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Games Government Entertainment Politics

Congressman Wants Health Warnings On Video Games 421

An anonymous reader writes "California Rep. Joe Baca has proposed a bill which would mandate placing health warning labels on any video game rated T (13+) or higher by the ESRB. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 would require a cigarette pack-like label that reads, 'WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.'"
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Congressman Wants Health Warnings On Video Games

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  • Citation needed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WCguru42 ( 1268530 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @07:36PM (#26424729)
    I haven't followed the research enough so I could be completely wrong but isn't the reason why cigarettes can have the Surgeon General's health warning on them because the statement has been clinically proven. Has there been any consensus on video game violence and violence in teens.
  • "and other media" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by svnt ( 697929 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @07:49PM (#26424927)


    I especially like the part where R-rated movies were included in the bill based on the conclusions of similar dubious studies. Oh, wait, they weren't. Wonder why that is?

  • Re:face. palm. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @08:28PM (#26425443)

    Just when I thought maybe elected officials could earn some modicum of respect. Well done, Joe.

    I don't really care how they make the package look so long as they still let me buy it. Thats my concern. I don't think its quite a slippery-slope argument to say that this type of action may lead to bans or restrictions in the future. And that would suck... I like my freedom.

  • video game violence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KrayzieKyd ( 906704 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @08:35PM (#26425507)
    I just wrote an exhaustive essay on the so-called effects of video game violence. I'm really looking forward to any feedback you may have about it. For the record, I'm on the side of video games. http://www.digital-us.org/video-games/2008/11/27/violent-video-games.html [digital-us.org]
  • Re:No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @09:00PM (#26425797)

    "Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior"

    Except that it hasn't been.

    Your post including the words 'violent media' reminds me that if they will go this far, they ought remember to make all the major news organizations do it as well. Not that there aren't stories otherwise, but pretty much all I (and most people) see on the news is violence.

  • Re:Label the kids? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @10:54PM (#26427047) Homepage Journal

    While there are many things I'd hold a parent responsible for, unfortunately we haven't identified the parenting method that leads to school shootings.

    Until we have done so and teach the avoidance measures necessary, I find it premature to hold parents responsible when a child goes off the deep end that far.

    Much like straight suicide, often these kids are already receiving professional help; but again sometimes like suicide there's no obvious sign they're going to commit a spree killing before they do so and the 20/20 hindsight investigation happens.

    For example, I've long had an arsenal 'under my bed', but despite my profession I've never shot anybody. Yet on the news, obtaining of arms is considered one of the signs. The possession was also considered a risk factor for suicide in one of the anti-suicide classes I attended. My response was 'A gun is a vector, a tool, of suicide, not a risk. You might as well check to see if somebody owns rope, a knife, or has sleeping pills.

    I blame the rise of spree killings on a number of factors - first is that we've gone from local reporting to national, even world reporting. How many incidents would have been reported in the 1950s? Consider that school shootings are not even an annual event, and back then we had half the population. Second would be opportunity. It was much rarer to have access to a completely disarmed target area back then. For example, a school shooting DID occur - in 1956, by Charles Whitman [wikipedia.org]. He killed 14, wounded 32. He faced suppressive fire from civilians, forcing him to keep his head down, limiting his opportunities to kill more. How much worse could he have been if he'd attempted that at Virginia Tech, in the year 2007? After all, Whitman was a trained marine. Third would be the possible link to prescribed anti-depressants. Whitman had some sort of brain tumor.

    Finally, I'll end with the note that despite our violent movies and violent video games, that most violent offenders don't play video games, and the rate of violent crime in minors has been dropping.

  • Re:face. palm. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Meski ( 774546 ) <meski,oz&gmail,com> on Monday January 12, 2009 @11:50PM (#26427555)
    'WARNING: Excessive exposure to politics and the media has been linked to mental disease.'
  • Re:face. palm. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by arikol ( 728226 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @05:24AM (#26429927) Journal
    To begin: I am against banning things. At least banning people from doing something to themselves. I don't smoke (except 2-3 good cigars per year) and I understand the risks of most things I do. Your claim that the danger of second hand smoke have been exaggerated are however probably untrue. The latest research actually seems to suggest that the dangers are way underestimated. That's based on some pretty big datasets from places where smoking in public has been banned for some time now. Even better datasets will be available in 5 to 10 years. It's especially the risk of heart problems that seem to have been underestimated.
  • by Loundry ( 4143 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:21AM (#26431561) Journal

    Following the little warning, it should read, Warning: this link has been established with biased experiments and insufficient data, as well as lack of scientific analysis. Experiments have pointed both ways (yet we have cherry picked this one) and to this day, many dolts firmly believe that correlation implies causation.

    You're obviously biased one way, and that's fine. Furthermore, it may be confusing cause and effect, something people haven't don't seem to have put much thought into. I have no doubt that psychopaths will enjoy violent video games.

    That said, can you cite the studies you reference? I'm very curious.

  • Re:face. palm. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @11:23AM (#26433509) Homepage Journal

    The median IQ is 100. There are over 400 congressmen, is it any wonder that half of them are dumb as boxes of rocks?

    Note this dimwit merely wants warnings. Its legislation hasn't been passed, and I doubt it will, considering that no study has ever showed what this idiot congressman thinks.

    Do we have the new Jack Thompson here? people in California, please get rid of this retard next election!

  • by Hojima ( 1228978 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:09PM (#26440941)

    I don't think that your child should play GTA. In my initial post, I was clear to state a young enough child will simply imitate what is done on the video game. What I am saying is that in my view (as a student in progress to becoming a scientist), the results are inconclusive as to whether or not aggressive behavior can stem from violent video games. I have yet to see a decent controlled experiment that has lasted up to a year (though in my opinion it should last decades to be 100% conclusive) that has many different conditions to rule out any other factor (as well as a control) that hands down points in one direction. To be fair, I haven't looked, but my psychology teacher (who agrees with me) keeps me posted on these kinds of things, and brings up interesting experiments quite frequently into conversations. I'll make sure to inquire if anything new has come up, but I doubt it. Either way, we are not at a point where we can start allocating tax dollars on this crap. Also, we're not at the point where we should be sewing companies based on this (my main source of anger at these experiments), especially not when it is the responsibility of parents to control what influences their children, and I think we can both agree on this.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie