Industry must lessen the 'obscene levels of violence' in games, says US Senator

Policymaker says it is "unrealistic" that parents can prevent children from viewing inappropriate content in media-soaked culture.

Responding to a recent report that the Sandy Hook shooter was a "deranged" gamer, United States senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said the industry must tone down the "obscene levels of violence" in games today.

As reported by the New York Daily News, Rockefeller said this week it is "unrealistic" to think parents can control the content their children see and hear in the modern, media-soaked culture.

"In today’s world, where kids can access content across a variety of devices often without parental supervision, it is unrealistic to assume that overworked and stressed parents can prevent their kids from viewing inappropriate content," Rockefeller said.

"The only real solution is for the entertainment industry to reduce the often obscene levels of violence in the products they sell," he added.

The New York Daily News on Monday published a report claiming the Sandy Hook shooter had a spreadsheet detailing the names and number of people killed and the weapons used in past mass shootings. It was described as a "score sheet" because the shooter was reportedly attempting to "out score" past attackers.

"This was the work of a video gamer, and that it was his intent to put his own name at the very top of that list," a source said. "[The Connecticut State Police] believe that he picked an elementary school because he felt it was a point of least resistance, where he could rack up the greatest number of kills."

Rockefeller is currently sponsoring the Violent Content Research Act of 2013, which directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) to jointly call on the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive study into the relationship between exposure to violence games--and other programming--and harmful effects on children.

Rockefeller argues that current and emerging characteristics of games have a unique impact on children due to their interactive nature. The bill has five co-sponsors, including Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mike Johanns (R-NE), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
1199 comments
Eraldus
Eraldus

If some parents weren't so lazy as to watch which games their kids are playing, or which games they're getting to their kids, then we wouldn't need to hear some old dumb fool bash at some games for containing violence...

Parents: "Oh! But when we bought that game to our kids, we didn't knew it was violent..."

Cool! So you just buy things randonly, without even knowing what are you getting yo your kids?

I swear... some parents are just to fucking lazy these days and they prefer to say it's the game developers's fault...

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

maybe just make it more obvious to parents that there are parental controls in games to control the violence, problem solved.

kyle756
kyle756

Ignore him, this is literally just him trying to have a last political hoorah because he's finally running against someone set to kick his ass at the polls, thank god

rktPYZQShWz
rktPYZQShWz

Just shut up, please... It's getting old.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

What we should lessen is the obscene number of voters voting for retards.

vampyren
vampyren

Great Video! The U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller should watch it like 100 times and afterwards repeat parents parent parents.......

jgrigs09
jgrigs09

There are multiple solutions to prevent kids from playing "violent" games. When my parents weren't home, they would unplug my gaming console and hide the cords,until they got home from work. It's simple as that, I just don't get it. Plus they have set-ups on consoles to prevent your kid from accessing content like that. It's just straight up ignorance. I mean really blame video games? What about movies and shows. I mean do we have to calm that down. Senator we don't live in a fairy tale land. Violence just happen, you can't stop it.

silvernair
silvernair

Reducing the number of raging douchebags in online games would reduce the stress levels of the adult population old enough to play these games.

Dessicator
Dessicator

Meanwhile in the middle-east, the executive branch murders another group of "terrorist" (read: a gathering of more than 1 man who's skin is not white) and the US senate has the audacity to criticize gaming for it's violence.

ben1028
ben1028

Its unfair to use video games as a scape goat for tragic crimes like these, when violence is so prevalent in the media in general. you cant switch on the tv or watch a movie without hearing a gunshot or seeing violent acts. The bottom line is shootings like this could easily be avoided if these children didn't have access to guns in the first place.

I believe the abundance of guns in the U.S, paired with the lack of appropriate supervision when it comes to the media content parents expose their children to is an accident waiting to happen. again.


TirOrah
TirOrah

This guy again? (although I have to note that the only reason I remember him is that god-awful in-motion picture...) 

So parents are overworked and stressed. I see, it might be nice if that was fixed. I know stress is a very serious issue, but it's the responsibility of the parent to protect their children from content that's not suitable for their age. 

