Attorney General and gaming companies keeping sex offenders away from online games
I'm going to start a slow, building applause, and you're more than welcome to join in. As a parent and a gamer, when I see the government interferring in the video game world for the right reasons, it makes me very proud. So when I read on the New York Times that the office of the New York state attorney general, Eric. T. Schneiderman, and gaming companies like Microsoft, Blizzard, Disney Interactive Media Group, Sony, EA, and Apple were protecting our kids in the online gaming world, I was nervous at first. I was concerned it was going to be about M-ratings and taxes and what-not.
But it's not about that. It's about protecting kids from registered sex offenders in online gaming. The attorney general's office noted a case where a 19-year-old pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy he met on Xbox Live. It's not a new threat that children could be at risk on the internet, MMORPGs, forums, and any gaming platform's online service in which they interact with other people. So I became very proud that companies are taking this precaution.
The New York Times wrote that "several companies that own video gaming systems have closed more than 3,500 online accounts belonging to registered sex offenders in New York who use the consoles to chat and play video games." And that's where I queue the applause. And don't get on me about second chances and sexual offenders' rights. The moment your sexually assault someone, especially a child, you shouldn't have any more rights.
Video games aren't a right; they're a luxury.
New York state attorney general Schneiderman commented, "We must ensure online video games do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators [...] That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims."
In the picture above, you can see Mr. Schneiderman standing next to a sign showing tips for parents. It's called Operation: Game Over (yea, it's corny, but at least what they're doing is good). Now, my eyesight is bad and the picture is blurry, but some of the tips are:
- Educate children about protecting identifying information
- Keep computer or game console in public area of the house
- Use game console's parental controls
- Choose games appropriate for child's age and maturity level
PC games like World of Warcraft are a little tougher for parents to control every aspect of, but all of this is still an appropriate measure to take.