Congressman proposes health warning label for games

Video Game Health Labeling Act would force games rated T or above to warn of link between violent media and aggressive behavior.

Politicians have previously portrayed games as a dangerous influence on par with smoking. Now one congressman has taken the extra step to try to have them carry warning labels like cigarettes.

Don't say we didn't warn you.

Representative Joe Baca (D-California) has introduced the Video Games Health Labeling Act of 2009 with the stated goal "To require certain warning labels to be placed on video games that are given certain ratings due to violent content."

If passed, the bill would require games rated T-for-Teen or higher to carry a label that would read, "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior."

Although the goal of Baca's bill specifically targets violent games, the language of the legislation makes no exception for games rated T-for-Teen or higher that might have coarse language or sexual content but no violence.

"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," the congressman said in announcing the legislation. "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 about these potentially dangerous products."

After introduction, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Cosponsoring the bill is Representative Frank Wolf (R-Virginia).

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Discussion

388 comments
VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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Imconfused2007
Imconfused2007

I want to know where this mystical bank of studies is, since I have never heard of any conclusive studies, short of the government statistics showing a consistent downward trend in national violence since 1994, years after the advent of the modern conception of violence in video games. For the curious. its on the Department of Justice website. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict.htm

Shadowflame291
Shadowflame291

ROFL, this crap is still going on? I've played tons of shooters in my life, and I've never even once touched a real gun in my life, let alone shot anybody

cherubidude
cherubidude

i have only 1 thing to say... SCREW YOU!

bombermanator
bombermanator

whatever happened to a government run by the people. if people voted on laws like this, theres NO WAY they would get passed. Hopefully parents would read on the bills that these warnings would be in addition to the ratings. They would figure, if it says T, or M, I wont buy it for my 5 year old child! give me a break!

poorguy17
poorguy17

Can anybody point me in the direction of all this research "proving" that playing violent games increases aggression? Next we'll have warning for books. "Warning! Reading this book may result in a paper cut which could get infected and cause you to DIE!"

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

personal I feel that games release these violent tendenceys. We all have violent tendenceys. Its human nature to be violent not having some release for it will make u snap or rage when u get mad. But then again u have the idiots who blame games for there own action. Another good way to spend our tax dollars

starduke
starduke

Yet another attempt by a congressman to control the way people have fun. There already is a content warning on video games! ESRB, duh. If a game is rated M, kids should not be playing it. If the parents are stupid enough to let their kids play M rated games then it's their fault if anything bad happens, not the video games. Parents are the ones who should be responsible for their kids, not the video game industry. This is just an attempt to pass the buck. This congressman should be advocating parental resposibility. Putting another warning label on something which already has one, which people already ignore, is sheer idiocy. Besides, this congressman is ignoring the studies and resarch that link video games to good things, like improving hand eye coordination. This is just like what they did with comic books. This kind of thing makes me doubt the sanity of our people in congress. I hate when they do this. It's ludicrous. How much do you want to bet that this guy was never able to get the high scores on his Commodore 64 games, and now he's out for revenge?

lamprey263
lamprey263

legistlation against video games has pretty much been the default family value issue for democrats since republicans got that covered up the wazoo with issues like school prayer, abstinance only, anti-gay marriage, etc, scapegoating video games has been the response

Joshua250
Joshua250

I don't get how they fail to live up to the responsibility of parents and consumers. Just like movies and music, video games have a rating label on them that specifically warns of the content. It's just as detailed as a movie content rating and just as easy to follow. If people are too retarded to see a giant M in front of a game, and too retarded to explain to their kids that shooting people is wrong then they shouldn't have kids in the first place.

snakes3425
snakes3425

So let me get this straight, the economy is falling apart, and this guy's home state is one of the states that's been hit the hardest, there are two wars going on, the Gulf Coast is still rebuilding, people are loosing their jobs left and right, as well as their homes, and what takes center stage in Congress: A warning label for video games. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't Joe Baca be focused on I don't know FIXING THE ECONOMY

pop_can
pop_can

so where are the facts that state that there is a link between violence and video games when it was proven that there is no link? why don't they do this for movies, I see worse things in a PG-13 movie than in an M rated game.

