Bill Introduced To Require Bogus 'Warnings' On Video Games

from the junk-science dept

For years, we've looked closely at the various research on video games and aggression, and time and time again what comes up is that there's no clear link. Sure, some studies purport to show a link, but it's always in the interpretation, rather than the data. When you dig into the data you find something entirely different. At best, the studies have shown that people get emotional while playing video games, and that emotion may carry over for a short period of time. But there's nothing that shows it leads to increased violence. In fact, some of the research suggests that such content can often act as an outlet.

So it seems especially ridiculous to find out that Representative Joe Baca has decided to introduce a bill into Congress called the Video Game Health Labeling Act, which would require warning labels on video games which read:
WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior
Of course, this is silly for a whole bunch of reasons. First, it's not true, as discussed above. Some researchers have claimed this, but the research does not actually support it. Second, what a total waste of time. It's not as if anyone will actually pay attention to these labels anyway. One of the other backers of the bill, Rep. Frank Wolf made the following statement in support:
"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.... 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."
Except, as noted, the scientific evidence says no such thing. And, on top of that, there's already a (voluntary, but widely used) ratings system for video games, such that any buyers can easily find out about the nature of the games they're buying. A warning label doesn't change that at all.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Great idea!

    Great idea! But let's continue this where it leads:

    Social Media: WARNING: Excessive exposure to Facebook and other social media has been linked to divorce

    Movies & Music: WARNING: Excessive exposure to movies, music, and other art has been linked to sexual behavior, violent and aggressive behavior, and depression

    4Chan: WARNING: Excessive exposure to the Internet and other violent media has been linked to 4Chan

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Great idea!

    4Chan: WARNING: Excessive indecent exposure on the Internet and other violent media has been linked to 4Chan


    FTFY =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Great idea!

    WARNING: Excessive political grandstanding has been linked to wasted time and resources, and may result in the inability to lead and govern.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    There needs to be a new bill introduced that lets any citizen sue their congressperson/senator when they are caught lying on public record.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Great idea!

    That warning would only be valid if anyone involved in political grandstanding actually cared about leading or governing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    lrn2postnubs, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    I completely agree eithe the Rep. These warnings should consume 50% of the packaging and should consist of graphic pictures of the health effects that cigarettes, er video games, can have on your body.

     

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  7.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Great idea!

    Techdirt: WARNING: Excessive reading of Anonymous Coward comments can cause repetitious striking of your cranium on hard surfaces, possibly resulting in permanent brain damage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    My Warning

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

    *Linked in the same way that driving a sports car has been linked to poor performance in bed."

    I swear if I ever make a video or a game, that warning is going in the beginning.

     

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  9.  
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    bdhoro (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Government's Job...

    There's a debate something might be dangerous?
    ...
    Slap a warning label on it
    ...
    We're done here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    I'm still wondering...

    ...why my enjoyment of Nintendo games as a youngster didn't immediately result in my growing a ridiculous mustache (by cracky) followed by a murderous attitude towards small shell-backed quadripeds.

    It did, however, teach me that no matter how impressive someone's castle, the princess is always elsewhere....

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    Repeated stupidity

    It is worth noting that this is the second attempt by Representative Baca to apply these dumb labels to video games. His first attempt was the "Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009."

    Apparently, the press release for the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011 references all of the same studies and quotes as the press release for the 2009 attempt.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: I'm still wondering...

    I can't press 'funny' enough times here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Warning: Excessive exposure to nanny states have been linked to suicide and failure to stop any real crimes.

    Warning: Dumpy old politicians trying to regulate what they don't understand can cause failure and wasted time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    On a separate note...

    The pre-snowflake identifier back and forth between one guy naming himself alternately lolman and notlolman in that first link is absolutely hysterical....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Rich, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Great idea!

    Nice!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Re: On a separate note...

    bahaha what the hell - that is just weird...

     

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  17.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Re:

    The other night, I was advocating a plan to fine them when they lie or make bad decisions, like we do to football players.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: I'm still wondering...

    Actually, when you press it a second time, it removes your vote, so... Once is enough. :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    Re: On a separate note...

    The interjection from 'Will' is amusing as well, if only for the possibilities there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re:

    "The other night, I was advocating a plan to fine them when they lie or make bad decisions, like we do to football players."

