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.