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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Pedophilia in XBox

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Author Topic: Pedophilia in XBox
Maryha
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I heard a really interesting fact from my government teacher the other day. Apparently a case is making its way up through the U.S. Courts on whether a videogame in which a person can virtually commit acts of pedophilia can be censored or not. A little background she gave us. . . It was previously established that pedophilia in pornography is illegal because as an act it is illegal and for it to be in pornography someone has to actually be committing that act. However, in the case of the videogame, since it is a DEPICTION of the act, they technically, under today's laws can not censor it because there has been no precedent set concerning this issue. Personally, I think this is disgusting, but on the other hand, I've heard some of the arguments in defense of it, that if you make the XBox depictions allowed to be censored than things like movies, literature, and other mediums can be censored concerning other illegal acts as well as pedophilia. What's the harm in that, you might ask? Well, my concern is that certain things like that can be constructive and point our moral consequences and issues surrounding those things. I don't particularly think that in the case of pedophilia. . . But what about rape depicted in media? Where do you place the gauge between obscenity that should be censored and should not be? Anyway, I'd love to hear some different opinions on this topic and if anyone has more information on this case I'd be curious about that too.
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BruinDan
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To put it bluntly, this topic is a real pain in the ass for the US Court system. On the one hand there is a real concern in the judicial system for the welfare of children. As such, you tend to see laws that are restrictive and broad on child molestation issues and things including consensual sexual acts among minors. But on the other hand, you have the all-encompassing freedom of expression that dictates that censorship is an evil that is only to be used in the most dire circumstances. And that particular issue has gone back and forth for generations.

The problem here is that there has to be a line drawn someplace. And by its very nature, a line is drawn by a human being who is setting an arbitrary limit on "decency." This is entirely subjective and can vary over time. Homosexuality was once banned outright (ask Oscar Wilde) and is an example of a behavior that is becoming more and more accepted by the public at large. At this point it doesn't seem that outright child molestation will ever reach that point (and I've got serious issues with it, personally, so that would be fine with me), but you never know.

The Court is going to have a hard time setting limits on what is and what is not acceptable, and no doubt some interest groups are going to want to have their say as well. You'll get the people on one side saying "Well, you allow murder to take place in video games (Grand Theft Auto, anyone?), so why not allow this?", while people on the other side will holler "Ban it all! It promotes indecency and turns kids into immoral, devil-worshipping crack fiends!"

Over the years a variety of standards have been applied when the First Amendment gets called into question. One of those is dubbed the "shock the conscience" standard. Simply put, in order for freedom of speech to be curtailed, the offensive word or act or phrase or video game scene must "shock the conscience of the average recipient." Evidently scenes of murder do not meet this criteria, as their challenges have been overturned in the vast majority of cases. But will scenes of child molestation count? And if they do, will the mention of molestation be wrapped up in it? And if that goes away, will we have to tread carefully when so much as discussing the issue?

Obviously, I'm being a bit facetious here, but it's all for effect. The Court system is going to have its hands full with this one if it gets up high enough, and I'm sure we'll all hear about it in time.

(And by the way, there is a real and concrete difference between pedophilia and child molestation. The former involves a liking to children, while the latter involves some sort of physical act upon a child. It is possible for pedophiles to have such feelings for decades and never act upon them. Just so we're all on the same page here...)

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PSOM

"Battery Stolen; Youth Charged"


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Maryha
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Thanks for the redefinition, BruinDan, of pedophilia vs. child molestation. I think I actually did know the difference, but it slipped my mind.
I'm pretty much on the same page as you. To me, the idea of child molestation is disgusting and horrifying, but the issue of dealing with it in court, as you pointed out, is delicate and must be dealt with carefully. In a way, it wouldn't bother me at all to see depictions of child molestation restricted, so long as it doesn't extend too far to other aspects (such as homosexuality) by one of the ultra-right wing administrations.

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Heather
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I do continually find it interesting that in talk of banning or restricting media, it is almost always about sex rather than violence. or about sex first, then violence.

Though obviously, when you're talking about rape and/or molestation, it's a combination of the two (and really, more about violence than sex at all, but that's a sidebar).

"Obscenity" in and of itself is an interesting concept, since it is utterly arbitrary, but is presented as concrete ans easily defined.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Dude_who_writes
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While I do have a hard time arguing with you, because I agree that child molestation is simply wrong on so many levels, at the same time, I would have a very hard time accepting that depictions, because that really is the key word, need to be censored and banned.

When something is simulated, any parties involved are consenting. Even when actors are used for the simulation -- it's still that, a simulation. If people are offended by a simple simuation -- then they have the choice to turn off the TV, close the book, or walk away from the computer screen.

I can understand banning films and meterial of a snuff nature -- where actual acts of violence, molestation, rape, or murder are taking place -- because an illegal act is being committed. But what the US court system has been dealing with over and over again (especially with overzealous political activists, including even Joe Liberman, a member of the liberal side of the fence) is an act of simulation.

Ultimately, censorship is a slipperly slope, particularly when it comes to simulated acts. The argument, "well, censoring and or banning is the status quo for case x, so why shouldn't it also be implimented for case y?" becomes easier and easier to use and it gains more weight.

There's a simple soloution to all of this. If you're offended, you're not being forced to view the material. We all have this great thing -- it's called free will.

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Tim,
Scarleteen Advocate

My hormones don't rage. Oh sure, they get mad sometimes, but then they just stop speaking to each other. -- Daria.


