Violent game bill lives on

West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller reintroduces bill to Congress calling for study into impact of violent games on children.

A bill calling for research into the effects of violent games on children will live on. Democratic West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller reintroduced the bill to Congress this week, after it originally expired at the end of the 112th Congress last month.

Rockefeller at an unrelated hearing.

First introduced last month just days after the December 14 schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the bill--S.134--would task the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the effects of violent video games and other programs on children.

"Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children," Rockefeller said at the time. "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 has four co-sponsors, including three republicans and one democrat. They are Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thomas Coburn (R-OK), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Mike Johanns (R-NE). The potential legislation has been referred to the Senate's Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee, according to government documents.

According to public research firm GovTrack, the bill has a 13 percent chance of progressing past committee and a 2 percent chance of being enacted.

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

S.134 is not the only newly proposed legislative action targeting games in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. President Barack Obama recently introduced a $500 million, 23-point plan that called for the Centers for Disease Control to conduct further research into the relationship between violence in media and violence in the real world.

The Entertainment Software Association--which represents the gaming industry's interests in Washington, DC--has said it will cooperate with the Obama administration, but claimed scientific research has proven entertainment does not cause real-world violent behavior.

In addition, Republican Utah congressman Jim Matheson recently introduced a bill to the House that would make the Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings legally enforceable, with fines up to $5,000. The ESA called this legislation "flawed."

In state-level news, a Missouri representative has introduced a bill that aims to charge a 1 percent excise tax on all games sold inside the state rated T, M, or AO.

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Discussion

326 comments
Demsoul
Demsoul

Just a guy trying to pull the "look I tried to protect your kids". I guess the video game industry hasn't been paying off, oh sorry, "making campaign donations" to enough politicians.

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

What's ridiculous is that politicians keep rambling about how the game industry has a responsibility to protect our children. They owe fuck all to the public. Their only obligation is to their own respective companies. Capitalism and free speech, get used to it. It's a parent's responsibility to protect their own damn children. The game industry gave them the fucking tools to do so. In fact the game industry has the clearest and most comprehensive rating system out of all media. I also hate how everything they say is predicated on the idea that games are nothing more than a child's plaything. Throw them a copy of Heavy Rain or Spec Ops: the Line and see what they think after that.

G1Ga-B1T3
G1Ga-B1T3

The same Rockefeller who's family is responsible for a certain massacre that took place in the Mid West back in the day?

virti86
virti86

Maybe they should play video games and see how violent it makes them o_O 

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

As a gamer I am angry that our government is using my preferred hobby as a scapegoat in horrible tragedies instead of looking into real solutions to our epidemic of violence in this country.


As someone with a M.S. in biology I am angered that these idiot politicians would bastardize science by trying to the NAS to study anything.  The NAS is not some weapon in politicians' arsenal, it should not be directed by the hands of groups with a vested interest in the outcome, it ceases to be science.


As a citizen I am angered with how much time our elected officials waste on pointless bills for the sake of media attention and/or showing the rubes in their congressional district they are "doing something"

briggsy10
briggsy10

I despise the politicians blindly jumping on the bandwagon blaming video games - forever the easy scapegoat it seems - but I have absolutely nothing against impartial scientific research being carried out - in any area.

What bothers me is not only people blaming the games in general, but that the people doing the blaming seem to completely miss the point that kids aren't supposed to be playing violent games anyway - that's the point of the FCC/ESRB, and of course, parents. I don't think any adult gamer has any objections to actually enforcing the ratings in order to prevent children being exposed to violence too early, but we all seem to be portrayed as promoting that exact thing by the frankly idiotic political fanatics.


Introducing a measure that actually enforces ratings and certification as a legal system is a great idea even disregarding the games-guns argument. We've already established things like alcohol and cigarettes are unsuitable for youngsters, and while I don't believe for a second games cause real world violence, I do believe children shouldn't be exposed to "adult" content so easily. So why not treat movie/music/games certification the same way alcohol and cigarette laws are enforced? Makes sense.


