CT lawmaker wants extra tax, warning labels for violent games

DebraLee Hovey also says that, "The science is clear and overwhelming; the playing of violent video games by children and teens does lead to observable behavior changes."

Connecticut lawmaker DebraLee Hovey, whose district includes Newtown, has written a new opinion piece in which she claims playing violent video games leads to "observable behavioral changes." Also in this piece, she calls for violent games to carry extra warning labels and be taxed in the state.

This isn't the first time Hovey has rallied for increased awareness of violent video games. Following the Sandy Hook massacre, Hovey (R-112nd District) put forth a bill that would have enacted a excise tax for violent video games. This bill did not pass, but Hovey isn't giving up.

"I am disheartened this bill did not pass," she wrote. "Assuming Connecticut lawmakers are truly serious about changing the culture of violence in our state, taxing violent video games is a common sense start to achieving this goal."

The Entertainment Software Rating Board already provides ratings for video games, but Hovey says if mature-rated games carried an "extra warning label," and if there was an extra tax applied to such games, "a parent might think twice before purchasing that game for their young child."

Hovey says educating parents about the potential mental health implications to their children from playing violent video games is "as common sense as warning pregnant women about the dangers of drinking alcohol."

"If the children, teens, and adults who play these games (alike) were aware of the risks of violent video game play, they could moderate their exposure to such play and seek help if needed," she said.

Hovey goes on to say that numerous studies, including recently published research from Iowa State University, point out that playing violent video games can lead to noticeable increases in the frequency and severity of aggressive behavior.

Hovey points out that the Sandy Hook shooter was "known to play these violent video games for hours a day." Indeed, a game called "School Shooting" was discovered on his computer. However, numerous other non-violent games were found in his residence, including Super Mario Bros. and Dance Dance Revolution.

Still, Hovey said, "The science is clear and overwhelming; the playing of violent video games by children and teens does lead to observable behavior changes." Citing data from the Iowa State study, Hovey adds that even children with no previous signs of violent tendencies were likely to show signs of increased aggression after periods of playing violent games.

"It should be the duty of the State of Connecticut to ensure parents and players are aware of this information. Labeling and taxing mature rated video games is an obvious way to achieve this. It is clear that violent video game play alters the psyche of our youth and induces violent behavior," Hovey said.

"Spreading the word about the effects of violent video games brings the issue of aggressive behavior to the general forefront of parent and player minds. Most importantly, recognizing and getting help for individuals who display patterns of violent behavior is a key step in preventing mass acts of violence before they occur," she added. "Therefore, I ask you as a Legislator and fellow citizen, let us work together to eradicate our culture of violence, and let us start with spreading the word about the harmful impact of violent video game play across Connecticut."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
166 comments
starjawwa
starjawwa

This is the dumbest lady I've ever seen/heard. FIRSTLY, there have been multiple studies on this subject and MOST of them have yielded the exact opposite of what she "says it causes." This is all just a big publicity stunt most libtards do with a subject like this.

Goodrich68
Goodrich68

Its a parents job to teach their kids right from wrong, not a videogame. People keep using this violent videogame thing as a crutch to explain away their shitty parenting. If you neglect your kid and they grow up to be a psychopath, don't blame the entertainment industry. Blame yourself. I've been playing violent games all my life, ever since Doom came out when I was a kid (well, it was violent for the 90's), and I've never been prone to violent behavior or overly aggressive, probably because I can separate fantasy from reality. Stop looking to videogames for a scapegoat every time a crazy person does something terrible.

Takeno456
Takeno456

Games don't make normal people go crazy. The people who go on these crazy violent sprees are people with pre-existing mental issues. That's the fault of the individual and not the games. Also they need to get their facts straight. Adding "School Shooter" on that list of games is just trying to persuade uninformed people to join in their anti gaming crusade. Underground garbage like school shooter and the Columbine one and other stuff like that are not even real products. Their created by some sick jackass in his basement and put on-line for free download usually on some seedy website. They are not rated or backed by anyone in the industry. I hope people stop with this debate soon because there have been too many court cases and professional studies that have said multiple times that games do not make people violent. 

