In everything one does, ethical decision-making is involved. Work, school, home, and communications, ethical beliefs are challenged. Ethics decision-making help guide one’s thought process and challenging situations; they help guide an individual through situations long before it happens. Ethics are rules and standards governing the conduct in which one lives and makes life decisions. Building ethics is a learning process; the things one learns, as one grows, will govern and guide the rest of one’s life. Ethics are not only important as an individual, but they are strongly important in today’s society.
Ethics toward society such as media must produce a balance of good over harm. “Ethical action is the one that best protects and respects the moral rights of those affected” (A Framework for Thinking Ethically, 2014). Media labeling or censorship schemes have been considered by lawmakers in the past for video games, television, music, and any media form. All on the name of helping parents shield their children’s eyes and ears from unethical content. Video game censorship has been a strong controversial issue within society for years.
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Parents claim that kids who are exposed to violent within in video Ames become aggressive and violent themselves; they become violent adults later in life. Violence influencing children has yet to be proven. Long before video games revolutionized the world of children’s entertainment, kids found ways to entertain themselves. Children would play interactive games that included violent themes. Take the classic games of “Cowboys and Indians”: children pretend battle against one another, shoot one another [kill one another], and portray violence.
No matter with media or not, violence will always be in the mind of children; violence will always be portrayed in some way or another. To control this, many have prohibited the selling of all video games that may include graphic violence, sexual content, criminal behavior or other provocative and objectionable material. Grand Theft Auto, for example, portrays gang violence, murder, sex, prostitution; the list can go on forever. Within this single player game, one free roams and explores the city in an action adventure to complete as many missions one can. Each series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game” (Gang, 2014). The game included elements where one can beat up citizens, role playing (sex), racing, and, of course, grand theft auto. Parents have claimed that the violence portrayed in Grand Theft Auto has a strong influence amongst children and teens; children and teens have followed suite of what they see.
According to The Telegraph (2008) “Thailand has banned the video game Grand Theft Auto, after a disturbed teenager allegedly killed a taxi driver in a copycat crime” (p. 1). An 18-year-old teen was charged with possession of a weapon and robbery after police found a body of a taxi driver in his vehicle. The teen is facing the death penalty or life in imprisonment if convicted. Not too long after, Grand Theft Auto was officially banned from shelves for its obscene content. Any store or online sellers who attempt to sell this game will be arrested and sentenced to prison.
Thai police have encouraged people to be careful of what types of games one players or buys; and has urged friends and relatives to watch behaviors or gamers carefully. Grand Theft Auto has been banned official being sold and played not only in Thailand but Brazil, Australia, and few other places. Grand Theft Auto has been argued that these obscene images are unethically influencing the youth’s minds. These obscene images encourage abuse in many forms. The depiction of women is problematic, drug abuse, and the video game allows players to be violent to both men and women.
Target stores have pulled Grand Theft Auto games off shelves to help censor in the harmful and unethical influences amongst the youth. Censorship of Grand Theft Auto has been taken into the hands of few, but how far can one go with censorship? Grand Theft Auto cannot be censored in the eyes of society, because what is portrayed in this video games is constantly portrayed in everyday life; music, television, books, etc. Censorship can be contained, but that is of the people’s responsibility. It is the parent’s responsibility to control what children and teens view if they have a concern about the effects.
Video game rating systems have been around since 1994. “A coalition of game publishers presents Congress with its proposal for the Entertainment Software Rating Board or (USER), a voluntary industry-wide standard for age ratings on video games” (Koehler, 2009). A rating system is devised for the content Of the game constructed. The rating System goes as followed (Early Childhood, Everyone 1 0+, Teen, Mature, Adults only, and Rating Pending). Each rating system provides a concise and informative outline of the content in video games and APS so consumers, especially for parents so that parents can make informed choices.
Grand Theft Auto is rated M for Mature. Grand Theft Auto games 1-9 have all been rated M for Crime, violence, sex, drugs, and alcohol. With this knowledge, it is not society duty to censor video games but the people. Ethics refers to standards, morals, beliefs, and behaviors that follows to help guide one in situations they may face. Ethics are gained experiences and practices one learns from childhood to adulthood. Ethics helps to guide an individual’s understandings of the concepts of right and wrong. In everything one does, ethical decision-making is involved.