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ECA Concerned Over Bill Seeking To Research Violent Games

Entertainment Consumers AssociationThe Entertainment Consumers Association has issued an action alert for its members asking them to contact Congress in order to oppose a recent bill that would authorize the National Academy of Sciences  to study whether “exposure to violent video games and video programming” has a harmful effect on “children.” This bill is in response to a White house proposal in the wake of the Sandy hook school shooting last year and is part of a larger agenda by the White House.

The ECa takes issue with the proposal on a number of fronts. The first being the bill’s primary backer Senator Rockefeller.

The ECA has numerous concerns about this and feels that this is a distraction to finding the real cause of these events. Senator Rockefeller himself, who has championed this legislation, has, on the record, stated that he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision that video games are protected free speech. In his remarks on the floor of the US Senate, he said:

“Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons.”

With all due respect Senator, the highest court of the land has reviewed the scientific research and concluded that video games do not cause violence. The non-scientific personal opinion of the Senator should not get to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.

Other concerns being that the proposal ignores existing research on the positive influence of video games and that this study may induce further power grabs by federal agencies. You can read the full statement at the action page.

As gamers, we have a strong interest in the movements of elected officials when it comes to gaming. Studies such as those proposed above can have a direct effect on the availability of the games we love, especially if they result in efforts to regulate the games industry and the games it produces. While the ECA is the only organization to count on when it comes to protecting the rights of gamers.

So please act now to express your opposition to this legislation and consider joining the ECA and support its efforts to protect gamers and their interests.

Disclosure: I am a member of the ECA and a contributor to ECA publication Game Politics.


  1. C64
    C64 August 7, 2013

    As gamers if there is a demonstrable link between violent behavior and violent video games then we have to grow up and wear the fact. But, they – the National Academy of Sciences – have to prove it first, and if there’s nothing there then there is nothing to fear. I say let them look into it, it may end up proving there is no link; though from the reaction of the ECA I’m now forced to wonder.

    Further to the issue isn’t there a bunch of data showing that simian sociology is pinioned on social optimization via (I’m no expert so here’s the layman’s term) monkey-see-monkey do? And if so, then how would a bullied thirteen year old react to the romanticized world of Grand Theft Auto? I’d like to see what the NAS come up with, and if the data is doctored there will be counter studies in no time at all. Nothing to loose in my opinion.

    • Zachary Knight
      Zachary Knight August 12, 2013

      I am by no means opposed to studies into the effects games may or may not have on us humans. I do believe that there are ways in which they do, both positive and negative.

      However, I am opposed to studies with biases by both the people performing the studies and those funding the studies. This bill would institute a study with a severe bias by the sponsor of the bill Senator Rockefeller.

      • C64
        C64 August 18, 2013

        Thanks for the reply, Zachary.

        The most likely scenario is either the test is biased and causes counter-studies to be initiated immediately following (also potentially with a bias) and the answers will reveal themselves in time; or the test is presented as cold-data and without bias/or limited bias and presents inarguable facts one way or the other – unlikely.

        This is just one facet in the search for information and answers – it’s not the last say in the matter. Censoring someone from doing research into this – very relevant, very sensitive matter – for what ultimatley boils down to an argument of “you’ll take my controller from my cold dead hands” is stalling us with assumptions, and making our wants the only mitigating factor in the debate. On the opposing side presuming there’s a correlation between violent behavior and media without study is ludicrous – they’re at least attempting to do the right thing.

        The problem most intelligent, or emotionally stable, people fail to comprehend is that their own experience playing a violent video game and coming out “fine” does not mean all people will be fine being exposed to a situation like the massacre of innocents in COD2 or the sustained dread of say Amnesia. The advantage of these studies is seeing how it affects a wider group – and most of all starting the dialog.

        Also, us old-boys blogging and commenting etc. all grew up with the medium as it evolved from absolutely unreality and ostensible Hero/virtue myths to games where you play drug-dealers and killers acting in very realistic environments. We may be able to factor these games into a total experience with its roots in said unreality, and compartmentalize – but this study isn’t about us, it’s about what kids are doing to other kids.

        The more studies done the better; and the more conversation about it the better.

        Thanks for reading.

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