Joe Baca, a Democratic congressman from California, has proposed that any video game with a rating of T or higher should be labeled with “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.” He claims that the video game industry needs to take responsibility in telling parents about the potential dangers that violent video games have on children. Last week I did an article about how games are rated. Is this again something that the video game industry should take charge of, or is it the parent’s responsibility to watch what their kids are playing?
Health warning labels come on packs of cigarettes or alcohol. In other words: drugs. Has video game violence really become equated with the damaging affects of drugs? According to CNN Health, a study was done that did actually show that children who played violent video games expressed more violent behavior later on in life compared to children who did not play video games. While I don’t question the results, I do question as to why kids aged 9 to 12 are playing violent (more than likely M-Rated) games to begin with? Also, does the amount of violent behavior really compare to the affect of drugs?
I don’t doubt that violent video games affect children in some way. I don’t believe that just because they play video games, they are going to go join a gang or be a juvenile delinquent. There are so many factors that really play into a child’s behavior. For example, maybe the type of parent who allows a child to play violent video games to begin with isn’t that great of a parent. Maybe they don’t spend a lot of time with their kids, and instead give them video games to pass the time. Parenting wildly contributes to how a child behaves. This study doesn’t seem to take parenting into account whatsoever.
Going back to the legislation, I find it completely unnecessary to label video games with a health warning. I highly doubt it would make a bit of difference especially if the “M” or “T” rating doesn’t affect parents to begin with. It is completely the parent’s responsibility to take a look at the back of the game or do a little research. Kids usually know what game they want to buy before they go into the store, and if they don’t, parents should make sure it falls within their age range.
See more information about the proposal here.