EternalYoshi
EternalYoshi

This is a dumb bill. Video games already have the ESRB ratings on the box. All it takes is a little basic reading comprehension to understand them. The Industry has already succedded in informing people about game content. It is highly unfair and unconstitutional to single out one form of media like this. Movies, television, and even books also have explicit adult content and alcohol drinks and drugs are more harmful than those things. Also, having the label on t-rated and over games that don't have violence is spreading incorrect information and the industry will not tolerate it. That "research" needs to be checked to see if it's viable, accurate, or even true. You cannot use video games to scapegoat, especially when said bill is wasting taxpayer money in an economy that's horrid now. P.S. games already have health warning lables for seizure related reasons.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Hey we got ourselves a new Jack Thompson. Let's see how long it takes this one to get disbarred.

necronaux
necronaux

Howabout a warning label on Politicians? "Warning: This guys an a$$. Prone to jumping on bandwagons. Known for bouts of verbal diarrhea."

Rei64
Rei64

if this passes then we have to make sure we get the same labels on dvds books and every other form of media... if this keeps up, video games will be illegal by 2018 and at the same time you'll be able to watch holographic 3-d porn and graphic documentaries about murder in your local theater..and that will be perfectly fine...

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

From article above: "If passed, the bill would require games rated T-for-Teen or higher to carry a label that would read, "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior." Note the "and other violent media" part of the warning. Why, then, are video games the sole target of this bill? (No need to answer this. We all know it's a rhetorical question.) Also of interest is the comparison to smoking. Smokers don't give a rat's tail about the warnings on tobacco products (and if they do, I'd guess it's because the warning obscures the artwork of their favorite brand). There are people who, even now, don't care about the current ESRB ratings, and they likely won't care about the existence of this warning label either. IMO, this is just another case of much ado about nothing, wasting taxpayer dollars that have already been stretched too thin (Bailouts, anyone?).

AuronTsubaki85
AuronTsubaki85

These guys never give up. They're going to continue wasting tax dollars on this meaningless crusade against video games when the real cancer of this country is the bad parenting & idiocracy.

Karrotjuce
Karrotjuce

people, if this cogress guy wants to put funny lables on videogames, let 'im. i really dont see how much difference it will make.

richlockard
richlockard

Don't these guys have anything else to do? Why not waste money on sticking labels on bad neighborhoods, or doing something to actually make a difference? Really all a "kid" has to do is sign up for a hotmail account and leave it go for a few days... BAM instant porn and violence in your inbox! Why not stop that? I think congressmen should have a label attached to them "Warning: High chances of spewing BS"

samusarmada
samusarmada

what about porn and violent movies mister congressman? Are these products any more acceptable or dangerous? Or is this yet another example of videogames being labelled as the cause for all of life's problems. Note the lack of a question mark on that final sentence.

Ted_Zanarukando
Ted_Zanarukando

The claims behind this bill have been exposed as a lie. I am strongly against this legislation. This gives evidence a double standard between video games and other entertainment media. There is no causal link between exposure to violent media and aggressive behavior. This warning label is a passage way to banning video games. The Entertainment Software Association and the Entertainment Consumers Association must act now against this destructive and divisive political bill. This bill will probably be struck down by the Supreme Court.

Footballteen58
Footballteen58

Don't they have more inportant things to worry about? Like the legalization of marijuana and the banning of ciggarettes? Those sound much important to our health than video games. I play violent video games all the time but I avoid getting into fights as much as possible lol.

Dreski83
Dreski83

movie tickets and posters don't have such an approach, but I suppose interactive media is a ongoing debate in such areas...

sgt-hawkins
sgt-hawkins

lol congress are fail why attack one media and not all music movies board games and any thing else

MikeLirette
MikeLirette

This is the most dumb thing I have ever seen... Does everything have to have a warning now?

