Senator introduces bill to study violent games

In wake of deadly Connecticut shooting, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller seeks measure that would look into how violent games and other programming affect children.

Democratic West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller has introduced a bill to congress that would task the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the effects of violent video games and other programs on children.

Senator Rockefeller at an unrelated event.

The measure comes less than a week after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that left 20 children and six adults dead.

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

The bill would direct the NAS to conduct a "comprehensive study and investigation" of the link between violent games and other violent video programming and harmful effects on children. More specifically, the NAS would be charged with looking into whether or not video games/programming cause children to act aggressively or "otherwise hurt their wellbeing," and if so, determine if that effect is notably distinguishable from other types of media.

This study would also look at the "direct and long-lasting impact" of violent content on a child's well-being.

"With respect to violent video games, NAS must look at whether current or emerging aspects of games, like their interactive nature and the personal and vivid way violence is portrayed, have a unique impact on kids," the statement reads.

Separately, Rockefeller said he will call on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to further their work in this area. "Changes in technology now allow kids to access violent content online with less parental involvement. It is time for these two agencies to take a fresh look at these issues," he said.

If the bill passes, NAS must submit a report on its study within 18 months to Congress as well as the FTC and FCC.

Written By

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

Discussion

23 comments
TommyT456
TommyT456

This article refers to the effects of violent games on "children". Why on earth are children playing them? If anything they need to stamp down on adhering to the age ratings on games. They are strict when it comes to movies at the cinema and selling DVD's but I get the impression they aren't as strict when it comes to IDing young people who want to buy an 18 rated game. If it is violent it will be an 18 and so it shouldn't affect children. If the parents are buying their children games that are rated older than their childs age then that is their problem and if a tragedy like this seems to be a result of a child playing an 18 game then punish the idiot parents, not the gaming industry which is doing its job by being diligent when it comes to rating the games they produce! The y have done everything expected of them, it is not their fault some parents are retards who couldn't bring up a hamster let alone a child! 

god_wotan
god_wotan

how many people died because of Rockefeller family? How many more have no money and resort to violence to survive because of this family? But he has problems with games...

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

He'd be better off introducing a bill to study the effects of fuckwit parents on their children or better yet, how about a bill to study the effects of ignorant, self serving politicians (like this skidmark seeking to score political points for his re-election campaign off a tragedy like Sandy Hook)  on cynical voters

EPaul
EPaul

So look like Video games will be the scapegoat for this one guys

isshiah
isshiah

i feel for the families affected by such tragedies, but pointing the blame at video games just infuriates me. i'm a mentally ill gamer and i haven't committed any crimes.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Well I just wrote a letter and so did my wife to Sen Rockefeller of WV regarding the silly, wasteful, and distracting bill he proposed. I really believe he is just putting out a lot of silly stuff like this for more media attention in hopes of securing a democratic nomination for president in 2016, since he has been a senator/ politician for 50yrs he knows it is now or never.  

Don't get me wrong in all that time he has not been in any scandals or built a bridge to nowhere and has served WV and America well.  But like most people of that generation, something not understood is something to be afraid of- like rock and roll, rap, cold war, Canadians - it has served them well both in life and politically.

 

Like many politicians issuing a bill like this will gain favor and have no losses, since most gamers won't get off their asses to go vote. Still though it saddens me when a tragedy like this happens and our elected officials introduce something so distracting, divisive, and wasteful of our tax dollars, instead of something really helpful like stopping 24hr news channels from glorifying, justifying, and sensationalizing (ty spellcheck) school shootings. All it does is create copy cat killers, who feel the only way to end their pain is to take it out on the most weakest and vulnerable ones in our society- because they know it will be so well memorialized and immortalized on TV.

bluefox755
bluefox755

Maybe we change the name of video games? lol, folks keep saying: Why not movies? or TV? or other forms of entertainment?  They aren't associated with children, even though the majority of gamers are adults, they are playing "games", everyone knows only kids play games right? :) 

bluefox755
bluefox755

Unfortunately, you can't legislate good parenting, just won't work...and even if you could, parents are a very big voting bloc, nobody is gonna say a thing to bring heat onto parents, even though, a parent is 100% responsible for their child, if he turns out to be a psychopath, you screwed up as a parent, bottom line.  That being said, someone's gotta take the fall, so everyone can "sleep at night", it's gonna be guns or video games.  The gun lobby has alot more money, but then again, they are also a much more desirable target for the left.  Video games are an easy target though, elected officials aren't gonna lose votes toward reelection if they take action against video games.  Problem is, even if it is guns first, it'll be video games next.  Someone has to take the fall though, as ridiculous as it is, that's the society we live in.  Admitting there will always be bad people that do bad things, and there is nothing anyone can truly do to stop it...even though it's true, just ain't good enough for folks.

