Violent and Defamatory Video Games (Rabbinical Assembly)

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Conclusions (piskei halakhah)
1) “To do the right and the good in God’s eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:18) and to help us make progress toward fulfilling our aspiration to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy people” (Exodus 19:6), Jews of all ages ought not play violent or defamatory video games. The games that are inappropriate are any that have the following in them: coercive sex, violence and encouragement to kill in settings where those are not required for self-defense, or negative portrayals of women, police officers, or minority groups, whether of religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. In addition, children and teenagers ought not play sex or war games that are rated “M” for mature. Video games with other themes may be played but, like all games, should not occupy so much time that the player ceases to engage in the other worthwhile activities of life. As a matter of aspiring to be a holy people and in recognition that we are all created in the image of God, we must examine the games that we and our children play to determine what they say about us as individual Jews and as a people, and we must then select only those games that are not violent or defamatory. Parents are asked to reinforce these goals by modeling the same standards in their homes and in their own lives.

2) On an institutional level, Jewish goals of character development require that violent or defamatory video games, as defined in (1) above, not be allowed at any program of any Conservative/Masorti movement-affiliated institution. This includes, but is not limited to: Camp Ramah, United Synagogue Youth, day schools, supplementary schools, and any social events or parties held at a synagogue or under synagogue auspices, whether for children, teenagers, or adults.

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