Shantrix
Shantrix

Awesome idea, but if ur gonna do this, also do it on movies, since there can be much more crap in a movie than in a game, also its easier to get, maybe kids can't go see it in the cinema due to the rating, but when they go out in dvd they can easily rent it and its the same dam effect, they can even buy it what its worse -.- Its like when in movies normal sexual acts (not the one that are entirely promiscous) are censored when its more normal than when there is like a ton load of crap in violence and super exagerated sadism. Thats pitiful.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

maybe we should put warning lables on violent movies for the same reasons. or how about warning lables on porn : warning may cause chaffing for over paid congressmen who dont get any at home and take their anger out on petty issues like video games.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

failing to "live up to reponsibilities"?????? are u insane the ESRB is probably the most comprehensive rating system out there! all they do is try to get parents to know what they are buying! if parents dont listen thats not the industries fault! also there are sooooooo many benifits to playing video games for only 10 mins.

Apocolypse_Cow
Apocolypse_Cow

Do it for movies and put it in front of TV shows, and I have no problem. To tie it to games only (which I do realise are different, as you take part in the action) seems simply alarmist and not genuinely concerned.

towelie892
towelie892

Why make the parents be responsible for their children's well-being when you could let the government do it?

xRmRxfreakBOMB
xRmRxfreakBOMB

Response to Lanowar: I totally agree with you. The media and everyone that revolves around this are blowing this WAY to out of proportion.

Lanowar
Lanowar

When you you put on every religious book "WARNING: Excessive exposure to the Bible and other religious texts has been linked to aggressive behaviour" then we'll talk about Video games ok? To pander to the small demographic of mentally disturbed people is ridiculous. By this logic you might as well put warning on knives explaining that some people might use it to stab you. To paraphrase Chris Rock "Whatever happened to just plain crazy?"

GamerTron0
GamerTron0

It kinda good so people who have psychotic problems wont be able 2 get there hands on this and the media will not bash video games that much.

snakes3425
snakes3425

When will people learn, there's more to aggressive behavior then violent media.

darthfrag
darthfrag

Congratulations, Joe Baca! You win the race to see who can be the first politician in 2009 to malign video games to further your political career! Seriously though, this act should go right in the shredder. If this bill's logic stands, they should put a similar warning on every case of beer sold, every tax audit delivered, every profoundly unfunny Dane Cook concert, etc., as prolonged exposure to these, and countless other things, can lead to violence.

superjon6
superjon6

Well in this economy I think this is tax dollars well spent, NOT, I am fed up with people attacking video games, why don't they make the news put a message up on the screen for long enough for someone to change the channel before any story that refers to anything violent, on the other hand there already is a label that warns about any violent content in a game (the ESRB label since it seems no one can find it).

robfield
robfield

Have parents completely forgotten how to raise children? My parents raised me with enough common sense that I could play GTA when I was 10 and not try to imitate it.

soldjango
soldjango

Oh god...are these people taking lessons from Jack Thompson? M-Rated games, only, and I'd be noticeably less upset, but still! Just because a game is rated T or M, doesn't mean it's violent! Besides, anyone who goes crazy and kills a bunch of people, would do so, whether they play games or not. Whatever those crazies are doing to go insane, gimme. I wanna go see this guy...I wish I could...maybe I should go play some CoD4 to re-train my brain to work with pistols and MP5's! Jesus >_

cooldude03
cooldude03

Someone has to take over for Jack Tompson. Why not Joe Baca and Frank Wolf? I want them to pass a bill against over paid idiots who think they know what's best for me and my children. We need to get these ignorant one minded fruitcakes off the street,

fenix0003
fenix0003

Lawl @ Rep. Joe Beca. Nice to know that you are spending time on such an issue. How about actually use our money to try and do something that will benefit society...Like public education.

xitwenty20ix
xitwenty20ix

They should put warning labels on parenting.

Zidaneski
Zidaneski

For all you people getting angry. Thanks for proving their point. Good job.

willerdrew
willerdrew

what a load of crap!! maybe if they actually played them they would realize it dosent actually make you run around and kill people!!

prioritymail
prioritymail

Not cool. Movies don't have that kind of warning; its preposterous that games should receive the treatment.

Joshy485
Joshy485

Thats gotta be the dumbest thing Ive heard all day. What next eh?!!

bluefishhead
bluefishhead

this is so stupid the only people who become violent when they play video games would just be triggered to be violent by something other than video games if there were no video games, this is just politicians blaming an easy target, just like blaming marilyn manson for the columbine shootings... just because the kid plays video games and went on a killing spree in real life doesn't mean the video games made him do it....