At the same time, I agree that children have much more access to media now than in the past and that it's more difficult to monitor what they see because of this. Smartphones are a good example, I guess. Video games are NOT. They do actually have to go out and buy those, you know. They have to spend money. And sadly, despite how overworked and stressed parents are, they need to know what their kids are playing. Saying that's an 'unrealistic expectation' because of an apparently screwed up system is really just turning this around to place the blame on video games. Politicians. Meh.

paulsifer42
paulsifer42

Guns are the problem, games are the problem, music is the problem, tight waist bands on underpants are the problem.

It makes me sad that we keep fixating on single element solutions.  If all it took was a video game, everyone on this site would be out killing people and... gasp... we're not.  Heaven forbid we take a multiple element approach, because then politicians would actually have to think through legislation and platforms, and journalists would have to get more creative with headlines.

sanch_ssj5
sanch_ssj5

Well, I guess then expecting parents (overworked & stressed as they are) to know their kid & at-least have a tiny bit of an idea of what is going on in their head & providing them professional mental care when needed would be just as "unrealistic" wouldn't it?!

Oh I forgot, its easier to blame the growing art form of which you have absolutely no comprehension whatsoever.

You could really utilize your time better sir!

Zloth2
Zloth2

So the bill is to have various government entities "call on" the National Academy of Sciences to do a study!?  The NAS doesn't have to do it and doesn't get money to do it??  If this bill goes through, I expect the NAS will simply send copies of studies already done back to the FCC/FTC/HSS.  Much ado about nothing.

The__Kraken
The__Kraken

American society must lessen the 'obscene levels of stupidity' in the senate, says everybody.

Dudeman315
Dudeman315

"In today’s world, where kids can access content across a variety of devices often without parental supervision, it is unrealistic to assume that OVERWORKED and STRESSED parents can prevent their kids from viewing inappropriate content," Rockefeller said.  --emphasis mine

So if congress could reduce stress levels and increase the economic conditions of this country problem would be solved.  Oh that would require you to do your job.

Apastron
Apastron

It's not realistic to expect parents not to go to a game shop, buy a game with a rating that they claim 'not to understand' to bypass their parenting duties of 'Well go and find out then!  Those guns on the cover aren't celery sticks,' and give it to their children?  Or not to give them their credit card details?


Well I never.

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

"The only real solution is for the entertainment industry to reduce the often obscene levels of violence in the products they sell," So basically, the only "real solution" is one that won't happen because we have the first amendment. Great work, Mr. Senator, you've solved it. I'm glad you're being paid a lot of money to focus on not actually solving real problems.

In another article, the senator mentions that "Parents, pediatricians, and psychiatrists know better," in regards to the fact that the studies that have been done have shown that violent video games have no violent behavior effects on children. In fact, the kids who didn't play the video games were more prone to violence. Yes, Mr. Senator,  let's ignore the results that have been shown through scientific research and studies and go with your gut feeling, because you're clearly an expert in child behavior.

Why is it unrealistic to expect parents to raise their children right? Also, most devices nowadays that allow you to access media have parameters in place so that you can limit what type of content the viewer sees. You can do this for your computer, your video game console, your TV, your DVD player, just about everything, really. And it's not that hard to figure this stuff out. In fact, most of the companies for these devices make a note of it in some way in their advertising of their product. But, I bet you either didn't know that, or try to avoid that it's actually a thing. /my2cents

XIntoTheBlue
XIntoTheBlue

Hey Senator, how about you focus on fixing the damn budget and the federal deficit first? Hm? Oh, wait, I forgot. Politicians don't really tackle the real problems. Silly me.

TheHappyDrunk
TheHappyDrunk

Nice try using the obscenity exemption to the First Amendment (thanks SCotUS /sarcasme), but violence in media doesn't fall under it. Stories like this are why so many rednecks accuse Democrats of wanting a nanny state.

JustAnExplosion
JustAnExplosion

It wasn't a score sheet it was a recipe, because he was a chef! Check your facts senator and start placing blame where it needs to be.... the culinary arts

mattress805
mattress805

It's called Freedom of Speech, you F*ck! The First Amendment. Ever hear of it?

