Baca Sponsors Bill Mandating Video Games be Sold with Warning Labels


By:  Joe Baca, Sr.
Date: March 19, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation that mandates all video games with an Electronics Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating of Everyone (E) or higher be sold with a health warning label. The Violence in Video Games Labeling Act creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which forces games with an "E", "E10+" (Everyone 10 and older), "T" (Teen) , "M" (Mature), or "A" (Adult) rating to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior."

"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," said Rep. Baca. "They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show that playing violent video games is a casual risk factor for a host of detrimental effects in both the short- and long-term, including increasing the likelihood of physically aggressive behavior. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products."

Rep. Baca has been a lead advocate in Congress on the issues of violence and sex in the media. In particular, he has been very active in ensuring the video game industry accurately details the content of its games to parents and consumers. Recent studies from the Pediatrics Journal, the American Psychological Association, and the International Society for Research on Aggression University of Indiana all point to a link between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), another long time advocate on the issue of violence in the media, has joined with Rep. Baca as an original cosponsor of the Video Game Health Labeling Act.

"Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents -- and children -- about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior," Wolf said. "As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games."

"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," concluded Rep. Baca. "I am proud to introduce the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act, and am hopeful this legislation can work to stop the growing influence of harmful games on America's children and youth."

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