VIOLENT video game bill signed

Monday, June 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Would you let your children witness an execution, or take part in a killing? Some video games do both. But a new law signed Monday will help you protect your children from video violence. KOTV's Tami Marler has checked into the story.

Jackson Woods' parents keep a tight reign on his video games. His dad limits both the time, and the type. Jackson Woods, 11-year-old: "We can't have video games that like you go around and shoot people. He doesn't really like the blood and gore. And I don't really like that either, very much." But his parents can't always be with him and they can't enforce their rules on Jackson's friends, whose parents have different views on video violence. Jackson: "They'll let 'em rent like 'GoldenEye' and stuff where you like go around killing terrorists and stuff.'" Jackson says he's seen more brutal games, where you accumulate points by killing. In some games, if you can shoot your target in the head, you get a bonus.

Those are the types of games experts say gave Paducah Kentucky shooter Michael Carneal marksman-like skills. At his school in 1997, he fired eight shots into a prayer group, hitting eight students, five of them in the head. It's that kind of violence that prompted the first-ever state law that considers violent video games harmful to minors. The video game industry has a self-imposed ratings system in place. State Senator Scott Pruitt says those ratings can act as an attraction to thrill-seeking kids. "So we've got those kinds of things in place, but there's no enforcement. There's no teeth. And so there are many moms and dad out there that say 'I don't want my child having access to this. This will give those moms and dads the ability to the DA and say 'This retailer is violating the law', and we want you to enforce what we have communicated at home." Jackson: "I don't think like they should let like a kid go in there and buy the stuff, but like my age, but maybe go in with a parent." Now that's the only way children can have access to games lawmakers say can harm them.

Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating signed the video violence bill Monday, along with a measure making it more difficult for a minor to have an abortion without parental consent. House Bill 1727 holds doctors responsible for any complications, physical or emotional that come from a minor having an abortion. Lawmakers say the bill will influence doctors to give complete information to minor patients and their guardians.