For those who only see in black and white ("Getting rid of guns won't stop ALL gun crime, so why bother): Nothing I or anyone else have suggested ever will cut crime out completely, but it can potentially drastically reduce crime, and that's a hell of a lot better than doing nothing at all.


Oh, and one more thought - the constitution was signed hundreds of years ago by people who'd just fought a brutal war for independence against a powerful nation, using guns that fired 1 round per minute if you were particularly skilled, and would struggle to hit a barn door from 20 yards without training. Something tells me both the world, and the guns, have moved on a loooooooong way since then, so how about we grow up and come up with something valid for the society we actually live in, not the one that existed so many generations ago.

Claytonicus
Claytonicus

cont'd

A knife in the hands of someone who is mentally stable is exactly the same as a knife in the hands of someone who is mentally unstable. The only difference is how each person perceives what the knife is used for. I'm sure back in the day when Cain killed Abel, they didn't blame a rock for the crime.

Claytonicus
Claytonicus

It's simply about regulation, Period. The young mind is impressionable, it's true, but if you look at almost every single individual serial killer (based on the books i have read), or person involved in a massacre or murder, that person was either mentally imbalanced, a psychopath (for which their is no treatment, except pumping them full of anti-psychotic drugs), or in ALMOST ALL cases the subject of domestic violence as a child. What does this say to us? It says that people are very much influenced by their environment, an environment regulated by parental control and moral choice. Unfortunately, many people who are parents shouldn't be, because they simply don't care about the wellbeing and future prospects of their children. It is a scientific fact that people do not develop their full judgement and reasoning skills until they are 25 years of age, so if you don't place boundaries on what children can and can't do, it is a possiblility that your troubled child will make a poor judgement one day, and others will pay with their lives. People need to take responsibility for their actions, and people need to look to improving the way they raise their children, instead of blaming inanimate objects.

jark888
jark888

I bet less than 1% of people played violent games or watched violent medias had committed homicide.

Problem is at an individual mentality, not media.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

This man is an uneducated idiot, and needs to be recalled immediately.  Enforcing the ESRB would simply make parents go out and get the games for their kids, which would invalidate their argument - the parents let the kids play the games when the kids buy them, why wouldn't the parents buy the games and let them play them?  Seriously?  DUH.  Idiot.

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

games glorify guns? what about movies and tv shows? 

what about people who are just mentally sick and crazy enough to kill people? 

people have been killing others well before games were ever invented.

it never would have happen if they couldn't get a hold of a gun so easily

iHarlequin
iHarlequin

Why the hate from a lot of people? In my opinion, any solid research is a valid starting point for a hypothesis. If they believe violent video games can influence a person's actions or personality, they -SHOULD-  study it. And if it gives conclusive evidence that they are bad (I hope they aren't, as I enjoy video games as much as anyone else here), measures should be taken that they are allowed only to psychologically mature people (AKA most adults).

bksonic123
bksonic123

I remember watching a video by egorapter (Sequelitis - Mega Man) and he briefly explained how modern games tend to lean towards the more violent themes while at the same time keeping the gameplay simple and straight-forward that even a 4-year old could understand it.

Perhaps if games were made a lot less simple (for example, you're not constantly told how to crouch or your sidekick doesn't stop the gameplay to tell that you're low on hearts), then children will be less inclined to play these violent games.

Zoza24
Zoza24

The Rockefellers!?. The fuck?, these fucking Psychos are the money supperpowers, they decide what we can do with our money, Better yet you Americans better act fast about this.

Because when they overtake the gaming industry, its game fucking over, they will try to take over the gaming industry for their own benefits.. Understand this people, they are the biggest criminals in the world, including the Rothschild..

Allerletzt
Allerletzt

These people don't even take the time to educate themselves on the content they're condemning before they open their mouths about it. Instead of appearing ignorant and obviously talking about something you know nothing about you take some time to look into it because the second you start looking at games you start seeing ratings plastered all over the place for them.

