Congressmen Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) have introduced a lovely bill this week that would treat videogames like cigarettes, forcing them to carry warning labels. Should the bill become law, all games would have to carry the following warning:
WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.
Aside from the fact that it's just not true (there is still no conclusive link, and the tests performed to date have been sketchy at best), the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act seems like yet another wasteful endeavor to implement something that'll get shot down for being unconstitutional.
I'd love to see Baca and Wolf's evidence, though. They say it exists, but fail to provide any proof.
"Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents -- and children --about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior," claimed Wolf. "As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games."
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the kind of nonsense we pay old men to think about. Isn't it lovely?
Here's the entire bill (labeled H.R. 4204), in any case. What a crock of shit:
To require certain warning labels to be placed on video games that are given certain ratings due to violent content.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION REGULATION.
a) REGULATION.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the warning label described in subsection (b) to be placed on the packaging of any video game that is rated ‘‘E’’ (Everyone), ‘‘Everyone 10+’’ (Everyone 10 and older), ‘‘T’’ (Teen), ‘‘M’’ (Mature), or ‘‘A’’ (Adult) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.
(b) WARNING LABEL CONTENT.—The warning label required under a regulation issued under subsection (a) shall be placed in a clear and conspicuous location on the packaging of the applicable video game and shall state: ‘‘WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.’’.
(c) VIDEO GAME DEFINED.—As used in this Act, the term ‘‘video game’’ means any product, whether distributed electronically or through a tangible device, consisting of data, programs, routines, instructions, applications, symbolic languages, or similar electronic information (collectively referred to as ‘‘software’’) that controls the operation of a computer or telecommunication device and that enables a user to interact with a computer controlled virtual environment for entertainment purposes.