I'm a Human Inbox

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mum's Army to Ban Rap and Violent Videogames

[Media: Article]

Gamepolitics has an interesting article about a UK magazine called "Take a Break" which has started a political campaign called Mum's Army to help stop gangs as well as rap and violent videogames.
Bestselling women's magazine Take a Break has fired the opening shot in what is tipped to be the great weekly war of 2006 by launching a political party staffed by mums who want to ban gangsta rap, membership of "street gangs" and violent video games.

At first glance Mum's Army seems to be calling for censorship, and if that indeed is the case I have to oppose the movement no matter how well intentioned the cause may be. After thinking about the issue of well-meant censorship and doing more reading on the issue, I think that Mum's Army may not actually be supporting censorship but rather better neighborhood involvement to help deal with the problem of gangs.
Anti-social behaviour is being promoted through gangsta music videos. Computer games glorify pimping, drug dealing and street murders. Can we control this?

Then again, their assumption that objectionable media causes "Anti-Social behavior" disturbs me. Although I do think that parental education about music, videogames and movies is always a good option, I don't think that the removal of objectionable media is a solution. Infact, I would argue that increasing such media in a friendly environment would actually decrease gang related problems.

Imagine for example that neighborhood clubs, aimed at perking the interest of young street kids were created for the purpose of keeping the kids distracted and off the street. Such clubs could be focused on mechanics, videogame clubs (with non M-rated games of course), arts and crafts (perhaps a place to practice legal graffiti?) and a place to listen to their music. A place for kids to hang out, socialize and keep out of trouble would be a great opportunity for both the kids and the community.

Instead of trying to take away the only things these kids have, it would be better to encourage positive reinforcement with their chosen media.