The Entertainment Consumers Association has issued an action alert for its members asking them to contact Congress in order to oppose a recent bill that would authorize the National Academy of Sciences to study whether “exposure to violent video games and video programming” has a harmful effect on “children.” This bill is in response to a White house proposal in the wake of the Sandy hook school shooting last year and is part of a larger agenda by the White House.
The ECa takes issue with the proposal on a number of fronts. The first being the bill’s primary backer Senator Rockefeller.
The ECA has numerous concerns about this and feels that this is a distraction to finding the real cause of these events. Senator Rockefeller himself, who has championed this legislation, has, on the record, stated that he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision that video games are protected free speech. In his remarks on the floor of the US Senate, he said:
“Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons.”
With all due respect Senator, the highest court of the land has reviewed the scientific research and concluded that video games do not cause violence. The non-scientific personal opinion of the Senator should not get to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.
Other concerns being that the proposal ignores existing research on the positive influence of video games and that this study may induce further power grabs by federal agencies. You can read the full statement at the action page.
As game developers, we have a strong interest in the movements of elected officials when it comes to gaming. Studies such as those proposed above can have a direct effect on our business, especially if they result in efforts to regulate the games industry and the games it produces. While the ECA is primarily a consumer organization, its many interests effect game developers both individually as gamers but also collectively.
Disclosure: I am a member of the ECA and a contributor to ECA publication Game Politics.