Health Warning Labels for Video Games – Congressman
California Congressman Joe Baca has brought forth a bill which would require video games to have a health warning. This warning would warn the consumers that playing the game could have adverse and dangerous influence on the user.
All games with an ESRB rating of Teen (T) or higher would be required to carry a label that says “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”
“The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,” Baca said. “They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth and about these potentially dangerous products.”
Congressman Baca supports this bill by bringing up recent case studies from the Pediatric Journal, Michigan State University, University of Indiana, and the University of Missouri. These studies link playing violent video games to aggressive behavior especially in young teens and children.
“We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play… [I am] hopeful [this] legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth.”
Baca has brought forth other game-related bills in Congress in the past. This includes the Children Protection from Video Game Violence and Sexual Content Act in 2007. This bill did not pass, but it would have required the FTC to review ESRB (the current game rating system) operations and force a study of the impact of video games on children, teenagers and young adults by the Government Accountability Office.
Another California State Senator, Senator Leland Yee who is also a critic of the videogame industry had issued a press release during Christmas season urging parents not to buy violent videogames for their children. Some statistics and quotes below.
“Eighty-seven percent of children between 8 and 17 years of age play video or computer games and about 60 percent list their favorite games as rated M for Mature, which are games designed for adults… It is vitally important that parents and grandparents consider the content in videogames before making holiday purchases.”
“Unfortunately, some parents don’t realize that in many top selling games, the player actively participates in and is rewarded for violence, including killing police officers, maiming elderly persons, running over pedestrians and torturing women and racial minorities,”
It is baffling to me, how such seemingly good acts are not passed. All I can say is that the power of media and the power of money continues to strongly assert it’s influence into our government decisions.
What do you think? Do you think these laws should or should not pass?