Maggie: Two months ago, fourteen-year-old Aria Jewett was attacked by a classmate just outside Oceanway Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida.
Aria Jewett: So, like, I didn’t even know it was coming.
Maggie: This cell phone video of the assault is hard to watch. Her attacker, another eighth-grader, hit her repeatedly. Aria thinks there were about thirty kids watching.
Aria: Because she had everyone else, like, videotape it. She had the girl bring me over there. So, she probably had this planned.
Maggie: Aria suffered a fractured skull. Her attacker was arrested for aggravated assault and removed permanently from the school.
Aria says her attacker videotaped at least five other assaults, some on school grounds.
Aria: And, like, she never got expelled.
Maggie: One in four teens is bullied. And in those cases, 80% of the time it ends in a physical fight. Experts say videotaping those attacks is becoming a trend. And students across the country have been caught videotaping and posting those fights to the internet.
Aria’s family asked Florida Circuit Judge Henry Davis to protect their daughter but his ruling about the attacker surprised even them: “This child is a threat to all of the children at any school. The injunction is a permanent injunction barring this child from returning to any public school in Duval County.” The school district’s superintendent says the judge’s ruling went too far.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti: I don’t think we should use the bad decisions children make outside of schools as an example or a scapegoat to make a message.
Maggie: Nikolai Vitti says public education is a constitutional right. He says all students deserve second – even third – chances.
Vitti: And I believe that the perpetrator should be provided the same opportunity. It’s a tough decision but my role as superintendent is to support the law and enforce the law.
Maggie: While Aria’s attacker will not be allowed back at her school, an appeals court judge did overrule the ban preventing her from attending any public school in the district. And a lawyer for the attacker told me she started at a different school this week.
Scott, back to you.
Jessica: Sixteen-year-old Ben Cermak and his thirteen-year-old-brother, Nate, like to play the war game Call of Duty.
Ben: Even though it is violent, I don’t think this is going to make me violent.
Jessica: It is up for debate if violent video games and violent behavior are linked. Some studies say there is a connection, others say there is not.
But last month’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has people asking what is contributing to America’s culture of violence? The head of the National Rifle Association, a group which supports gun rights, is targeting video games.
Wayne LaPierre: They play murder, portray murder as a way of life, and then they all have the nerve to call it entertainment.
Jessica: Vice President Joe Biden recently sat down with video game manufacturers, as well as several other groups, to come up with recommendations on gun control. Yesterday, he met with President Obama to talk over a wide range of proposals expected to be released today.
Vice President Biden: There is no silver bullet. There is no – as one of my friends said – no seat belt that you can put on to assure that you will not be in this circumstance again.
Jessica: The video game industry responded to a government crackdown twenty years ago by creating ratings similar to those for movies. Violent games are rated M, which the industry considers suitable for ages 17 and up.
Critics say that is not enough. They want the government to order violent games to carry warnings like those on cigarettes.
Putting legal restrictions on violent video games may be difficult for the Obama administration because of a 2011 decision by the Supreme Court. The court said video games are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. So, change may have to start with video game players, like Max Goldstein.
Last month, the Newtown, Connecticut seventh grader started a group called Played Out. It encourages young people to throw away their first-person shooter games.
Max Goldstein: It was a little inappropriate and rude to the families who lost children to play these games.
Jessica: Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.
Maggie: Look familiar? These fourteen lifeguards did something hundreds of other teens have done worldwide: make their own version of the wildly popular Gangnam Style video. Posted on YouTube two months ago by the South Korean rapper known as PSY, this mega-hit video has been viewed more than 200 million times. But the video made by the lifeguards, who are all employed by the city of El Monte, California, got them all fired.
Lifeguard: I was in shock, because I didn’t really think that it would escalate to termination.
Maggie: Juliet Gilek is one of the 14 fired lifeguards. And she says their video never meant to cause problems.
Juliet Gilek: I loved what I did. I loved teaching the kids. I loved making sure everybody was safe. So I would have never wanted to hurt the pool in any way. This was just a fun thing to capture our memories with.
Maggie: Many of the lifeguards are college students who relied on their jobs for income.
Lifeguard: To be blunt, this was my only job and my only source of income in terms of paying for books and contributing to my schooling.
Maggie: The city of El Monte said it wasn’t the content of the video that was the problem. Instead it was “a clear unauthorized use of city resources and property.”
While Gangnam Style might be the YouTube video of the moment, it certainly isn’t the first to go viral. And making spoofs of these famous videos is just as popular. Remember all the “Call Me Maybe” spin-offs from earlier this year?