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Sapp
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Which is worse? Killing a kid or molesting them? Considering the former has been legal in video games for ages, I rest my case.
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LilBlueSmurf
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Which is worse may be a personal opinion ... Many people who have been molested DO feel like part of their life has been taken away from them. To say "Well, you still have your life" may seem obvious, but the depression that can, and often does, come w/ it is astounding. So something, such as molestation or rape, that may have taken less than 5 mins to commit can affect a persons life forever.

On top of that, for some people molestation is not a one time thing ... sometimes making them wonder which would be worse; constantly having their privacy and dignity stolen from them or simply not living. And i am in no means saying this a healthy way of viewing it ... But it goes along w/ the psychological effects.

Again ... I have to ask you to stop the generalizing. Just b/c you may feel one may be better than the other, that does not mean everyone is going to agree w/ you. This can be avoided by using "I" statements ... "I feel molestation would be better than death, and therefore if death is allowed, why not molestation as well?"


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Sapp
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Ok, which is worse according to US law? Murdering a kid or molesting them? I rest my more specific case.
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Milke
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And US law dictates universal ethics?

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Milke, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP

I want a boy for my birthday . . .


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Sapp
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To put my original post in the bluntest way possible: The general consensus in the US is that mass murder, for example, is worse than molesting children. Because the majority of the US thinks this way and the US is a democracy, it comes as no surprise that US courts didn't censor the pedophilia apparent in this particular video game considering murder is widely accepted in many previous video games.

Is this PC enough? I feel like a lawyer.


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Milke
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Ah, I see. Still, I'm not sure whether you're arguing that what's happened is logical because of the American legal system, or that the legal system itself is so great that it should set standards for all of us.

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Milke, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP

I want a boy for my birthday . . .


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Sapp
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I don't think the legal system is perfect, but I agree with most of it. I'd like to see it enforced universally, as I think it's the best.

If everyone followed the US legal system I'm sure the world would be a better place.


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BruinDan
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And just out of bold curiosity, have you ever worked in any sort of field where you'd have firsthand knowledge of just how fluid, mighty, and just the US justice system is? A lot can be learned from those who work in such fields, and conversely I'd tend to discount the rantings and ravings of an argumentative poster who has nothing more than a vague and topical outside understanding of the legal system he so blindly blusters about.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PSOM

"Battery Stolen; Youth Charged"


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Sapp
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Eh? I actually know quite a bit about the law. I studied it extensively in high school and independently (military law, in particular.) I hope that satisfies your "bold curiosity." Thanks for your baseless and, well, flat out wrong insults though.

I love how if I say the slightest thing un-PC I get chastised, yet it's fine for other people to patently attack me.

[This message has been edited by Sapp (edited 01-07-2003).]


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emsily0
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hey guys. try to keep the snarking to a minimum, if you please? i know that there are sensitive issues being discussed, and when you feel strongly about something it's hard to avoid getting angry, but please avoid the personal insults.

em


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Confused boy
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The world would be a better place if everyone followed US law?

Need it even be said that the US has refused to sign up to UN laws on the rights of children? The US "justice" system still reserves the right to execute minors and thus could not follow the declaration. Additionally the US refused to sign up to international law on use of landmines and the environment. And yet the current administration wants supposedly less civilised nations to take the UN seriously.

Sorry. Central point: laws you have grown up with and are also culturally enforced tend to make the most sense to you personally. Its human nature and it takes a certain re-orientation of the mind to accept other justice systems as equally valid.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Sapp
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It's my opinion. It is completely subjective.

If you believe the world would be a better place if we followed say, Afghanistan's laws, so be it. That's would be your opinion and I would respect that.


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Frog Hunter
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Child molesting in video games, eh...

I don't foresee it as a problem, because the games simply wouldn't be that popular. What kid is going to wake up Christmas morning to find Child Molester III: Minivan Mayhem in his stocking? Even in adults, who is going to have the balls to buy one at the store?

Personally I don't think our legal system should permit making this kind of video game illegal, pretty much for the same reason Sapp has so nicely summarized. I do however doubt the sales of any child-molesting games would be all that high, which means they probably would simply be bypassed by the blank-stare reaction on the average video gamer's part.

Eventually it would no longer be a problem. Besides, it takes an entire group of reasonably intelligent people to make a video game... do you think a bunch of thug gangstas made GTA? No... it was a bunch of video game programmers who were aiming to appeal to the tastes of a bunch of thug gangstas. If they realize their games aren't doing well, I doubt a lot of them are going to say "needs more child molesting" in any of their future endeavours, right?

It might be the kind of thing someone does just because you can, and then realizes it wasn't worth doing anyways. I know nothing about how video games are made, and I'm only using common sense when I say most people who buy those games are teenagers anyways... so if I'm wrong, won't someone correct me?

[This message has been edited by Frog Hunter (edited 01-07-2003).]


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mistressmegan
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quote:
Originally posted by BruinDan:

(And by the way, there is a real and concrete difference between pedophilia and child molestation. The former involves a liking to children, while the latter involves some sort of physical act upon a child. It is possible for pedophiles to have such feelings for decades and never act upon them. Just so we're all on the same page here...)


Partly true.... Pedophiles can engage in relationships with children,but a vast majority tend not to. Molesters are rapists though and they are no better then people who rape adults probaly worse since they prey on children who know better. But you can tell the diffrence between a molested child and one who had a relationship with a pedophile growing up. And before people flip out on me yes i do know because i did when i was a kid so :-P to you.


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