
“Basically, the courts have reasoned that (a) minors have constitutional rights (even if they are not precisely coextensive with the rights of adults), (b) video games are protected First Amendment expression (they are artistic and they may reasonably be seen as interactive novels) … and (e) the responsibility for dealing with these issues properly rests with parents rather than with the government.”
What is your reaction? How should the rights of minors be understood and enforced by law? What arguments for or against the ban could be made by the following individuals/groups?
- minor children
- parents of minor children
- video game producers
- owners of video game stores
- members of society who believe violent video games cause children to act violently towards others
If you’re interested in learning more about the First Amendment, you might try our Is it a First Amendment Issue? eLesson.
Posted in Daily News Headlines