Wednesday, January 14th 2009

Rep. Baca Introduces Legislation to Make Violent Video Games Sold With Health Warning

Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation that mandates all video games with an Electronics Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating of Teen (T) or higher be sold with a health warning label. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which forces games with a T rating or higher to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

“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,” said Rep. Baca. “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.”

Rep. Baca has been a lead advocate in Congress on the issues of violence and sex in the media. In particular, he has been very active in ensuring the video game industry accurately details the content of its games to parents and consumers. Recent scientific studies from the Pediatrics Journal, University of Indiana, University of Missouri, and Michigan State University all point to a neurological link between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers.

“We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play,” concluded Rep. Baca. “I am proud to introduce the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009, and am hopeful my legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth.”Source: House.gov
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91 Comments on Rep. Baca Introduces Legislation to Make Violent Video Games Sold With Health Warning

#1
Triprift
Lol i call bs on this one the usual any voilence in kids blame video games so were going to get a ala ciggerate pack warning on are games lame.

Baca sounds like the US version of Michael Atkinson here in Oz if these guys had there way the only games we would be playing is lame kid ones news flash guys alot of us gamers are adults and should be able to play whatever we choose.
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#2
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
Well this means now games can't be held responsible for when people go shoot up a place and say they were influenced by flight simulator X or whatever.
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#3
Zehnsucht
“WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”
Wow, I'd like to see that report.

But this is to be expected in the US anyway. The US trust people enough to carry guns, but do not consider them grown up enough to differentiate reality from fiction. :/

Guns don't kill people, people kills people eh?
Well, neither does games. Or music. Or movies for that matter.
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#4

by: DrPepper
Well this means now games can't be held responsible for when people go shoot up a place and say they were influenced by flight simulator X or whatever.
Couldnt agree more - this could be a good thing for gaming.
#5
Sapientwolf
This is going to be difficult to get passed. I just did a 10 page research paper on exposure to violent media for my college English course and out of all the research I looked at never gave a credible link between violence exposure and aggressive behavior. There is a lot of priming research that says violent media primes us to give higher considerations to violent behavior, but the motive has to pre-exist (you decide you're going to kill someone before you decide you're going to gun them down like you saw in that videogame.)

They've linked violent media exposure to more violent and aggressive thoughts, but never to violent behavior, this is usually assumed. It most cases it's a mixed bag of socioeconomic issues and mental health. I do agree that parents should be aware of what their kids are playing and choose if they are mature enough to handle the content but we can't be spreading unproven links.

If they wanted to pass a law that made the ESRB rating and contents description take up half of the front cover I wouldn't mind at all.
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#6
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
What "research?"

I just ran into this article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16099971/

The first game was the high-octane but non-violent racing game “Need for Speed: Underground.” The other was the ultra-violent first-person shooter “Medal of Honor: Frontline.”

The team divided a group of 44 adolescents into two groups, and randomly assigned the kids to play one of the two games. Immediately after the play sessions, the children were given MRIs of their brains.

The scans showed a negative effect on the brains of the teens who played “Medal of Honor” for 30 minutes. That same effect was not present in the kids who played “Need for Speed.”

The only difference? Violent content.
My conclusion: these people don't understand games nor gamers. Take, for instance, the fact that Undercover is a horrible game where you are a car compared to MoH where you are a virtual human being. Naturally, an FPS is going to incite primal instincts of the brain while being a car won't. This isn't rocket science.

I'm beginning to believe that most adults that don't play games simply hold a grudge against it. They will try to find any damn thing that they can shake a finger at that says "this MUST be making children violent." Frankly, I'm getting sick of it. If game violence makes people violent, then why are all these politicians with a grudge against gaming still alive? Hmmm........


Oh, and please, violence in games is no worse than watching a movie. If they are going to stick thorough labels on games than no other display of violence should be excluded (including films, television, cable networks, etc.). Maybe that consideration would make them realize how nearsighted they are being.
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#7
alexp999
Staff
According to some of the sites I was looking at in doing this post, it seems Baca has a bit of a vendetta against video games, he has been trying for years to pin something on them. Does this look like the sort of man that has tried video games and knows what would be best? :rolleyes:

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#8
95Viper
I have to laugh at the ignorance of politicians.

The news gets me, in that, they show some idiot doing something stupid or just wrong and the next night you have some copycat.

They need the label.

Politicians need a label, too. " If you put me in office I may do illegal things and try to get un-needed legislation passed to complicate, and make, your live, a pain in the a**."

We don't need our games legislated by government!
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#9
Triprift
Lol no he doesnt Michael Atkinson is pretty much the same and is the one who is making it that so many games here in Oz are getting banned and have to be re done so they can get classification. looks like both of them have a vendetta against all bar sport and kids games.
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#10
alexp999
Staff
It may be a bit of a nanny state here in the UK, with all our Health and Safety BS, but at least we dont (yet) have any problems of games being banned.

Mind you I think everyone is in agreement, that what with the internet, if you want to play a banned game, you will, lol.
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#11
TheMailMan78
Big Member
He's not American. He's from California. Those people aren't from Earth.