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

I always knew Dance Dance Revolution was evil.. well.. there ya go...

Strategizer
Strategizer

Really the evidence of violence from video games is overwhelming? Really Hovey? Maybe you have a point but I have also seen that there are video games that help people too. Also again I'm asking all these stupid politicians targeting violent video games in this wonderful country I live in what caused the Revolution, what cause the world wars what has cause all of that violence before video games even existed? I don't argue that games can have an affect on the aggression of a person especially if they have a mental health issue but IT IS NOT THE ONLY PRODUCT THAT DOES! Heck I watch the news and get angry sometimes so you might as well ban the news or something. Oh and that reminds me The SH may have played many video games but does anybody look at the fact that he basically trapped himself in his room days on end? Do you even look at the fact that he had his own guns that his mother bought him? Or maybe that fact that he had mental issues and never got the proper treatment? Instead of being so dead set on trying to tax video games or other politicians trying to ban violent ones why don't you look at the real issue of the incident that the kid was mentally unstable and he never got help why not focus on those mental health issues of the shooters of not just the SH shooting but the many others that have happened. 


Sandy Hook was a horrible tragedy and I can't imagine the pain that town feels but you will NOT prevent those events buy trying to tax violent video games. You prevent them by figuring out the shooter as a person who he was and not buy what he does. Sometimes I feel real ashamed to live in this country cause it's politicians like Hovey who just want to find scapegoats to the problems and try to get more money rather than fix the real problems in this country.

FretsOfDeath
FretsOfDeath

this issue has always bothered me. It goes the same for music genres such as rap and heavy metal always getting blamed for violence and murder as well. The issue always has and should start with the parents and the kids outright. Has it ever crossed their minds that people are drawn to violence in music movies and video games because they already have those violent tendencies in them? 


Not to say this goes for everyone who likes these genres of music movies and games, as I do myself. I've been playing violent games and listening to heavy metal since before I was 10 years old, and it hasn't affected me one bit,  But if someone is so easily influenced by words in a song, or animation in a games to act on them, then there was obviously something very mentally wrong with that person to begin with. Don't punish the other 99%, because they're able to distinguish between real life and a video game. 


The whole issue falls on the parents, and the fact that they can't properly teach their kids right from wrong, and they rely on digital media to be the parent for them.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Ok so let's say teenagers and children are influenced by violent video games (which I don't deny they're not), but that only means that ESRB and other rating systems either don't work, since parent are buying those games for their kids anyway, and you can't tax everyone in a bulk just because children are playing the games. How is this any different from violent books or movies? If you want to stop kids from playing violent video games, a very well thought PSA program would suffice. But that would imply a lot of money and work put into it. Proof that this is not what CT want, they don't care about violent video games corrupting our children, they just want to impose more taxes.

steelmouth
steelmouth

WTF how you goner tax the good games that already cost way too much to make and its harder and harder for them to turn profit? tax the damn mobile games they shitty and rake in money like Bill Gates at his prime

pingnotpong
pingnotpong

Translation: We the people in CT can't manage our money properly, so we are gonna find a way to bring in more money. 


If she truly cared, she would have pushed for making it illegal for parents to buy violent video games for there kids. But that would of cause them to loose money because now they are getting less taxes. 

ank000
ank000

She couldn't come up with a law which prohibits underage children from buying mature games and instead she decided to charge violent games as a mean to reduce violence. She probably needs more education on how to become a decent lawmaker...lol.


BTW, taxing video games won't change a thing. Children will just pay few more dollars to get those games.


Retarded politician...

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Those Americans don't learn, do they? It's nothing but the good, the bad and the crazy rich cowboy that's only interested in robbing the bank. Politician's likes to get their bang for their buck. If I was one of the Charmed Ones, I'll cast a spell to set their minds straight since there's no connection between videogames and how gamers react.


If anything, those politician's warped minds about kids getting violent over videogames should spend the next hour watching Bug Bunny's cartoons.

