The Political Compromise program’s objective is to provide students a framework that requires cooperation and compromise within which they create a single policy based on a topic of state or national importance.
2019 Discussion Question:
How should legislators in Michigan evaluate violent video games and their suitability for minors?
The Story: There has been a lot of buzz regarding a new video game that will be hitting the shelves this holiday season. This third-person shooter game has been anticipated by gamers of all ages for several years. While the gamers are excited for the release there is another group, child psychologists, who are cautious. They are interested in better understanding how playing violent video games impacts the cognitive development of youth. The entertainment industry, who are developing and selling these games, maintains that the rating system already in place adequately rates games for suitability for each age group.
While this issue has been debated in many states and ruled on by the Supreme Court, the Michigan Legislature believes they have a vested interest in finding a compromise. The legislature has requested that stakeholders from each interest area hold a meeting to discuss and evaluate two specific areas of this issue. The first is to come up with a narrow definition of what is considered inappropriate levels of violence. The second is to develop a recommendation of an age limit for this content, based on the impact of the content on the cognitive development of young people.
In the end, all three groups must come together to produce one letter to the legislature that expresses the views of the committee. In this letter, each groups’ needs must be addressed in a way that each group feels like they will benefit.
Video Game Advocates
Members of this group range from novice to experienced gamers and also vary in age. They play video games as a source of entertainment. Generally this group advocates that the violence in the games is a simulation and not reflective of the real world. They believe that it should be up to the individual as to what type of game they purchase and play. This group advocates that it is the personal responsibility of each gamer to understand the different between games and reality.
Cyber Psychology and Behavioral Specialist
Members of this group are trained psychology professionals ranging from researchers to those in clinical practices. This group researches and evaluates the impacts of interacting with violence in video games on a gamer’s mental state. Their research shows a wide range of impacts on different age groups. Their goal is to ensure that any guidelines are created using evidence based research on the impacts of violence on cognitive development. They are specifically focused on how exposure to violence impacts individuals at the different stages of development.
Members of this group are creators of video games and the companies that sell and distribute games. One of their primary goals is to ensure the freedom of expression for those creating games. They believe that video games occupy the same space as other art forms and that the games they sell deserve to be protected as such. They do support the current rating system and its use to determine game suitability for each age group.