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US bill proposes video game warning labels

There's a new Jack Thompson in town. Two of them, actually. This week, US Reps. Joe Baca (California) and Frank Wolf (Virginia) introduced The Violence in Video Games Labeling Act that would make it mandatory for nearly all video games in the US to bare a label reading, “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

If passed, the bill would be applicable to all ESRB rated game that fall into the “E” for everyone, “E10+” for ages 10 and older, “T” for teen, “M” for mature, and “A” for adult categories. Games rated “EC” for early childhood (suitable for ages 3 to 6) would be exempt.

"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. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility." Baca said in a comment obtained by The Hill, explaining, “Meanwhile research continues to show that playing violent video games is a casual risk factor for a host of detrimental effects in both the short- and long-term, including increasing the likelihood of physically aggressive behavior. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.”

According to Baca's press release, that research is derived from recent studies from the Pediatrics Journal, the American Psychological Association, and the International Society for Research on Aggression University of Indiana. No links were provided, however we're certain he isn't referring to the American Psychological Association's archived 2010 report, Video Games: Old Fears and New Directions, which includes discussions on how issues around video game violence may getting blown out of proportion.

Wolf does not list the bill on his website, but added his two cents to the release, stating, "Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents — and children — about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior."

As with most video game legislation, The Violence in Video Games Labeling Act will likely fade away in time, allowing Baca and Wolf to say they fought the good fight without actually doing much more than issuing a press release and providing a couple quotes. Still, the fact these bills keep popping us reminds us there's still some progress to be made as to how the industry is perceived among the powers-that-be. Then again, maybe Baca and Wolf just need a hobby.

41 comments

  • ThatGuyFromTV - March 25, 2012 12:08 p.m.

    See, the funny bit here is that these guys tried to pull the same act a few years ago with T-rated and up games. If anything, this means that they think they failed because the target wasn't big enough. In a couple years after this bill fails I willing to bet they'll come back with the same bill with EC games included. On a related note, do EC games even exist anymore?
  • BishopofHippo93 - March 25, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    Ordinarily I would destroy this fellow's argument with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, but instead I'm just going to tell you all that he's wrong. OH MY GOODNESS. HE'S SO STUPID. HE IS SO WRONG. Now that I've gotten that out off the way, most of the tests conducted to determine the connection between aggressive behavior and violent video games are flawed at a base level due to a complete misunderstanding of video games and the entire video game industry at the most basic levels. It's a product of the times, to be sure, but the media and the public as a whole cannot see video games as what they truly are, instead they see them as a horrid, violent, waste of time that is corrupting our youth and wasting time that could be spent doing better things. While that last part may be mostly true, it doesn't take into account that not everyone spends and unreasonable amount of time on electronic games. Besides, there were many great men and women that insisted that Time you enjoy wasting isn't a waste at all.
  • Shinn - March 22, 2012 4:20 p.m.

    Or, they could try to push some kind of 'parents must actually do some parenting' legislation?
  • Viron - March 22, 2012 3:26 p.m.

    Cool, another waste of time in the US Congress. Maybe the next waste of time can be Rap music (again) or maybe telling us whats okay to eat!
  • cwdd47 - March 22, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    I find this quote quite funny: " The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers — to inform em of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility." As an avid gamer, and father, I feel it's my responsibility to determine what could be harmful to my daughter. I plan on following the ESRB as my parents did with me. If there was ever a game I wanted to play that I wasn't old enough for, my parents (non-gamers) would research, ask their friends, etc so they could make an educated decision, as opposed to one made out of ignorance. Even then, they would watch me play from time to time so they could see for themselves what I was being exposed to. It's ridiculous that a portion of this society believes that anyone but the parents are responsible for the safety of children.
  • cj12297 - March 22, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    The big age rating on the front, side and back of the box isn't enough.
  • TheFabricOfTime - March 22, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    Hahaha, yeah.
  • MayorOfAmerica - March 21, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    Glad you have it all figured out, A9entOfChaos! Let's leave those poor corporations alone and blame it all on one evil person! Once we have a new president, we'll be living in paradise again. Ignorance is such bliss :-)
  • Ravenbom - March 21, 2012 5:40 p.m.

    Global recession, I'm glad to see congressmen who have their priorities straight.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - March 21, 2012 4:34 p.m.

    OH so THIS is the reason I have a stack of bodies in my closet! And I thought I was born with a thurst for blood! NOW I understand!
  • FanofSaiyan - March 21, 2012 2:47 p.m.

    This label would make sense for games like the UFC series, but not much else.
  • D0CCON - March 21, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior. This link has thus been broken by other studies and then remade by others and then disproved again and we have no fucking idea what we are talking about, but we might as well slap a warning sticker on this thing we don't understand anyways because we have no idea what's going on. I think that would be an effective warning, but the print size would have to be pretty small.
  • Wade D McGinnis - March 21, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    We have one of the most detailed and expansive rating systems in the entire world of media from books to music to movies. Their just using games as a way into the spot light. PR reps might have said their image was waning and needed a booster of some kind.
  • Wade D McGinnis - March 21, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    Edit: They're
  • Hydr0ponicK - March 21, 2012 11:52 a.m.

    I'll accept this if barbie puts a label warning it could cause homosexuality in boys when played with...
  • Headstandz - March 21, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    Just played Call of duty. Time to go kill someone.
  • IceBlueKirby - March 21, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    I can't say or do anything other than laugh about this.
  • JokerJ0613 - March 21, 2012 11:22 a.m.

    It's not our fault kids get into their heads, "I want to kill people like that guy!" Parents BUY their kids M rated games, that rule needs to be enforced.
  • NotBraze - March 21, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    Six Words: Supreme Court of the United States.
  • JAZ9030 - March 21, 2012 10:14 a.m.

    I sometimes get upset playing the lego games. I guess I am going to become a murderer of lego people. The games already have a rating on them. Shouldn't parents choose what their kids play.

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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