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Senator Calls for Study on Violent Games, Videos

20 Dec, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) has introduced legislation calling for a study on the impact of violent videos and video games on children.

The legislation calls for The National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study and investigation of the connection between violent games and programming and their impact on children.

“At times like this, we need to take a comprehensive look at all the ways we can keep our kids safe,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day.”

He chastised the gaming industry for claiming “violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians and psychologists know better.”

Rockefeller also called on the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to review the effectiveness of the video game ratings system and the impact of violent programming on children. He said technology allows for easy access to violent content by children.

“Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children,” he said. “They have a responsibility to protect our children. If they do not, you can count on the Congress to take a more aggressive role.”

Former Senator Chris Dodd, who is chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement that the film and TV industry “want to do our part to help America heal. We stand ready to be part of the national conversation.”

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) noted that since the 1999 Columbine shootings, video game retailers have made “a concerted effort,” via education and voluntary ratings enforcement, to keep violent video games away from children. All video games sold at retail carry ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

“In fact, in its most recent survey of ratings enforcement by retailers, the Federal Trade Commission found that retailers enforce the video game ratings 87% of the time and declared that ‘video game retailers continue to enforce most vigorously the ratings governing age and content that were established by the entertainment media industry,’” EMA said in a statement.

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