MaverickHunter8
MaverickHunter8

Yet another politician using this tragedy as his soapbox....that's what's obscene here! Always "For the children!" and "We must protect the children!" and now "Parents are unfit to protect their children so we must do it for them!" Ignorant morons...

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

The senate fails to see that movies, books, audio, and the Internet in general provides youth with "obscene levels of violence." It's in all media yet games are the focus.

Let's just do a trade. You lower the amount of violence and we'll raise the level of sexuality and cursory.

Robertn__07
Robertn__07

It's unrealistic for a parent to do their job??? That's a new one...Next on CNN, government declares parents are unfit to be parents.


I think these guys are the ones being unrealistic, believing the fairy tale that the Sandy Hook shooter was trying to score points according to the non-existent gamer code...

OrphanSlapper
OrphanSlapper

Its the parents fault for buying the game for their children without even considering why PEGI slapped an 18 rating on the packaging


Centurion95
Centurion95

Senator: It's "unrealistic" that parents can prevent children from viewing inappropriate content...."

Senator: But we, your government, can!

Yeah like government enforced morality that has ever worked out without the barrel of a gun behind it has...

Afflictedsin
Afflictedsin

Damn seems there catching on to me, now they know that video games produce killers and murderers. 

It's only a matter of time before LSPD (Los Santos Police Department) finds me.... or worse Agent 47.

Honestly this story is ridiculous the thought of some eighty year old who can get his rocks off but somehow demonizes my form of entertainment is just crazy.

I've played games as far back as I can remember but never once did I have the thought of going and just killing people. 

If anything the video games detoured me from becoming a killer lmao.

Honestly playing a violent video game for me helps take my anger out in a healthier way, and it's more satisfying than punching a pillow. 

Just a matter of opinion in all reality but much like anything your bound to have bad apples out of the bunch.

An example would be senators and higher officials engaging with prostitutes, and the list goes on, but you don't see people boycotting higher power. 

Wait second thought we couldn't anyways because every inch we take the government grasps that much tighter their grip upon our throats.

pokatalk
pokatalk

You can tell this guy knows absolutely nothing about video games. 

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

Anyone can limit what their children play, but there is even a limit to that. Kids can get access through friends or relatives. And even watching gameplay is good enough for some people. There is no shortage of Call of Duty on Youtube.

The people who make violent video games are the source of the problem. Assuming parents have jobs and responsibilities besides baby sitting, it is impossible to monitor when there is no one to keep watch.

raven98030
raven98030

I am a 36 year old black male who father was in the Air Force for 20 years the first game system I play was Atari 2600 I was 6 years old when I started and now my 2 boys and even my baby girl play I never been in jail I don't want to go up to someone and  break they  back like Sam Fisher.I keep my kids busy with sports and school activities they only play during the weekend I keep them busy during the week because I don't want to give time to do anything bad they are too  tired do anything.Is he  related to the Rockefeller family like John D Rockefeller? 

bschroth
bschroth

While I'm all for people not liking something and avoiding it, freedom of speech protects a lot of media, in this case video games, from being told what they can or cannot do with few exceptions. If you start doing the very dangerous road of censorship for one major media type you then are forced to do it too all media. It's a joke to do it. A sick person using a trope of a video game to analyse the pain he has cause does not lay the blame on video games. I can tell the person who committed the horrible acts at Sandy Hook could also read,  and probably watched movies etc... But there's no way anyone would be right to suggest looking at changing those mediums.

boomer0901
boomer0901

It's an oldy but a goody "you can't fix stupid"  much like you can't fix politicians.  Like the politicians like to say never let a good tragedy go to waste, milking these last few for all they are worth. 

Here's a problem, anyone else want to go out on a limb with me here, anyone notice the poorer and more rights we lose in this country the more the violence goes up?  Hmmm......anyone think any of this is going to change anytime soon?  hmmmmm........ maybe there is a pattern here, sigh. 

4iDragon
4iDragon

I seen little kids wearing COD shirts, so it's the parents fault

BarkingSpider81
BarkingSpider81

I've been playing games for 25 years or so, and not once have I had the urge to throw barrels at plumbers, fly through space with a fox, steal a car and run over hookers, or fire laser rifles at invading alien forces. Call me crazy though. Something tells me that I'm in the same boat as 99.99999% of you.

jamesbigmac
jamesbigmac

It's pretty easy to just, ya know, NOT BUY THE FREAKING GAMES FOR YOUR KIDS. I know a parent who let her 9 year old play Gears of War. Does that seem right? Nope. Sorry bu the problem is to actually parent your kids.

