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Showing posts with label big brother. Show all posts
Showing posts with label big brother. Show all posts

Monday, March 30, 2015

Commentary on the article: Cheshire, England: Schools Intend To Call The Police On Parents Who Let Kids Play Violent Video Games Pic

Here is a Big Brother is Watching you photo with Tony Blair (image source: flickr.com)
Picture of Halo 3, another video game that could be affected by the new rules

Here is an interesting and potientially controversial article I found on Inquisitr and at Infowars (http://www.infowars.com/schools-to-parents-if-you-let-your-kid-play-call-of-duty-well-call-the-cps-on-you/) worth talking about.  Apprently in England, some schools are adopting a new policy where if kids are allowed to play violent video games (such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto 4 / 5, Dogs of War, etc) or use social media like Facebook, schools can calls Child Protective services or even the police on their parents.  Here is the original letter posted on the info wars website:

(source: http://www.infowars.com/schools-to-parents-if-you-let-your-kid-play-call-of-duty-well-call-the-cps-on-you/)
My Commentary:

Who here have kids or even teenagers that play video games?  Talk about a Nanny State style system.  Can't you imagine this: you have a typical teenage son (say 16 or 17) and he plays Call of Duty Advanced War Fare with his buddies or maybe he does Halo Masterchief, Assassins Creed, or similar games (which I am sure many teenagers do) and should nosy school officials learn what games he is playing, they might call the cops on the parents.  Interestingly, the proposed rules would also prohibit kids from using Facebook (possibly twitter and myspace too) or apps like WhatsApp, apparently because they might encounter cyberpredators online (which is definitely an inherit risk people can take when online considering that you never know who you might meet online).  What do you all think of such policies?  Should schools or even the government be able to dictate what games kids or teens can play or wither or not if they can use social media like Facebook.  

Now, I have mixed issues when it comes to what kids can play and do.  Sure there are games that kids probably shouldn't be playing (especially games like Grand Theft Auto 5, where you pretty much control 3 different criminals in a huge open world environment that mimicks Southern California and gets into things like drugs, gangs, crime, murder, and similar elements that are likely to be offensive to some, especially kids and mothers).  On the flipside, you can get a grey area when it comes to video games and some people can handle violent video games better than others.  I remember when I was in high school, the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation were the style and I remember playing 007 Golden Eye on the 64 on many different occasions (even bought the 64 and golden eye back during my college years) which was very similar to Call of Duty in many ways, and definiely a predecessor game that probably helped inspire games like Halo and Call of Duty (especially the multiplayer modes).  Also, back then there used to be a flight similar arcade called The Otherside (which seems to have gone out of business since then) where people can pay $20/hour and play online games, such as World War 2 dogfight games, Duke Nukem, Quake, and similar games over a huge network.  So should teenagers (let alone parents) be punished by schools or even the government for what games they play on their game systems?  Also, would be restrictions just be aimed at MA 17 games or could they be expanded to T rated games too (such as the Sims 3 or say Mortal Kombat)?  

I found the Facebook restrictions interesting too.  By the way, according to Facebook, people have to be at least 13 or older to sign up for Facebook (though back when I was in high school, facebook and myspace did not exist and I did not sign up there till when I was going to Northwest University).  Sure there can be shady people on social media sites like Facebook, Myspace, etc such as trolls, cyberbullies, scammers, and even the occasional pedophile types.  Even I sometimes get random ladies online that I don't know trying to flirt with me on MSN Instant Messenger and Facebook too sometimes and I usually ignore them since I don't really know them and want to protect myself.  Last year I won't name names, but I met a random lady from Wyoming (she contacted me first).  She was apparently in her 30s, had 2 kids and no husband (apparently he died sometime ago) and she obviously seemed to be in a hurry to get into a relationship with me.  She wanted me to drive out to Cheyanne, Wyoming at least once or twice (which is definitely at least a 2 day away from the Seattle area) and even wanted me to call her, and even meet her at a state park in Montana once,  but obviously I did not know her personally and knew better than to rush into such a relationship (after all, I did know know what her intentions were).  Even if she was legit, I knew I wasn't ready to have kids of my own, which probably would have come with the relationship with her and obviously I would not be able to support them considering that I am only working part time and living on low income.  Luckily she unfriended me and moved on before things got out of hand.  Anyways, people like her do exist on Facebook and Myspace and people have to be careful when it  comes to meeting people online.  But at the same time, Facebook (and similar social media) can be used for more productive things too, such as connecting with friends, sharing photos they take, keeping in touch with people, etc.  Blogging sites, such as Blogger can be good to have too, as it can help kids develop their writing skills, which is pretty crucial to have, especially once they go off to college as writing quality papers do become a part of the daily routine in college and papers not living up to standards usually get Ds and Fs.  

