The Lane Train

News and Pop Culture for the Blog Generation

Facebook Ads are Misleading

Posted by thelanetrain on July 15, 2008

So today at work, I was killing some time on everyone’s favorite default social networking site when I came across the following ad:

Wait a minute, our blind Governor has the power to veto video games?  I had no idea he would/could do such a thing to us, the glorious sighted youth of New York.  No doubt intrigued, I clicked on the link, which redirected me to this somewhat gimmicky-looking website.  Apparently the above ad was just a lure to get me to read the real facts posted for the whole world to see.

After The Jump: My strange adventure into the New York State Assembly Files, and why this ad is horribly misleading

The white text was screaming right in front of me, as if it wanted me to jump up and go start a protest on the State Capitol steps:

Unfortunately, the anti-video game bill (S 6401 A/A 11717) has passed both the House and Assembly and is now in hands of Governor Paterson. Please take action now and send a letter asking him to veto the anti-video game bill. New York gamers need to send a message: More video game education, not video game regulation!

This bill would waste NY residents hard earned tax dollars on investigating video games when the facts are already in. We have much higher priorities for our resources and dollars than this kind of crusade.

Like what?  Tell me, what is more important than video games?

Oh ok, so nothing yet.  Interesting…

But I clicked on the link to check out the actual bill, and it really is an actual New York State bill, like written in legalese with all sorts of crazy jargon that no layman could understand.  All I got from the top portions though, is that the bill is NOT designed as an “anti-video game” bill as the ads and website proclaim it to be, but merely a bill promoting the establishment of an overseeing council that would help regulate the sale of violent videogames to minors and install parental controls on new consoles to prevent younger children from seeing violent images.  As the bill’s summary says, more or less:

“Creates an advisory council on interactive media and youth violence and requires video game consoles to be equipped with a device or control to permit owners to prevent the display of violent or indecent video games; defines “video game”; addresses sale and rental of video games.”

So yea, the bill is not so much anti-video game, as it is more pro-censorship and family.  True the passage of this bill would affect a minor’s ability to fully enjoy violent carnage in his or her own living room, but that may not be such a terrible thing.  Ultimately, the child’s parents or guardians will choose whether or not to enact the console’s proposed parental controls, and they can approve of whether or not their children have the right to buy certain games.  A law like this will not necessarily prevent children from ever enjoying violent, M rated games, but it will put more pressure on parents to govern their children’s gaming habits.

Overall, the ad was, and still is, horribly misleading.  Paterson is not out to get young kids and stop them from enjoying their fun.  Moreover, he is simply creating measures that would help the parents choose the right choice for their own children, and the right choice is at the discretion of the parents, not the government.  I think this is a very good thing, and I will not be signing the petition, or telling the government to research more important stuff (partially because the website hasn’t given me a reason to do so, and partially because it is a state government after all.  The real important issues lie in federal hands).  Putting the controls on consoles will not automatically render them “family-safe”, or as the websites creators would probably say, “totally lame”, but it will give the owners (i.e. Mom and Dad) the option of making little Billy’s time playing “Grand Theft Auto 4” a little less violent.

Besides, did all you tennaged gripers fail to notice how the bill won’t truly go into complete effect until September 1, 2010?  You’ll be old enough to play all the ultra violent and ultra graphic video games you want by then anyway.  So really, just shove it.  Nobody wants to hear you complain.

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