Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 8: The Protection of Minors and its Effect on Cultural Diversity: An Example of Content Regulation in Digital Game Environments
Miriam Sahlfeld* 1. INTRODUCTION The powerful have always tried to govern the content of media for a variety of reasons.1 These range from religious or societal taboos to the pure will to sustain power and to block any content that could call that power into question. Digital game environments, which we understand here broadly as online video games, massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) and virtual worlds,2 will be no exception to this truism. Since it is beyond the scope of this chapter to examine all types of content regulation, we focus on regulatory measures aimed at the protection of minors and do so in consideration of the issue of cultural diversity, which reflects the overall topic of this volume. 1.1 Digital Game Environments For newcomers the amount and variety of ordinary non-interactive computer games3 is hard to grasp. The effect of such games on minors, especially those * The author would like to thank Christoph Beat Graber, Mira Burri-Nenova and Thomas Steiner for comments on earlier drafts of this chapter. 1 The reasons for censorship range from the protection of secret information in times of war to shielding minors or even society as a whole from pornographic, violent or otherwise unsuitable content. 2 Our analysis here is restricted to ordinary interactive video games in ad hoc networks online, MMORPGs and virtual worlds, excluding blogs and chats. 3 For a more detailed typology of online computer games, see Thomas Steiner, ‘Advertising in Online Games and EC Audiovisual Media Regulation’...
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