Warning: violent video games cause aggressive behaviour, claims bill
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 11:55 AM
A bill has been submitted to the House of Representatives in the US calling for warning labels to be placed on video games.
Representatives Joe Baca and Frank Wolf want their warning to be placed on the packaging of any video game that is rated 'T' (Teen) or higher by the Electronics Software Ratings Board.
The label would read: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behaviour."
Mr Baca told The Hill that the video game industry had failed in its responsibility to parents.
His colleague Mr Wolf added: "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 behaviour."
He is referring to studies such as the one conducted by associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri Dr Bruce Bartholow and published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
"A single exposure to a violent video game won't turn someone into a mass murderer," Dr Bartholow told CBS News.
"But if someone has repeatedly exposed themselves, these kinds of effects in the short term can turn into long-term changes."
This new bill follows one sponsored by Oklahoma state representative William Fourkiller, who wanted to impose a one per cent sales tax on games rated 'teen' or above.
It was thrown out by a narrow margin of five to six.
Yesterday (March 20th), the Sun newspaper claimed that war games like 'Call of Duty' were being used by terrorists.
In the past, violent video games have been blamed for several real-life incidents including the murder of a teenager in Leicester and the Norway shootings conducted by Anders Breivik.
However, in an essay for PBS, MIT professor Henry Jenkins said: "The overwhelming majority of kids who play do not commit antisocial acts.
"The strongest risk factors for school shootings centred on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure."