Nader calls violent game devs "electronic child molesters"

Former presidential candidate wants Obama to go further in criticisms of violent media

Consumer safety advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader is railing against the developers of violent video games. Speaking to Politico about his disappointment in President Barack Obama's proposals to curb gun violence, Nader said the commander-in-chief was letting creators of violent media off easy.

"We are in the peak of [violence in entertainment]," Nader said. "Television program violence? Unbelievable. Video game violence? Unprecedented." He added, "I'm not saying he wants to censor this, I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of electronic child molesters."

Nader was speaking with the blog on the eve of President Obama's second inauguration. Nader, who ran against Obama as an independent presidential candidate in 2008, was critical of the President for not following through on campaign promises, including raising the minimum wage and cracking down on those on Wall Street responsible for the financial crisis that hit its peak that year.

Photo credit: Kat Starcher

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Latest comments (28)

Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop6 years ago
Maybe my reading of that is different, but to me it seems like he's calling the media the electronic child molesters, not the game devs. But I guess your interpretation makes a more clickable headline.

Also educating people to protect their children from watching violent media intended for an adult audience sounds smart to me.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Wasn't Ralph Nader the guy credited with spitting the John Kerry vote and so allowing Bush to win? Good job, Ralph, well done.
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 6 years ago
Are we name-calling already?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Watson on 22nd January 2013 4:34pm

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Show all comments (28)
Perhaps don't sell guns first?
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
Yeah Ralph, we all miss Jack Thompson this time of year.
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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts6 years ago
Hang on... what does "electronic child molestor" mean?

Are we molesting electronic children? Molesting children electronically? Electronic beings who molest children? Children who molest electronically? Electronic children who molest things? My head hurts...

Anyway, my mum says I shouldn't pay attention to Ralph Nader because he has nits and smells of wee.

Yes, I am treating this with the contempt it deserves, and in an absolutely childish fashion to boot.
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Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software6 years ago
Ad Hominem attacks from a fringe has been. Color me un-impressed.

Stay classy there, Ralph. Stay Classy.
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Gregore Candalez Journalist and Account Manager, FD Com.6 years ago
I find it funny how these so-called authorities refuse to take part of the blame for what is happening in America.
It seems to me that parents refuse to accept the responsibility of bad parenting and society refuses the blame for being rotten, so everyone just ignores the basis, the core of violence problems and delegate all guilt to videogames.

What about cultural problems? What about Gun Culture? What about social pressures, emotional issues, psychological problems, school life, education at home?

I rage so hard I can become a Red Lantern when I see these old grandpas thrashing videogames and violet medias. I think it is very obvious: people everywhere feel absurd amounts of rage and anger; after all, we're human. Some of us vent heat punching sand bags, others, jogging and biking, others watching TV, others reading... and others, shooting at virtual terrorists and exploding things. It comes a time when these troubled boys can't take it anymore (at school, at life, at whatever) and snap, recurring to the easy and fast solution they have within an armreach: guns. Guns to eliminate the source of what they believe is the problems; thus, he executes those at school who shun and bully him (and a bunch of other people who belong in that universe and condone with the victim's suffering).
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Pier Castonguay Programmer 6 years ago
Maybe there's a reason he did not get elected.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 6 years ago
Cue indignant game developers everywhere. Not the most self-aware crowd.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises6 years ago
I just had a very scary thought... Nader Lieberman 2016, and they win. :O
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
@ Craig - isn't Hilary Clinton meant to run in 2016? I can't see anyone beating her tbh.
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Paul Smith Dev 6 years ago
Electronic child molesters , I cant get images of kids been chased by robots out of my head now. Thanks Nader
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Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource6 years ago
Nader may have a point.

In my household we don't allow the children to watch anything political. We want to raise our kids honest, accountable, and caring towards others and our planet.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 6 years ago
It's strange how other countries than America have the very same video games but people don't go around shooting each other all the time.

Also, I can't help raging at this guy for comparing the content of TV and video games - no matter how violent - to the horrific, trust-betraying crime of child abuse.
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Richard McClaughry Design Manager, Blitz Games Studios6 years ago
I have nothing witty to add.... he just strikes me as a sore loser, looking to grab a headline with a very specific choice of words.

