What did CNN decide to do after covering out-of-print Japanese adult computer game Rapelay years after the title was originally released? Follow that up with more blown out of proportion with an expert's opinion.
Unfortunately for CNN, the expert, Grand Theft Childhood co-author Dr. Cheryl Olson knows what she is talking about.
"Parents, we've got to warn you about this video game because your kids could get their hands on it," anchor Mike Galanos ominously warns over shredding guitars in a segment titled "Parents Outrage Over Rapelay Video Game". Galanos goes on to explain the object of Rapelay, while adding, "You can't get this in stores — anymore, anyway — at least it was online."
"Kids, they can still download this," Galanos continues. "That's why we must get to the bottom of this. How easy is it for our kids to possibly get their hands on this?"
That's right, with all the questionable things on the internet CNN is wondering how easy it is for children to get their hands on an out-of-print Japanese erotic game. A game that was never intended for children. Cue the expert guest! Make that, the sensible expert guest.
"One of my concerns," begins Dr. Olson, "is that kids generally never hear about this stuff unless it gets this kind of publicity." Thanks for the publicity, CNN! Dr. Olson goes on to say how it wasn't until politicians mentioned the Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee" mod that thousands of people began downloading it. And after that argument was defused rather quickly, Galanos turns to everyone's favorite chestnut: violent video games.
Responding to Galanos' question about what violent video games do to our kids, Dr. Olson answers, "We've had concerns about media violence and content ever since the paperback novel and the gangster film." She then explains how it's normal for boys to play violent video games and how crime is now down, but does point out that it is possible for an individual child to be affected.
"We don't want in this country, censorship, where someone's trying to figure out well, what's violent, what's not, what can my kids see, and going down that slope," adds Dr. Olson. "That's not the American way."
Instead, it is up to the parents to take common sense steps like putting the computer or the game console in a common area of the house where they can monitor what their kids are viewing and playing. Common sense advice like this is helpful. Fear mongering from CNN isn't.