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Rockefeller Reintroduces Bill to Study Impact of Violent Content on Kids

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today reintroduced his bill, the Violent Content Research Act of 2013, which would instruct the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent content, including video games and video programming, on children. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).

"I'm reintroducing my bill to study the effect that violence in media and video games has on our children's well-being because Congress should do everything we can to address gun violence," said Chairman Rockefeller. "We need comprehensive policies to fully protect our communities. This study is an important element of this approach. I've been working closely with Senate leadership and my colleagues to make sure that research like this is a priority, and I'm glad that the President's plan includes additional research into the link between violent content and children's behavior."

"The reality is we are living in an increasingly violent culture which, when coupled with mental illness, can create a very dangerous situation. This bill is a step in the right direction towards better understanding the effects of violence on children, and I look forward to the recommendations that result from this report," said Senator Heller.

"In order to have an honest discussion about violence and how to best prevent it in the future, we need to examine the underlying causes of these actions," Senator Johanns said. "Our kids are routinely exposed to movies, television and video games that glorify violence and allow them to simulate violent acts. This legislation will allow us to study what, if any, impact this exposure has on our youth, and if it encourages or desensitizes our children to the real-life consequences of violence."

The Violent Content Research Act of 2013 would accomplish the following:

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children.
Specifically, NAS would examine whether violent video games and programming cause kids to act aggressively or have other harmful effects, and whether that effect is distinguishable from other types of media. It also would look at the direct and long-lasting impact of violent content on a child's well-being.
With respect to violent video games, NAS must look at whether current or emerging aspects of games, like their interactive nature and the personal and vivid way violence is portrayed, have a unique impact on kids.
NAS would be asked to recommend areas for future research and would be required to submit a report on its investigation within 15 months to Congress as well as to the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

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