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.

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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.
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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