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Children and Media Research Advancement Act update proposed

Particularly significant in light of the current debate over videogame violence, the CAMRA act now has a counterpart bill which has been introduced to the House of Representatives for consideration.

A counterpart to the Children and Media Research Advancement act has been introduced to the US House of Representatives for consideration this week, in a move which is particularly significant in light of the current debate over videogame violence,.

Although in a very early form which has yet to be voted on in any way, the new legislation, a counterpart to the CAMRA act introduced in 2004 by, amongst others, Hillary Clinton, seeks to fund a dedicated study into the effects of media on children. If passed, the centre would come under the guidance of the Centre for Disease Control.

Essentially, the new bill is an attempt to use CAMRA funded research and study in a more unified, collaborative fashion; tying together research and study programs currently undertaken by several different government offices to more accurately determine the true effects of media (including television, movies, and videogames) on children.

Harold Ford, one of four representatives who have put forward the updated bill, commented: "This funding will help us better understand the effects images of violence and sex have on the shaping of our children's development. The media, in all its forms, is a powerful and necessary force in our society. Passage of this legislation will be viewed as a victory for children, parents and the media."

Recent studies revealed by the Entertainment Software Association have all concluded that violence in videogames has no discernible negative psychological effects on children or adolescents, and several studies found distinct benefits to playing videogames. However, the debate continues both in the media and political arenas, and the revision to the CAMRA act could actually produce positive results if the more wide-ranging studies, and their findings, were more centrally accessible and the results compared in context.

Pennsylvania representative, Melissa Hart, stated: "The advent of new technologies, such as cell phones, video games and audio playback devices present new and wide-ranging challenges in understanding how different forms of media influence our children. This legislation will provide a more complete picture and allow us to draw from comprehensive research as we try to understand both the positive and negative impact media is having on our children."

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Paul Loughrey

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