Ultimate_Noob
Ultimate_Noob

I find it amusing how the video game industry is spoken of like a ring of legalized drug dealers.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

When are people (like this political piece of human waste) gonna get it thru their thick skulls that video games are no longer "just played by children" and have a rating like movies and music....

PhoenixBlueAqua
PhoenixBlueAqua

Kim De Gelder, google this nut. Also note that video games do not form any part of his reasoning for his acts.

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

I think we should ban and/or censor the bible.  IT not only has an inordinate amount of violence, but also has perverted sex (Abraham bedding his wife's handmaiden i.e. slave).  Not only that, but it has been the cause of more deaths world wide than all video games combined.

Akijo
Akijo

My stupid-o-meter blew because of them. They owe me a new one. 

bigdg912
bigdg912

At the risk of sounding like the EA guy from a while back: Other countries consume the same, if not more, violent media (video games, movies, etc...) and have much lower violent crime rates than America. The problem is that our society wants to place the blame on something other than the society we have created. People are the problem, not the violence in the media. Blaming video games is just easier than fixing the real problems that cause these events.

The only reason I bring this up is because a couple years ago, while I was in college, I actually did a study on the effects of violent video games and came to the same conclusion that the EA rep (the CEO? can't remember) presented. I've watched horror movies and played violent games since I was 6 (I'm 30 now with a wife and newborn daughter) and I'm a reasonably well adjusted person with no real violent tendencies.

This is just another "mislead the public" BS statement from senators that don't know a d*** thing about something they are too old to have truly experienced, and too lazy to really look into. Story of America...

deckmaster2004
deckmaster2004

This is bullshit, any gamer worth his salt would look for a challenge, if i ever go into a killing spree i'd try to infiltrate the army, or police department by myself...
What this guy did would be considered "boring god mode" and we all know how boring it is.
On a serious note. Who the fuck comes up with such a retarded theory?

slikjohnson
slikjohnson

I don't understand why censoring video games (for the children) will stop or has anything to do with a 20 year old person committing a crime. Last time I check a twenty year old man was not a child.  This article has nothing to do with censoring video games for children it is suppose to be about the grown man that committed a crime not some 12 year old.

Point is this guys argument starts off attacking video games and the mind of a fully grown individual and somehow from some b/s form of evidence, is tied into violence in video games and how it affects kids. Which in this shooting we are talking about it was children as the victims not the culprits. WTF is this guy talking about?? 

DLazarek
DLazarek

He used a spreadsheet.  Sounds to me like he was a deranged accountant. 

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

Just when I thought this thing was over...

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Recall that moron, please.  He's not thinking logically, despite all the evidence that shows video games don't cause violence.

LoganWesker
LoganWesker

please stop blaming inadament objects...now that's deranged

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

Ban TV while your at it as there is a lot more violence on this device which is way more accessible to children and mental patients with access to guns.

CyberOcelot
CyberOcelot

So, let me understand this... We're shaping industry and law for the acts of the deranged? The combined install base of the PS3 and Xbox 360 alone is over 70 million. If video games truly had an impact on a "normal" individual, we'd be running out of schools and kids.

I also like the short mention of over worked and stressed parents not being able to properly monitor a child. You would think that item would be the REAL problem that needs to be tackled, but no... It's easier (and cheaper) for the government to focus its attention (once again) on violent video games specifically rated to be kept out of a child's reach without consent from a guardian.

But, as gamers, I think we all know why this is happening. The generation prior to ours doesn't seem to understand that video games are no longer "toys". We don't navigate a plumber from left to right anymore in search of a princess. We're playing games with depth that can sometimes dwarf films. 

You know what? Maybe they're right. Parents are too over worked now to look over their children. So, we're going to get rid of violent video games, violent movies, any form of pornography, and maybe we'll also tell furniture manufacturers that they can no longer manufacture anything with sharp edges. *Rolls eyes*