Legal Times

Greenwood Gator's

Should We Sell Violent Video Games To Minors?

As Christmas approaches, many kids around the world are beginning to make their Christmas wish lists. Fifty years ago, what do you think would have been on those lists for Santa to bring? Perhaps a cute new doll or a shiny red bicycle would be the case. In today’s time, due to the ever growing technological world, it seems that many of children’s lists are beginning to change. Many kids today have at least one game system of some type in their homes if not more, making video gaming a huge industry not just in America, but all over the world. Video games are becoming some of the hottest Christmas gifts, but when we look at the top wish on the list of a ten year old and see that they want Grand Theft Auto V, what should this tell us?

In a Pew Research Center’s 2008 survey, 50% of boys and 14% of girls between 12 and 17 listed a game with a rating of “Mature” or “Adults Only” in their current top three games. Boys who play Teen or Mature rated games for a minimum of 40 minutes a day may witness over 5,400 incidents of game aggression per month. Many seem to believe that exposing our youth to such violence and aggression at such an early age is causing them to pick up violent behaviors from them. Some younger children may have an issue with distinguishing the real world from the fantasy video game world, so they think that it’s okay to act as if they were in their game.

Michael Carneal, a 14-year-old who fired upon a group of classmates at Heath High School in West Paducah, KY in 1997, was a fan of “Mortal Combat” and “Doom”. Teenage couple Heather Trujillo and Lamar Roberts beat Heather Trujillo’s seven year old sister “Mortal Combat style” to death near Denver, Colorado. These are just two examples of why some people are saying that we should ban the sale of violent video games to minors in the United States. It is currently a hotly debated topic, but so far no actual laws have been passed on the matter at this time due to fear of infringement on first amendment rights.

Cyber Bullying: What Is It and How Is It Affecting Our Kids?

Although it’s always been discouraged, bullying in school aged children and teenagers has always existed in our schools and communities. In the past, maybe some kids would get stuffed into their locker or their lunch tray smashed in their face, but now adolescents are finding new ways to bully others: through technology and the internet.

According to a national poll, one in three kids between the ages of 12 and 17 and one in every six kids between the ages of 6 and 11 have experienced the pains of cyber bullying at some point. What is cyber bullying exactly? Cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices, such as e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, cellphones, pagers, and web sites to send or post cruel or harmful messages. Cyber bullying is so easy because the bully no longer has to be present to attack the victim. He or she now has unlimited power at the click of a mouse or keyboard.

So how is this affecting our children? Cyber bullying can hurt the self-esteem of the child being bullied and may cause him or her to lose friends due to something they saw about them online. In severe cases, cyber bullying can easily push the child to aggressive suicidal thoughts. There have been many cases involving suicide in adolescents due to cyber bullying since the rise of technology.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

We live in a time where there is almost no place that you can go without seeing someone with a cell phone. As technology advances, more people have a cell phone at their fingertips than ever before. They make it possible for us to communicate with ease, wherever, whenever. The problem is: texting has become a huge distraction for drivers on the road. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Drivers need to be focused on their surroundings at all times. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph there is enough time to cover the length of a football field.

Here is a list of some things that you can do to keep yourself safe from the risks of texting and driving:

  • When you first get into your car, make it a priority to put your phone where you cannot easily get to it. If you cannot see it, then you are not as tempted to use it.
  • Turn off the sounds and vibrations. If you cannot hear your phone, then you will not care to look at it
  • If you have a friend or relative in the car with you, ask them to be your “designated texter”. They can read the message to you and reply what you tell them so that you never have to take your eyes off the road.
  • Finally, just say no to texting and driving. Whether you follow the other tips or not, keep a strong mind and resist the urge to text and drive. It can save your life.

MADD: Who They Are and How They Are Helping Our Society

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a non-profit group who seek support in helping prevent underage drinking, drinking while driving, and push for an overall tighter policy on drinking. MADD was founded in 1980 when one mother lost her thirteen year old daughter to a drunk driver’s negligence.

MADD’s Mission Statement: To stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and prevent underage drinking.

MADD provides support to any and all victims who have either been hurt by a drunk driver or lost a loved one due to drunk driving. If you ever find yourself in this situation, MADD offers a free year round phone support service. Call: 877.MADD.HELP for emotional support at any time. MADD even offers free support to victims on Christmas Day! In 2012, MADD provided victim services to over 61,000 victims and survivors nationwide—that means serving one victim and survivor every 8.6 minutes at no charge. MADD is there for you even when you feel like nobody else can understand.

Today's Opinion on: Gay Marriage

Julia Denbaugh

"The LGBT community should be able to marry by all means. In America, we have separation from the church and state, therefore any religious bias should not have anything to do with our marriage laws. In the past, interracial marriages were a controversial subject but are now becoming more accepted. The issue of gay marriage is now becoming that controversial issue of today.

Gay marriage should be allowed, especially because it does not affect anyone else besides the couple. It is their right as an American to pursue happiness and if that is what makes them happy, then I see no harm in it. Love is love. There is no changing it. All love is the same, whether it be between a man and a woman, two men, or two women."

By: Taylor Rogers