Mawy_Golomb
Mawy_Golomb

Not only is it the parents responsibility to know what their children are playing, but it is also perhaps important for them to do anything possible to help their children do well in their lives, especially if things seem wrong. At which point, those parents could even have their children seek the help of a psychologist if things seem far too hopeless otherwise. And that's the root of the problem, actually: when a mentally ill person doesn't seek advice from a psychologist, huge catastrophes like this occur. And it's not necessarily just having to do with children, but adults themselves, too.

 

Directing this issue only towards children and not adults seems very ignorant. What, should children only be the ones to seek help early on, while a mentally ill adult chooses to just go about and do whatever he/she wants, even if it highly irrational and dangerous?

so_hai
so_hai

As long as the bill to investigate corrupt senators is intorduced simultaneously, there should be no problem.

Gigaman222
Gigaman222

Didn't they already rule that video games are protected under the 1st amendment? Not sure what they can accomplish with this study.

xbox360wizard
xbox360wizard

Just the government trying to invade our lives even further, and besides it is the parents responsibility to monitor what there children have access to.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Why not study: evil mass killers? I'm no historian, but most of them weren't playing Bulletstorm...

hunter8man
hunter8man

I guess the fact that a game that's rated 17 and up, numerous warnings about the content in the game, and the fact that consoles have an age restriction lock that can be activated on it just aren't enough to keep our poor kids from seeing such violent depictions. Quit wasting taxpayer money on this crap just so you can get the same damn results that thousands of similar studies have already shown.

AceCometh
AceCometh

As long as he's willing to include TV shows, movies, music, comic books, manga and every single other types of media in all their varied forms.

 

Or he could propose to study how a lack of a parent's involvement in their upbringing affect children. That makes a lot more sense!

GSuser10
GSuser10

Huh..this sounds familiar..that's because this same subject came up a couple of years a go but it was about GTA and it had to deal with California wanting to ban violent games or something..which of course was shot down.

sword-man
sword-man

number of  people i killed in  video games since i was child: 9347249

 

number of people i killed in real life since i was a child: 0

 

i think video games did not affect me.

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

That's great senator,  and i'm with you...but before i sworn eternal loyaltyto you...i must ask, how is the bill to study violence in movies and books doing? yeap, that's why i thought.

dragonherderx
dragonherderx

Waste of time and tax payer money for something that has been done to death already. We all know its a scapegoat so just drop the shit already

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

Bitch please. American politicians don't act all innocent.You killed more innocent people indirectly that shooters in your country.Go stop the war if you are really concerned about human lives.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Why should parent's get the blame for buying violent video games. Some of you are funny saying that video games that are violent are not affecting the children but the parents should get the blame for buying them violent video games... ummm... O_o.. wait so if parents should get the blame for buying violent video games for their children basically you are agreeing that these violent games are having a affect on children. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

We've already studied them.  Credible studies show there is no link.

tgwolf
tgwolf

Now would be a REALLY GOOD TIME for developers to consider taming their M-rated games WAYYYYYY BACK and for gamers to SERIOUSLY reconsider their despicable preference for M-content...YOU THINK??? This is only the beginning, if they took away Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion, and are after Second Amendment Rights, WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK THEY WILL DO TO YOUR M-CONTENT FIX?? You know that as well as I do...

rey2
rey2

It's already been done countless times in the past.  Video games, violent or not relieves stress.  These ass clowns are just looking for a fault to put the blame on video games trying to find any minor loophole because of the recent tragedy.  It's like a cycle repeating itself over and over.  Like pop, jazz, rock, heavy metal, booze, movies, and video games.  I'll bet you these politicians will steer clear of the issue come election time and come back at it again at some point if they get re-elected once the scenario repeats itself. 

TTFDYLLC
TTFDYLLC

the super wealthy owners of america including ROCKAFELLA, ROTHSCHILDS, MEDIA CORPORATIONS AND OTHER GIANT BUSINESS OWNERS are all banding together as they have done for years in pursuit of a common interest to make themselves more rich and get less trouble from the slaves AKA you and me. this time they want all the guns back (that they made billions from selling to you) so you cant defend yourself against the government that the own when they turn the country into a slave camp( they are really close now guys just a little further) then they want you to think non violent thoughts by taking away all violent media forms. and then they will make you placcid as a baby lamb with drugs you dont even know your taking. then when all your rights which you have not many of at this moment will vanish before your eyes and by the time THE GENERAL POPULATION OF IGNORANT MORONS realises..........IT WILL BE TOO LATE. Take an interest in whats really happening in your country people it affects everybody.

