US politicians demand health warnings on games

All T and M rated titles in the region could carry a warning about their supposed psychological harm

US congressman, Joe Baca, a representative for the Democrats, has proposed legislation that would see videogames carry a health warning label similar to that of cigarettes and alcohol.

If the Videogame Health Labeling Act of 2009, co-sponsored by Republican Frank R. Wolf, were to pass all T and M rated games would carry a label which would read: 'Warning: Excessive exposure to violent videogames and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behaviour.'

"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products," Baca said.

"They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products."

Baca cites studies from the Pediatrics Journal, University of Indiana, University of Missouri, and Michigan State University as proof there is a "neurological link" between playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour in children and teenagers.

"We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play," Baca added.

"I am proud to introduce the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009, and am hopeful my legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America's children and youth."

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Latest comments (7)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
The volume of colorful adjectives that come to mind regarding this legislation is astounding.

There does not exist a well respected research firm that has linked violent and aggressive behavior to the act of playing violent video games. What those less than respectable research firms have detected is simply the logical circumstance of people with natural aggressive and violent tendencies enjoy video games of the same nature and thus are not the cause but merely an outlet.

Silly self motivated politico hoping to score one with pacifists for reelection. All we need is for Jack Thompson to support the bill which is now a guaranteed ticket to failure.
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Exactly. The causality has never been established.

Full-retard politicians.
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Alexander Cederholm Editor-in-Chief, GAMEcore.se12 years ago
What Jimmy said. He took the words out of my mouth.
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What happened to an era where good ole common sense prevails.

Let us say, that this filmsy excuse of extra worded legislation does manage to pass, and appears on a game box. It does not prevent a participant from being more docile or aggressive than before. You do not see a warning label on cars, or other forms of transport, stating - by driving, you may be prone to tendencies of wilful and unexplained bouts of roadrage or speeding, thus leading to horrific accidents and can be very very dangerous.

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
Ironically, most of the instruments of death themselves do not come with warning labels.

Where on the gun itself is a warning of the dangers it imposes?
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There is a book that looks into this:

Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do (Hardcover)
by Lawrence Kutner

[link url=

Most boys do play video games, especially mature-rated games not to train to become psychopathic killers but often to test boundaries and to experiment safely with risky behavior. Many use games to develop social skills, release stress and relax. Kutner and Olson advise parents to be involved with their kids' game playing, just as they should be with their other activities. While not profound, the authors, in a calm, evenhanded approach to a problem many parents find frustratingly difficult, address many social fears and make them less scary.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
What bothers me is the simple fact that these fears would be alleviated if the parents themselves would just be more involved (as you noted in the book) and/or if the media would stop looking for scapegoats and headlines that have tempered this irrational fear and perception.

Parents have only become fearful because the media and Mr. Jack Thompson have told them to be.
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