By the way, while the new rules concerning violent video games and social media mainly affects England, I am sure it is only a matter of time before American schools take up similar laws and rules (after all, America and England are similar in many ways, even when it comes to politics and schools).  Also, this is not the first time schools have tried to impose their policies and rules to students even when they were not in school.  I rmember when I was in college at Northwest University, students were not supposed to drink alcholic beverages, even when off campus, so if students went to nearby bars and pubs, they ran the risk of someone noticing them and reporting it to school authorities (which probably could lead to susepensions or even expulsions in some circumstances).

1. In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a pair of 7th graders were expelled for the "crime" of doing airsofting in their own yards, not far from the rest stop.  I don't know what all lead up to the expulsions, but the kids were playing some airsoft in their own yard (which is somewhat similar to paintball, where you you shoot small airsoft pellets at targets or sometimes even each other which is pretty harmless, though they can leave bruises and welts much like in paintball) and a neighbor complained about it and somehow the school found out about it and expelled the kids apparently for "possession, handling and use of a firearm" (apparently airsoft guns are considered fire arms as far as the school was concerned and not allowed, even at home). Not sure if the students were able to overturn their expusions or not. By the way, if me and my brothers were in that district, we probably would have been expelled too considering that we used to do mock civil war battles with cap guns in our back yards, even went paintball and laser tagging on a few occasions too.

2. In another incident a student from Louisianna was arrested because he was using an app called, "Real Strike" to "shoot" fellow students. Real Strike is an augumented reality app for the Iphone that mimicks Call of Duty in Real life settings (much like how it is with Laser tag, where people can shoot harmless "lasers" at each other). Now while "shooting" fellow students was definitely inappropriate in my opinion, having the student arrested shows how far the zero tolerance policies can go.

       (above is Real Strike in Action, it is a similared game, where app users can "shoot" things in a simulated setting, though of course nobody really gets hurt).  By the way, the Windows Phone has a similar app where you can "shoot paintballs" at "targets" (you tap the screen, the phone vibrates and a virtual paintball splatters).

3. Perhaps a more disturbing story: Student getting expelled for refusing to wear an RFID tracking chip
In this story, a girl named Angela was expelled from school because her family wanted to opt out of the RFID program apparently for both religious (apparently she thought it was the prophecized Mark of the Beast from Revelation in the Bible) and privacy reasons.  It was apparently a chip embedded in student asb cards that can track student werabouts at all times (both on campus and off campus) and apparently kids had to check in with staff members to go over the RFID data.  Apparently it was also used to reduce truancy as well. Personally I have mixed feelings about the chips.  First off personally I doubt that the chip is the "mark of the beast".  From Christian standpoint, the mark of the beast system is not supposed to be implemented until when the end time events happen, probably around the mid point of the 7 year tribulation period (just before the great tribulation that is supposed to take place during the last 3 1/2 years before Christ's return) and will be imposed by the Antichrist himself (he is a prophecised world leader that will appear, probably in Europe or the Revived Roman empire as a charismatic leader that will impose a global dictatorship on the entire world and will eventually be indwelt by Satan himself, claim to be God and demand to be worshiped, which will also lead to the imposition of the mark of the beast system).  Most likely it will likely be some sort of microchip, tattoo, or similar implant that goes on the right hand or forehead and people won't be able to buy or sell without it, with the threat of death (probably by beheading) for people who refuse it (you can read the book of Revelation in the bible for everything you need to know about the antichrist, mark of the beast, etc).  Obviously people will want to avoid the mark of the beast at all costs (even if it means martyrdom) given the eternal ramifications for people who take it.  Anyways, last I checked, t he tribulation has not begun yet and the Antichrist is not on the scene yet, so I doubt that the RFID chip is the mark of the beast.  It could be a predecesor to it for all I know, but it is not the mark of the beast (at least not the present form).  As for privacy concerns, while the school officials may have good intentions for it, such as being able to tell where students are on campus (especially in the case of emergencies or fire drills) and even help find kids who go missing (which can be useful considering some kids do get kidnapped or lost at times), the technologies can definitely get intrusive too.  I can't imagine what it would be like going to a school or college where staff members can track your every move both on and off campus (for example, I wouldn't even think about going into a bar or pub the schools I went to tracked my every move).

I am sure this list goes on, but this article definitely shows how far schools can go when it comes to imposing their policies on students on and off campus and how more authoritarian schools are becoming.  Personally, I think big brother and zero tolerance policies is a dangerous mix when it comes to people's freedoms both in England and here in the US considering that many unsuspecting students and kids can easily find themselves caught in the ever expanding system, especially when there already does seem to be school to pipeline style system in place in many places across the country and taking a big brother approach to things could definitely lead to more people falling into that system, which would be terrible for society in my opinion.  Hopefully people will work on setting up checks and balances for school systems to ensure they do not get too much power over peoples' lives and reduce unnecessary suspensions or interactions with law enforcement agencies.   I will try to keep you updated on this story as I come across more.

What do you think.  Should schools be able to dictate what games kids can play or should it be left up to their parents?  Do you have teens that play games like Call of Duty or similar games?     Feel free to leave a comment below.  For fellow Americans, what would you do if schools inacted similar parties.

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