Also... I bet he sucks at Halo.
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Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent6 years ago
I'm with Richard on this one, and I personally challenge Mr. Nader to a Tekken Tag Tournament showdown and we'll see who's right, and who gets a combo up their bracket.
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Sergio Rosa6 years ago
I have a crazy idea: If people in the US are so worried about violence and don't want any more shootings, how about they stop manufacturing guns? In a gun-less country, nobody would get shot.
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Liam Farrell6 years ago
And just a short while ago another shooting has occured. Writers, pundits and blogers can come up with all the remarks and rebuttals they want. Fact is, how many more children have to die before the US government stops the obvious avoidance tactic of blaming whatever form of entertainment is popular with children (before games, it was comics that was demonised for corrupting the young and before that rock and roll music) and maybe comes to the realisation no one really needs to own a heavy assualt rifle
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Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation 6 years ago
And they say children aren't mature enough? I know many children that are more polite, mature and respectful than a guy who resorts to name-calling rather than resolving situations.

And to think it's these kind of people that are in power of countries...

Oh by the way just to go off on a tangent since this isn't technology related buy can somewhat be regarded as related as it concerns "child safety" but today in the town centre of the city I live in, a parent was so nice enough to leave their 2 month child in a pushchair outside of a betting shop within the cold unsupervised and our governments (Considering this happened in the UK) are too busy pointing the finger within the wrong places? What the hell is wrong with people these days?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 22nd January 2013 11:00pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 6 years ago
I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of electronic child molesters."

First we are going to remove the words "electronic child molesters" because that sounds so.....immature. Now we are going to replace those with the words "violent media" , meaning movies, tv, music and of course video games. Now lets re-examine that quote:

I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of violent media."

Thats better and much more reasonable. It also highlights that Mr. Nader has never heard of A) ratings systems, B) parental controls, C) AGE-APPROPRIATE CONTENT(that one needed to be in bold) and finally D) Good parenting. Once Mr. Nader fully understands the basis of the aformentioned tools for protecting young children from violent media/so-called electronic child molesters then we can give him alittle airtime. But until then lets focus on more important issues like jump-rope safety and freeing, the whales.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 23rd January 2013 12:04am

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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up6 years ago
Don't know the man, but on the surface he seems like a bit of a d**k

I want to molest his mind with a game targeted at grumpy old men.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 23rd January 2013 10:16am

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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve6 years ago
This really is just an insult to children that are victims of sexual abuse, I'll never understand how such people are allowed to stay in power in the US.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam6 years ago
@Thomas - They aren't. Ralph Nader has never been elected for anything, indeed he's never got more than a couple of percent of the vote in presidential elections, AFAIK.

Also, while his choice of words here is obviously in very poor taste, he's actually got a good record of campaigning on everything from green issues to car safety over the last 50 years.
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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios6 years ago
Nader is just pissed because people stopped listening to him back in the 90's.

Ralph Nader has been the ass end of many a political joke in the past decade and a half, and this just adds more fuel to the joke machine.

He is like the Zoidberg of politics... he loves it when people actually pay attention to him. Except Zoidberg is still cool.
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Nader's an admirable man on many subjects. He's wrong on this. I guess he got old too.
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David Serrano Freelancer 6 years ago
I've been playing video and computer games for 35 years and gaming is still my primary form of entertainment. And even thought I don't have kids and I haven't stepped foot inside of a church in over 20 years, I'm truly horrified by the way the game industry, and gaming media are responding to the current controversy.

Look... there's a saying which sums up guys like Nader: "just because your paranoid, don't mean they're not after you." Is Nader massively distorting and exaggerating the problem? Absolutely. But it doesn't change the fact that there is a very real problem with the design, business and marketing practices of one segment of the industry in terms of specifically developing rated M content for players under the age of 18. And nobody should defend this behavior under any pretense.

Honestly answer this question: if the ESA's rating system was strictly enforced by retailers, parents, Microsoft and Sony, would any of the Call of Duty, Gears of War, Halo, Bad Company, Saints Row, etc... titles have gone into development? The answer is no. Because without male players under the age of 18, there's simply not a large enough audience to justify funding development of those games. If the rating system had been strictly enforced, all of those games would have lost money or barely turned a profit. And AAA developers and publishers are fully aware of this. So the business models for practically all AAA games are now entirely based on the bet that the vast majority of parents will remain deaf, dumb and blind to the ESA rating system and the types of games being played by their teenage boys. And that's the problem.