Since when do games target kids as their audience? The only games I know of are KIDS GAMES every other game has commercials and trailers that are showcasing the game's content and trying to get you to buy it, they aren't targeting kids in the least. It's no worse than seeing a freaking commercial for McDonalds and saying it's targeting kids. It's like they're stuck in the mindset that games are a thing for kids...

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

Industries don't sell violent games to children dumbass. Parents buy the games and give them to their children. If you don't want your child to have these games... DON'T BUY IT FOR THEM! Plain and simple/ 

pidow
pidow

Republicans love to wipp a dead horse, how many times must these fools spend money that could go to jobs, education and food , not BS.  Put the blame on the mentally ill person with money that killed kids, not games.  I personally am sick and tired of hearing or reading about games as the problem.

Barrow754
Barrow754

Its the same argument all the time, protect the children. Has anyone pointed out that the children can't buy 18+ rated games? If you want to protect the children give up the gun culture. Americans will still kill each other with or without violent video games, you just need something to attack to take away notice from the main issue 

megakick
megakick

What about Violent television and movies?

Televsion OK?

Video Games NO?

touretul
touretul

I will always trust a Rockefeller's reasons. 

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

nothing to worry as long as the devs decide to Europe or Asia.still bad news for the american gamers.

Dazler1
Dazler1

im also gonna stock up on weapons just incase there is a zombie epedemic as the media says it could happen because it happens on video games so it must be true!

rad8045
rad8045

this is why idiots shouldn't breed, to busy worrying about there own lives too think about there childrens.

macca366
macca366

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


You idiot. The video game industry doesn't have a responsibility to protect children from mature content. Their products have ratings, with mature content legally only sold to adults. If those adults, namely parents, give children mature content, it is not the fault of the industry. Even if this - yet another - research venture into finding a casual role between video game and real life violence finds a significant connection, all it does is put more pressure on parents to better raise their children, i.e. buy g-rated games.

gamestx
gamestx

Parents are to blame. Be responsible for your kids and stop waiting for someone else to do parenting for you. Grow up lazy parents.

ajay1708
ajay1708

They need to find a way to keep violent games out the hands of children and that goes for teens too. It's really more of a parental issue, but like always society has to point the finger at something else in order to save face. Just as you can point the finger of increased violence on video gaming, the same can be said of music, movies, tv shows, the internet and entertainment as a whole. 

buccomatic
buccomatic

wheeew! fines up to $5,000...

looks like digital distribution/sales (only) will be here sooner than expected,

Sandro7
Sandro7

You know, games and movies has rating for reason... It isnt video games and movies problem if 5years old kid plays R or  M or 18+ game... After all, parents bought it

starduke
starduke

I can't wait until a gaming generation gets old enough to get into political office. Hopefully these old farts who've never played a video game in their life won't wreck things to much before they get there. The we'd have some old farts who actually know what they're talking about in office. Well, we can only hope they would.

Musicsvictim
Musicsvictim

OK, so the video game manufacturers have a responsibility to protect our children. This is based on the fact that because a killer plays a violent video game they want to do the same thing in real life. OK, let's roll with that. So why isn't it the weapons manufacturers responsibility to keep them safe? Who took responsibility for the fact that this person got hold of a gun in the first place? And finally why isn't it the responsibility of the media at large to help keep them safe? Who takes responsibility for every other violent form of media out there? Because I am almost 100% certain that violent video games haven't been around long enough to blame for every violent act committed by people.

JustAnExplosion
JustAnExplosion

I really wish someone from the ESRB would step up and make a public statement and bitch slap all these politicians and idiot parents with some common sense

endorbr
endorbr

This statement right here shows how out of touch these politicians are: "Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children." So that big M rating right on the front of the box means nothing then? Just because parents are buying the games for their kids despite the warning does not mean that the video game industry is marketing it to children.

