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.

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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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