So for Christ's sake, can we please just drop the holier than thou routine? No industry is perfect and nobody should suffer under the delusion the game industry is the exception to the rule. Because nothing could be further from the truth. There are people working in the game industry who rank right up there with wall street bankers, politicians, lawyers and pornographers on the sleaze-o-meter.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 23rd January 2013 9:54pm

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Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation 6 years ago
@David Serrano

In some cases you are correct, sure there are "sleaze balls" in the gaming industry...every industry has them just like the common saying of "Every country has its own set of idiots" when it comes to the debate of "One country is dumber than another" HOWEVER finger pointing doesn't solve anything and that is what Nader is doing. the gaming industry is simply defending itself from a finger pointing name calling power figure.

You claim "But it doesn't change the fact that there is a very real problem with the design, business and marketing practices of one segment of the industry in terms of specifically developing rated M content for players under the age of 18. And nobody should defend this behavior under any pretense."

Then what about Tom and Jerry, the three stooges and many other slapstick TV shows, movies and cartoons...most of them that have been running from 1940 until the present day. I know that TV/Movies is covered under media but my point is that TV has been running longer than video games and even in today's society the long running shows are still much loved and adored.

Lastly to blame Violent Media for gun violence is absurd...purely because it's not the media itself that causes it but simply it is involved within the event. Let's put it this way...Russell Howard's Good News (A TV show on the BBC) mentioned a news story where a husband made the joke of shooting the family cat with an air rifle...the wife in response shot him in the stomach point blank with a semi-auto where would you file the blame there? TV, Movies, Games or just one seriously messed up person?

Sure thing, that case isn't gaming related but I follow the many gaming related violence stories and not once have I been able to cross reference where video games are the cause for the behaviour of people.

Case: 2 6 year old kids play GTA IV unsupervised...go outside and hang a kitten from a tree
Blame: Video games
Why it is not due to Video Games: Only connection is that they were playing a video game (one they shouldn't have been playing...and using a controller cord as the rope) before the event yet I don't see how a game that portrays violence against humans would make kids be cruel to animals. The argument there is that they could portray the violence against humans on something weaker and defenceless than themselves but then again, after a gaming session when I was younger, my moral compass would have told me "no that is wrong"

Case: A Teenager throws a taco in mother's face and calls her names after she unplugs his xbox and got no response when calling him down for dinner
Blame: Video games
Why it is not due to Video Games:Again only connection is that he was playing video games...obviously had nothing to do with the fact that he could have been a spoilt brat rebelling against authority since he was being forced to do something he didn't want to do at the time and thus when confronted, turned to violence.

Case: Teenager sneaks out to buy Halo 3 against father's wishes. When found out, the father locked the game away with his 9mm handgun. A month later he got his father's key got the game, shot and killed his mother and wounded his father
Blame: Video games
Why it is not due to Video Games: Again only connection is that a video game was the product involved...the actual cause of this scenario is a 16 year old being told no and so rebelling against authority, he sneaks out and buys the game...he then further rebels against authority when the item he bought is taken away, which he has 1 month to pre-meditate his actions...he was "going" to get his item at all costs.

Case: Teenager attacks mother with clawhammer and cremates her body in the oven after she takes away his playstation
Blame: Videogames
Why it is not due to Video Games: Again only connection is that the product is video game related...the main problem is rebelling against authority. Furthermore the teen spent 3 hours after his mother took away his games and stated that he killed her because he couldn't stand the arguing. Not to mention he killed her within her sleep, showing pre-meditated murder

Overall: The reason why some of the 7 billion of us on this planet aren't killing each other is because we have a moral compass, we know "killing is wrong" but for some that moral compass is blurred or it doesn't even exist. You can blame whatever you wish to blame, whether it be the guns, the laws, the video games, the media...whatever you wish but the ultimate blame, the person or thing you and everyone else should be pointing the finger at is the person that dealt the crime.

Before I pointed the finger at "Mental Health" but my mother has worked with those that suffer with mental health and she says that by blaming cases like the ones above on "mental health" I am actually giving those that suffer with it a bad name...I now agree with what she says because I don't know about you but no matter how angry my parents make me...killing them or even hurting them doesn't cross my mind.

I'm sorry if this response also makes you "horrified" David but I will NEVER be able to grasp the concept of video games or media/entertainment being the cause of violent crimes. Our very own history and even religion negates the arguments of "Violent Media" being the cause and every case should be considered upon an individual basis
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