Anyway I hope they do this. I would love to put this warning on the side of my rig :laugh:
Also they need to put a warning on porn sites. "“WARNING: Excessive exposure to pornography and other erotic media has been linked to aggressive fapping and pelvic damage.”
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#12

by: alexp999
It may be a bit of a nanny state here in the UK, with all our Health and Safety BS, but at least we dont (yet) have any problems of games being banned.

Mind you I think everyone is in agreement, that what with the internet, if you want to play a banned game, you will, lol.
wasnt manhunt banned in the UK for some time?
#13
The Witcher
I'm sick of this, I really want to bitch slap these ignorant people who blame games because their children go and beat up other people or shoot them.

If they can't teach their children good manners and whats right and wrong then I guess its their problem not the games industry.

dumb politicians, they try to accuse games because they want the public to support them, they really don't care if the whole world died.

Like Zehnsucht said, Guns don't kill people, people kills people and the same goes with games.
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#14
alexp999
Staff
by: kyle2020
wasnt manhunt banned in the UK for some time?
Main thing was, for some time. They listened to the public and lifted then ban.
I think remaking a game is stupid, like what some games companies have to do to get australian classification.

Has their ever been a film that never made it to classification? wtf is the differnce?
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#15
Triprift
Postals a good one you can be jailed in this country for having a copy of it.
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#16
Random Murderer
The Anti-Midas
can you say "jack thompson?"
looks like i have another name for my s**t-list.

violent video games being linked to aggressive behavior is only half of the story. it has also been proven that less than 15% of people who play violent video games have an aggression problem. this is just another example of idiot politicians blowing things way out of proportion.
and didn't the sims receive a t-rating? how is that violent? not all games rated t or higher are violent.
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#17
PVTCaboose1337
Graphical Hacker
This is a stupid problem they made up. People who go to war in RL should have an aggression problem more than people who stare at a monitor.
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#18
lemonadesoda
What on earth is all this whining about? They just put a label on it, a warning label.

You can still go out and buy the game. You can also choose not to read the label. What a lot of hot air about nothing.
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#19
pentastar111
Yeah, they need to pour themselves a big cup of shut-the-f$ck-up. What they should be doing is working on the economy, and not wasting time and money on stupid theories and lame brained ideas...f#cking USELESS a-holes...leave the parenting up to the parents, why is it everybody elses responsibility if little billy shit-for-brains is a violent piece of crap? Here's a novel idea! Why not blame the parents for their lack of parenting....hmmm...I've been playing "violent" games for years, and I have yet to walk a little old lady across the street only to mug and kill on the other side...RIDICULOUS!!!
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#20
Triprift
I thinks its to do with labelling gamers as potentially violent wich is total bull and the prob is that the general public is gullable and will believe anything elected officals and the media says.
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#21
Random Murderer
The Anti-Midas
by: Triprift
I thinks its to do with labelling gamers as potentially violent wich is total bull and the prob is that the general public is gullable and will believe anything elected officals and the media says.
i couldn't have said it better if i tried.
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#22
95Viper
by: lemonadesoda
What on earth is all this whining about? They just put a label on it, a warning label.

You can still go out and buy the game. You can also choose not to read the label. What a lot of hot air about nothing.
Label today, restrictions tomorrow, then BANNED!
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#23
newconroer
by: Triprift


Baca sounds like the US version of Michael Atkinson here in Oz if these guys had there way the only games we would be playing is lame kid ones news flash guys alot of us gamers are adults and should be able to play whatever we choose.
And we'd probably be a better world because of it. Video games do nothing to further humans in any positive way.

The problem with paralleling these warnings with cigarettes and such things, is that those products are used by adults, who make a conscious decision whether or not to engage or partake; unlike the games which are played by children. In today's world with an ever increasing worry of money and finances, resulting in two working parents, and 'lax' baby-sitters, it's a bit more difficult for parents to manage.

It's a two part process really. Parents need to get back to old-school discipline regiments, and businesses need to be held accountable for their moral influence over society.

We advance technologically one step, and yet we regress morally three steps.
It's not a coincidence.

Needless to say, I'd much rather see warning labels, pictures and etc. on video games, than on tobacco products.
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#24
alexp999
Staff
by: Triprift
I thinks its to do with labelling gamers as potentially violent wich is total bull and the prob is that the general public is gullable and will believe anything elected officals and the media says.
by: 95Viper
Label today, restrictions tomorrow, then BANNED!
My thoughts exactly.
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#25
95Viper
I do not play video games to further myself. I play video games for relaxation and enjoyment.

My wife got me Crysis and warhead for Christmas and she got carded. She is way over 21. So the rating system works, no need for more crummy, useless legislation.

My son played and loved, and still does, so called violent video games; he is a CSI in Texas and got his Dive Master at age 16 (one of a very few). Yes, parents need to raise their children, the goverment doesn't.

Sorry, my aggressive tendencies have come out, I guess the games I play caused this...:)
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