Known as the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act, introduced this Monday by Joe Baca, D-Calif., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., its goal is to mandate most video games to carry a warning label that says, “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.” The bill is a response to increasing evidence showing that playing violent video games is bad for your health.
According to Baca, “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.”
Wolf sides with Baca, proclaiming that “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 a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games.”
If the bill passes, any game with an ESRB rating of E (Everybody) or above would have to carry the warning label, regardless of whether or not they are considered “violent.” Only games rated EC (Early Childhood) would not have to carry the warning label.
The Entertainment Software Administration, a group that represents U.S. video game publishers, released the following statement:
The Entertainment Software Association supports providing parents with complete and useful information so they can make informed purchasing decisions. The current video-game rating system does so and has been lauded as the leading rating system in the entertainment industry.
Unfortunately, Representative Baca’s facially unconstitutional bill — which has been introduced to no avail in each of six successive Congressional sessions, beginning in 2002 — needlessly concerns parents with flawed research and junk science. Numerous medical experts, research authorities, and courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, exhaustively reviewed the research Rep. Baca uses to base his bill and found it lacking and unpersuasive. Independent scientific researchers found no causal connection between video games and real life violence.
We would commend Rep. Baca and Rep. Wolf to the reams of bourgeoning academic research demonstrating that video games can be innovative learning and assessment tools in engaging and educating America’s youth, especially in core subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math.
Might I recommend Rep. Baca and Rep. Wolf to look up the difference between a correlation and a causation. There is a difference, after all.