nigelholden
nigelholden

@briggsy10 I have to agree on much of what you said.  When I worked at a video game store, I wouldn't sell M games to 10 year old kids unless their parents understood what they were buying.  Just seemed like common sense.  Personally, I'm all for more research.  In general, research is a good thing for any field or industry.  If more research and making sure M games aren't bought by 8 year old kids, I'm not sure I would protest too much, despite the obvious knee jerk panic by politicians more interested in making a name for themselves.  Censorship or adopting a strict system like Australia is an entirely different matter, and what I believe a lot of people fear.  

skelly1331
skelly1331

@iHarlequin I play violent games all the time but I think this is a good thing. The problem is that there are already measures in place to prevent kids from buying them but parents still do, and if there is a connection between video games and violence I think they might try to limit their sale to everyone. Although maybe if there is a link this will stop parents from buying them for kids.

I think violent games do seem like they'd be harmful to kids as they do glorify violence. I remember kids at my school would talk about shooting people and violence as cool and a good thing. It really shouldn't be viewed this way. As for desensitizing people to it, I don't know. I recently watched a real video of a guy getting his head sawed off and that really bothered me for days even though I watch a lot of violent movies and games. Kids might not be able to make this distinction between real life and games even if they think they can.

Syvarth
Syvarth

@iHarlequin I agree. Plus if it turns out that there is no link at all, it will push video games out of the blame firing line for good. 

platinumking320
platinumking320

@bksonic123 Exactly! Its not a problem with glorification, its a problem with oversimplification. Turns the game into a commerical. If you introduce hardship, and complexity, and force the player to think, then all the arguements of desentization fall to the wayside because the play becomes a learning experience in order to win. We had this in the 90s and turn of the 2ks. 'Commericialism in America' might be too wide to target, but its the problem with ALL of our modern entertainment.

jamieNERO
jamieNERO

@Barrow754 EXACTLY! Im sick of it. Its always what affects the minority and screw what the majority think and how they act. If there have been 6 incidents in the past year where video gamers are to 'blame' and those 6 individuals were affected, then yes, that is unfortunate but im sure the 6Billion people who pick up game pads every single day who are not affected out weigh the needs of this minority. Start pointing fingers and the parents buying 8 year olds call of duty and games like manhunt if at an impressionable age don't buy your kids voilent things....idiots

jamieNERO
jamieNERO

@gamefreak215jd Will make them even less money too....another 100 years of industry's leaving the states and it could find itself bankrupt

JustAnExplosion
JustAnExplosion

@endorbrHey Ill do whatever i got to do to remove all blame from myself and the poor decisions I've made raising a child am I right AM I RIGHT 


Lol im not a parent

Tzardok
Tzardok

@nigelholden @briggsy10 I enjoyed reading this, by far more interesting then what I have read recently. I also happen to agree with much you said, but not everything. I all for research, we can all benefit from knowledge. 

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

@iHarlequinBesides which, there is only a couple types of studies I could see them doing. The first of which would be a survey type study where one looks at how many violent criminals played violent video games and/or how many people that played violent video games have become violent criminals.  These sort of studies are often filled with bad science and statistics.  It is hard to eliminate or count for other factors such as parental upbringing, other forms of violent media consumed, etc...These types of studies at best can only show correlation, which does not show causation.  In other words they can show perhaps that violent people play violent videogames, however, that does not tell us whether the media causes violent tendencies, or the more likely scenario, violent minded people like violent media.  Politicians, and all liars really, love survey studies because the data is easy to manipulate based upon questions asked, sample size, and statistical analysis.The other type of study they could do would be to take brain scans of people as the play violent video games and see which areas of the brain activate during that activity.  However, we have yet to determine a "violence center" in the brain. 

Barrow754
Barrow754

@jamieNERO @Barrow754

This is just history repeating itself. In 1985 it was rock and heavy metal, now its games. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxB-ZePpS7E 

This not only points out how stupid the people running the country are (the only thing that has changed in last 28 years is the medium the government is attacking) but also shows how much of a genius Frank Zappa was 

skelly1331
skelly1331

@megakick @ajay1708 That's the problem... They need to prevent it but I don't know what they can do that they haven't already done other than preventing the sale of violent games to everyone.