Venezuela Imposes Ban on Violent Games

BY Andrew Miesner / October 6, 2009

The increasing homicide rate in Venezuela is concerning not only the parents, but the government too. The government figures there must be something wrong with the way they are raising their kids, so they go to the drawing boards to figure something out. In 2005, Chavez and his government decided to stop releasing the figures of annual murders. Some figures were gathered from Justice Ministries that marked the murders at 152 per week. As you may have guessed it, the one which takes the blame for all of this is once again, Counter-Strike.

Now, Chavez decided, was a good time to put the ban hammer on violent video games and toys. The initial piece of legislation was passed in September. Within a few weeks, the bill will be voted on for the final time. Parents are enjoying this bill and approve completely. The speculation is that Chavez is just pulling a publicity stunt because he does not know how to really deal with the crime rate.

Teens, however, do not agree with this being passed whatsoever. “Video games aren’t the problem, criminals are the problem. Why don’t they go after them?” asked Arny Gonzalez, a 17-year-old high school student.

Lawmaker Jose Albornoz thinks otherwise. He believes by breaking a “direct link” between video games and real life killing, the crime rate will reduce drastically. But, nearly all studies find that there is no link between video games and violent crimes with teenagers.

 “Some believe they actually can serve as a substitute, kids get rid of their rage through the game instead of acting out,” said criminologist Roberto Briceno, who tracks crime at the Venezuelan Violence Observatory.

At the initial voting on the legislation, Grand Theft Auto was presented as the problem. They showed images of a man pulling others out of cars and beating them, just to hijack their cars.

“That’s what our children are learning from these games, and it cannot continue,” Albornoz said from the podium, waving a plastic toy machine gun for emphasis.

Protests have begun to set in against the bill, hoping to get it overturned. The law would place a ban on “manufacture, importation, distribution, sales and use of violent video games and bellicose toys.”

“It’s a facade that allows them to say they are doing something to lower the crime rate,” Sanchez said, “while hiding the fact that existing policies have failed.”

Source: MSNBC