El Monte resident: I think maybe some of this is just a generational divide, that maybe there’s people on the El Monte City Council who don’t fully appreciate that this is just the way people communicate today.
Maggie: The fired lifeguards hoped to bridge that generational divide when they met with the El Monte City Council earlier this week.
Lifeguard: Never did I complain. Never did I ask for a raise. My boss knew that I was dedicated.
City Council member: Management practices, the nature and extent of the punishment, social media policy – there are quite a few things that we have to look into.
Maggie: The city may be standing firm, but much of the online community supports the lifeguards. A “Bring back the 14 El Monte Lifeguards” page on Facebook already has more than 15,000 likes.
And even PSY – the man behind the original Gangnam Style – has spoken out for the lifeguards.
PSY: I’m begging you, do not fire, please.
Maggie: With arguments lined up on both sides, some say the situation is a modern day generation gap.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
Steven: Having this kind of experience in college definitely gives you a leg up over other students. Of course, any experience should give you a leg up. But experience in playing video games? Seriously?
Well, these young people — believe it or not — are actually studying at the Replay Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. And the experience they gain here could help them get a job once they graduate.
“We actually created the rest of this all by ourselves — like all the models, all the characters, all the effects you see here, we did.
Steven: Using tools, like a motion capture studio and 3D modeling, Andrew Patras and his classmates are learning the art of video game development. And they are in the right place because it is a career and a business that is exploding.
In 2009, Americans bought more than $20 billion worth of video game systems and software. That is 3 billion more than the movie industry made. $18.7 billion in box office and DVD sales!
The entertainment part of the video game industry is huge. A modern title can make a couple hundred million dollars in one weekend.
Tom Bissell, who is the author of the new book Why Video Games Matter calls video games the artform of our time.
Tom Bissell: I think we are really on the verge of a wider acceptance that it’s not just nerds, it’s not just geeks that play these things. Some very intelligent, thoughtful, smart people are designing them and playing them.
Steven: People like you. Today more than 200 colleges offer gaming courses, training future workers in everything from art design to computer engineering who will one day work at video game giants like Electronic Arts, the company responsible for games like Madden Football and Tiger Woods Golf.
And check this out: EA says it is going to add more than 600 jobs this year. So, what is next for people that want to get started?
While many of the positions are for programmers and software enigneers, you could still be hired even if you have never taken a computer class. Making a game like Madden Football requires graphics artists, animators, writers, testers and even people with foreign language skills. Companies need people to translate games into and out of Japanese!
In this field, software engineers and programmers make the big bucks. They rake in an average of $80,000 and can make as much as six figures. Graphics artists earn an average of $42,000; animators $56,000; writers $53,000 and translators $39,000.
The average starting salary for video game developers? $40,000.
Philip Holt: There is a lot people, this is their first job — or one of their first jobs — right out of college
Steven: Philip Holt is EA’s Orlando studio general manager.
Philip: We love university students because they come in, they’re excited, they are a freshly-minted skill set, and you know they are looking to establish themselves and start a career and work hard and do great things.
Steven: And this game isn’t just for guys.
Philip: It’s a fun business but it’s a serious business as well. So, we actually have deadlines and goals that we have to accomplish. We just can’t sit around and play games all day. I wish we could.
Steven: Steven Fabian, Channel One News.
Can you really get fit by working out with your video game?
Cats are the 21 Century’s undisputed kings–and queens– of the internet. There’s Grumpy Cat, of course, who has starred in her fair share of memes. Then there are those hilarious cat versus cucumber video mashups. And well, all the kittens. So why shouldn’t our feline friends be featured in their own real life cat cafés that animal lovers line up for?
“Cat cafés started in Asia in the 90s due to small apartment sizes and landlords that didn’t allow pets in residences. [They] allowed people to interact with cats in a home-like setting without the long term responsibilities,” says Meow Parlor, the groundbreaking first cat cafe in New York City. They charge $5 per half hour for adults and children 11 and over, and have limited designated hours for younger children, which costs $14 for one child under 11 plus one chaperone per hour. While cat cafés essentially take a rent-a-cat approach, many also offer adoption of the cats its patrons connect with.
What’s not to love about kicking back, relaxing, and petting and playing with new furry friends? After all, studies have shown animal interactions have a positive impact on the happiness of humans.
But here’s the catch. You can enjoy your coffee, baked goods and Wi-Fi with the kitties, but due to health codes, snacks need to be prepared and purchased in a separate space or even venue altogether. Then they may be brought into the a cat café by patrons’ choice. Whether you’re team canine or team feline, tell us, is it worth it?
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