BigBadBanther
BigBadBanther

"observable behavioral changes." She probably let one of her kids play GTA V and now he's steeling her car to pick up hoe's :)

Did any movie like The Texas chainsaw massacre or Saw warrant extra tax putting on them???? (i think not). Games are the next thing on a long list that bad parents use as an excuse for not caring what their children watch/play or do.

SavageEvil
SavageEvil

They should put labels on those lousy as$ parents who don't teach their children anything of value or nurture good behavior. This pass the buck bull crap is reaching epic proportions, United States of It's Not My Fault...goes round and round and then lands on whatever media is all the rage with the rebellious teens.  History repeats itself far too quickly in good 'ol US of A dun it!

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I, for one, am 100% behind this, and any other tax, if it means we can save one single life with it....unfortunately though, this is the real world and it won't save a single life....therefore, take your stupid witchhunt elsewhere...

Babugee
Babugee

Next thing you know there is going to be a tax on Mario games because it teaches people to stomp on heads and chuck bob-ombs. Let us also not forget Bullet Bill. If this is the case then how come none of my friends are running around with hidden blades?


Also, what is next? Will there be a tax on violent R rated movies? Movies where actual humans are shot in the head, blown apart, or etc in a more realistic manner. (Yes, I know it is special effects but you know what I mean) Movies are much cheaper than games soooooooooooooooo???


People need to stop messing with my entertainment.

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

Will those extra labels be put on cigarettes, chewing tobacco, alcohol, R rated movies, Parental Advisory labeled music, and the false promises politicians give us for better living conditions? No? Alright then, shut the hell up and stop wasting taxpayer dollars or be prepared to be voted out of office.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

As others are pointing out in their comments, there's already a big-assed letter on the game box denoting the type of material and the age restriction.

This just feels like:

a) She's pandering for votes - which since we're talking about a politician is like saying fish swim

b) This is a legislative version of DRM - charging folks who do follow the ratings a penalty fine while underage

          kids will just get their parents to buy the games anyway

eternal_napalm
eternal_napalm

The video games industry is too much raw capitalism if you ask me. It needs government regulation and taxes. The fat cats at EA and Activi$ion need to be taxed more. Government oversight would make gaming so much better. Time for gaming to see Progress.

berserker66666
berserker66666

No. The science of greed and easy taxpayer money is overwhelming. Use the word "Science" to back up this greed.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

I just tried clicking on the link to view the article in question (an opinion piece, I can only assume it's quite removed from actual scientific literature) and was denied access. Possibly because I live in Australia but oh well...
Having read the Iowa State University article (which in turn is actually discussing a paper from the Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice publication)  she cites, it states that the research was conducted on 200+ youths already in juvenile detention for various crimes.
Is the research accurate if your population sample is 100% individuals who have already displayed anti-social behaviour?

codeman101360
codeman101360

You know that big-ass letter on the front of the case, and then the big box on the back that specifically says what kind of content is in the game? They aren't just there for decoration...

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

I'll bet she's a gun smuggler like Leyland Yee.

Horndawgie
Horndawgie

Looking at the overall aggressive, immature tone of posts on gaming sites, it's clear to any rational and non-biased person that gamers in general have some serious issues. I don't doubt that some violence in games and on TV causes some to justify their behavior. Sorry but she's right, there is science behind this. 


Some of you would do better to continue to go to school and learn something instead of wasting your time posting silly, mindless essays on why she is an idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about. There is a reason why no one takes gamers seriously.

Lattata
Lattata

I blame parents for letting their young kids play games that were not for their Age group.

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

Why do politicians always choose only the studies that support their arguments and ignore others? Besides, studies almost always have too small a sample size to compare to the general population. They're basically worthless and they're almost always skewed when observing behavior.

Revenant_K
Revenant_K

They should put extra tax on game with too much bug and glitch too, because playing those kind of game make me really want to murder someone, especially the developers =P

guitarpete462
guitarpete462

The extra warnings idea is OK, because as a teacher, I honestly can't believe that some of my parents of elementary students let them play games like GTA and Saints Row. I chalk it up to ignorance. But the tax idea is crap! Why should I,  a responsible,  mature adult,  have to pay extra to play a violent video game? 


