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Warning Label Proposed For Violent Video Games, Internet Rolls Its Collective Eyes

joe baca.jpg

In a move that bears all the hallmarks of a man with entirely too much time on his hands, Congressman Joe Baca of California has proposed "The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011." The bill would require a warning label on violent video games that reads: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior." Gamespy notes that Baca proposed the same bill in 2009, as well as the "Children Protection from Video Game Violence and Sexual Content Act," which would have called for a review of the ESRB rating system by the Federal Trade Commission, as well as governmental inquiry into the effects of violent video games on children and young adults within 180 days of the bill's passage. Neither of them found much support, and aptly died with a soft whimper of irrelevance in Committee.

One might find the faintest flicker of a coherent argument to be made in favor of such a measure, insofar as one could conceive that while video games are not dangerous in and of themselves (though that's not the message that comes across in Baca's bill), put in the hands of genuinely disturbed children and adolescents, they could serve as a catalyst for anti-social behavior. Then again, the same argument could be made for television, guns, alcohol, etc, never mind the fact that with any slight degree of determination, kids will be able to get hold of these forbidden fruits whether their parents know it or not. Moreover, if your child finds fantasy bleeding over into reality, as is apparently wont to happen in the case of exposure to violent games, one might venture a guess that he has problems that run a bit deeper than his love of GTA IV -- and if this has somehow gone over your head, chances are you're simply a lousy parent. There, i've said it. Rather than using violent video games as a convenient scapegoat, Congressman Baca should be looking at the broader picture of mental unrest in adolescents. It won't score quite as many political points among the "nanny state" crowd, but it does have the benefit of making you look like an intelligent adult.

6 Comments

Postal said:

Don't these people have anything better to do? I think a few politicians are really foolish enough to believe this accomplishes something. But most understand that the public is so pig ignorant that meaningless and entirely symbolic legislation is a great way to advance their careers and pad their legislative resumes. Why oh why can't I live on a smarter planet?

SecretMoblin said:

Like many things (in my opinion, of course), sometimes the best thing a government can do is get out of the way to let people and industries flourish organically.

Thankfully this bill won't get anywhere, like other federal legislative efforts in the past few years. And with the Supreme Court likely to deal a blow to state efforts to regulate the industry, I'm fairly optimistic about the future. Once the law starts treating games as the artistic, creative medium they are, there's a lot the gaming community can do to mature on its own terms; of course, gamers would do well to educate and inform themselves, lest any gains we've made become futile.

someone should make a Hogan's Alley light gun game with these politicians and congressmen in it. They pop up on the screen, you shoot, you score points. But of course this is all training for when we go out with real guns and go for the kill :D

Oh and don't for one minute think these guys as stupid. They more than likely know that there is little to NO link between violence and violent media. But its a way of preying on the fears of the idiotic general public to score votes. So don't blame Joe Baca for his fear mongering schemes, blame the idiots that voted him into that position in the first place :)

Matt Munson said:

He is my congressman :( I am ashamed to claim him as my representative.

Sadly his challenger was a far right tea party person and I had to plug my nose to vote for that guy.

Super Swede said:

@matt munson
Well i commend you for keeping a 'Bagger out of Congress.
Seriously, thank you a thousand times over for that. We in Minnesota have Michelle Bachmann and her forty-seven kinds of crazy to deal with. And for the record, since she and our former governer )Tim Pawlenty) gone and sullied out collective reputation, Minnesota is at its core a very progressive state.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Super Swede on Warning Label Proposed For Violent Video Games, Internet Rolls Its Collective Eyes: @matt munson Well i commend you for keeping a 'Bagger out of Congress. Seriously, thank you a thousand times over...

Matt Munson on Warning Label Proposed For Violent Video Games, Internet Rolls Its Collective Eyes: He is my congressman :( I am ashamed to claim him as my representative. Sadly his challenger was a far...

JustTheTrick tm on Warning Label Proposed For Violent Video Games, Internet Rolls Its Collective Eyes: Oh and don't for one minute think these guys as stupid. They more than likely know that there is little...

JustTheTrick tm on Warning Label Proposed For Violent Video Games, Internet Rolls Its Collective Eyes: someone should make a Hogan's Alley light gun game with these politicians and congressmen in it. They pop up on...

SecretMoblin on Warning Label Proposed For Violent Video Games, Internet Rolls Its Collective Eyes: Like many things (in my opinion, of course), sometimes the best thing a government can do is get out of...

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