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

if video games create psychopaths then spoons make people fat, guns walk around and kill people, cars create car accidents and beer makes you drive drunk.

tgwolf
tgwolf

THERE'S NO ROCKEFELLER ANYWHERE that has any business seeing the light of day much less studying games...charlatan creep!

ArticRecon
ArticRecon

Everybody wants to assign a reason to the incident.  There is no reason other than he was mentally unstable and had a parent who was too stupid to lock up her weapons.  Better ban Mario..  stomping those mushrooms is pretty violent.  I remember in the 90s when Mortal Kombat was the target of  violent video game controversy.  It was stupid then and it's stupid now.  One day our lawmakers will be our generation and will "get it" and this will all be over.  The day we have a Prez who is a FPS fan will be a great day for gamers.  lol

hippontherun
hippontherun

Lol, this guy.. what a noob. 'nuff said.

ceromaster
ceromaster

Lol at the pple who think violent video games are a problem. And I miss the days when parents were responsible for raising children, not: videogames, movies, tv, books, etc. 

 

The pple who agree with all this scapegoating BS are just plain stupid, srry if I offend anyone..

Homeless-_-
Homeless-_-

This is getting boring, this need to always justify someone else's homicidal/suicidal tendencies by blaming something completely irrelevant to the cause which is video games in the case. If the person had mental issues and if that person could without problems buy weapons and ammo legally, then surely it must be video games fault because he went on a killing spree. Sounds legit.

botsio
botsio

old school !old school!there is no link men!stop pointing accusing fingers at the games industry!its a societal issue!its the gun culture that Americans so much crave for that should be dealt with!stop blaming the games industry for ur societal woes!what about the movies huh!the NRA!they sell the guns don't they!how much in depth education do they offer their consumers!

alrepairs
alrepairs

You guys, STILL, are missing the point.

 

it isn't a MENTAL PROBLEM that caused the issue, either.  It's the LACK OF TREATMENT toward the mental problem.

 

The guy had a mental illness he had no control over.  The mother, did NOTHING after being warned by doctors to admit him into a ward, for treatment.

 

It is HER fault, despite how bad idiots attempt to doll up her actions.  Who the fuck takes their mentally ill and "Threat to Society" child (She posted on some blog) to GUN RANGES for daily practicing?  Seriously, WHO?

 

Fuck that.  Parent's are the SOLE blamers for this type of unfortunance.

G_Maff
G_Maff

Here we go again. Why can't crazy just be called crazy instead of looking for something else to blame?

pachai1994
pachai1994

everyone should check out this video it totally destroys any idea that video games cause people to be violent in the real world then share it with others so that people can get their heads out of their asses 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GMD9xBguz8

Verhoven
Verhoven

Waste of money= pork! Can't they think of another bogeyman? I've been playing games that are not printable for the general public and still haven't turned into a psycho/murderer/stalker...........

Elaisse
Elaisse

Nobody understands psychology so its much easier to blame something they can wrap their small minds around.

isshiah
isshiah

 @DiscGuru101  julius caesar grew up playing call of duty.  leonardo da vinci didn't.guess which one got assassinated?

96augment
96augment

 @SIDEFX1 People are saying that it didn't affect them when they were kids. Obviously, some kids would be affected and shouldn't have violent video games. But some parents just don't care enough to read the ratings.

iminsanescott
iminsanescott

 @Thanatos2k the link will be made up and will open a way to make another profit.

that small lnk in the food chain. be it good or bad.

96augment
96augment

 @tgwolf  No one is seriously thinking about taking away anyone's freedom of speech, religion, or to bear arms.

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @tgwolf Next they took away the right of owning a gun, and introduce the bill of indefinite detention without trail, they can arrest you and locked you up indefinitely without the need to be bogged down by your lawyer!

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @TTFDYLLC They just signed a brand new bill known as: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012

 

On paper, it look like it was set up to keep you safe, in truth it was intended to keep you locked up without being bogged down by lawyers and you will have the right to remain silent. No voicing out, no objection. Submit your freedom to the authority. 

 

And tell yourself: "That EVERYTHING is GOING TO ALRIGHT!"

TTFDYLLC
TTFDYLLC

 @Homeless-_-

 The government AKA rockafellas, rothschilds, etc want a population of unarmed flaccid impotent slaves that can make them money and dont cause trouble. END OF STORY. THEY DONT CARE ABOUT ABOUT ANYONES SAFETY AT ALL. sad part is most people wont realise this until it is too late.

ArticRecon
ArticRecon

 @G_Maff  b/c it's uncomfortable and the world wants something to point a finger at to resolve their anger and outrage through.  I think it's a psychological thing with those who are finger pointing every which direction.