Of course violent video games affect kids and teens,. Those are highly suggestible ages.  But here's the thing: They're NOT MEANT FOR THEM! 

codeman101360
codeman101360

Great, how long before she gets caught taking bribes and trafficking illegal firearms?

Renloco
Renloco

I don't blame Video games, I blame parents who buy and let their kids play these types of games without knowing the type of game they are buying for their kids. 

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

How about parents WHO READ THE ONES ALREADY THERE and stop letting their little dweebs, with squeaky voices throwing tantrums, play M rated games?  Works too, just saying!  I'm sick of video games becoming a scapegoat for parental apathy. Be a dang authority figure, and take the controller away already!

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

It's pretty ridiculous to think violent video games cause violent behavior. It sounds so logical to people who have nothing to do with video games, but look at the numbers. There would be too many mass shootings to count if violent video games were really the culprit. GTA + COD + BF would end the world. 


The majority of mass shooters were mentally ill, and the media's coverage of these killers should also be considered. Blaming video games is easy, but completely unfair. I don't believe they should go after the alcohol industry, but it would make much more sense when you consider the guaranteed deaths that result from excessive alcohol use, and the deaths caused by people under the influence. 

hystavito
hystavito

You know some of these politicians probably don't really believe it themselves.  They just see it as a good platform, or maybe they know their existing base likes it.

TylerGamer84
TylerGamer84

@johnnyauau I'm all kinds of lost here. What does being American and you wishing you were a fictional TV witch have to do with this?


Anyway, they can tax and slap all the warning labels in the world on a game. It won't keep the games out of the kids hands. That's the parents/guardians responsibility.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@Babugee Mario scarred me for life.... I can't not stomp on turtles, eat mushrooms I find in strange boxes, or skin racoons so I can fly....

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@Wej_accept_it it is correlation at best. The main issue with most science that "proves" that videogames are huge indicators of violence make 2 major flaws: First, they rely on correlation and second they generally have no baseline comparison. They all too often compare violent video gaming Timmy to Jimmy, who never watched TV, listened to violent music (classic music listening Soab.....), and never once played video games. It's like Wheaties cereal claims that it increases children's school performance by a huge margin....when compared to starving children...

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@GSGuy321 Gotta protect ourselves from you violent gamers somehow.... I need that howitzer since all you CoD players are trained assassins....

codeman101360
codeman101360

@Horndawgie  Because gamers are the only people on the internet that ever act aggressive and immature.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

@Lattata Target parents not gamers, a tax would just negatively impact on the adults buying adult games for themselves.
And if you want to tax "violent" media it should be applied to all "violent" media (some many terms to define though first). If people said HBO had to charge extra for letting people watch Game of Thrones or if NBC was taxed higher for producing Hannibal (the best thing on network TV by the way) the ideas would be shut down instantly.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@JDWolfie Because they're mostly lawyers and critical scientific thinking is not a common attribute for that demographic. 

sanchango
sanchango

@guitarpete462  I honestly don't believe that it's necessary. The ESRB created a simple to understand rating system and the parent could seriously turn over the case and look at the basic contents of the game. Blood & Gore is more than enough to raise a flag on how violent it is. Even if they didn't, they could honestly ask an employee(that works specifically in that area), and they'll give you an honest response.

I will agree that paying an extra tax that on these games is stupid.

FretsOfDeath
FretsOfDeath

@xsonicchaos @---Cipher---  If anything, the next big story will be that some nut job kid kills himself or his parents because they won't buy him the overly taxed video game he wants.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

@---Cipher--- @Wej_accept_itWell put! Too often people in mainstream society/media take scientific writing and read maybe the first paragraph and then paraphrase from there, twisting the content and context to suit their agenda.
Correlation and causation are messed with and anyone ignorant of the overall issue takes away a skewed unscientific perspective.