    TWEET! Congressional foul! Intentional retardedness. The gentleman is fined 15k in campaign contributions. Repeat second down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Miff (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Re:

    I wonder if people can use advertising laws to sue politicians who back on their campaign promises.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The gentleman is fined 15k in campaign contributions.

    Only 15k? Wouldn't that be less than a single bribe...er...contribution from one of the *IAA's?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

    View of the past and future.

    As a member of the International Game Developers Association throughout my academia stint was enlightening on this one since it was widely talked about. Starting at the ground floor of Hot Coffee and the black boxes at Hastings for games like the Playboy Mansion it always boiled down a few observational fallacies based in morality and one extra which only I seemed to cover.

    A. Protect the Children via [fill in the blank]
    B. New "solution" to the ratings system and why studios should[moral] consider a wider audience.
    C. Finally my thesis and thread starter on the forums; The answer to why we restrict a persons choice on things they buy based on the arbitrariness of age.

    And those f'n kids

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Great idea!

    A bill could be introduced to require such a warning in all voting ballots.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Warning: Excessive warning labels can lead to eye strain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    Re: View of the past and future.

    This one hits the nail on the head a bit more.

    Ah... the joys of Child worship

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, but it correlated with 15 yards for major infractions in Football....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    theangryintern (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    WARNING, you just bought Hot Pockets! Hope you're drunk or heading home to a trailer.

    (gotta love Jim Gaffigan!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: I'm still wondering...

    I realized this, so I had to press it again.
    Sorry, I don't mean to keep pressing buttons....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    the silliest bit is that it's very likely that such warnings would be left in (simply easier) in the non-US versions of said games. you know, all those countries that have actual, government controlled, compulsorily rating systems which include R ratings that mean it is Illegal to sell such content to people under the listed age?

    interestingly, R18 seems to either mean porn, shooters set in non-sci-fi settings, or large quantities of gore, here. R16 seems to be excessive swearing and cursing and general illegal behavior. or something like that. it's hard to tell.

    basically amounts to 'any game worth touching with a barge pole is either rated M or is a strategy game with out of date graphics. unless it's a shooter, in which case it's probably R# regardless.'

    also, 'violent video games linked to aggressive behavior' ... technically true if you think about it. saying there's a link doesn't specify the nature or direction of that link.
    problem is, much like the phrase 'going forward', US political speak and newspaper headlines have corrupted the original meaning. (seriously, there is one specific context where 'going forward' makes sense, and i heard Obama use it a couple of times in speeches early on. since then I've encountered Americans, businessmen, and politicians using it every damn time they mean 'in future' 'in the future' or anything of that nature despite the result being nonsense. come on, i mean, if you're going to copy odd turns of phrase like that, at least use them properly...)

     

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  31.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    also

    Excessive exposure to Katamari video games and other Katamari media has been linked to katamarish behavior.

    Wait till your stuff gets rolled up, then you will wish there were warnings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    "WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Gill Bates, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

    Hypocrisy

    I never understood how right-wingers and Republicans could be so for "small government" and against regulations - yet they are the ones that want to control Rock lyrics, what people can do socially (sexually) and such.

    If they want to do away with regulations - get rid of them ALL, social and business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    PandaMarketer (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 5:37pm

    Princess

    Well, "our princess is in another castle" is fine. I'll keep this damsel, tyvm!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    VMax, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 9:23pm

    *Agressive Warning*

    If you are an aggressive person you will *TOTALLY LOVE* this game. Beware! You may want to play it A LOT. To the point that you don't want to be part of society. Do not play this game if you have any dreams of being accepted as normal.
    /sarc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re: Great idea!

    "Techdirt: WARNING: Excessive reading of Anonymous Coward comments can cause repetitious striking of your cranium on hard surfaces, possibly resulting in permanent brain damage."

    I'm insulted that you prefer Darryl's comments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 3:52am

    Re:

    NO, I bloody well won't. IT;s our job as parents to regulate media intake of our children. Not some jumped-up Úlitist ass's job. OURS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    Re: Repeated stupidity

    *Reprehensible Baca


    FTFY!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Shon Gale (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    As a Parent and a Grandparent I simply look up the video game, movie, cd etc. on the internet and read. Then I can make an intelligent decision.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Huph, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Hypocrisy

    Actually, it was the Democrats that were trying to do this exact same thing in the 90s. Tipper Gore and PMRC et al.

    Politics...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 4:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sure, but if that's the penalty for stupidity, it will stack up to a significant number pretty quickly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    150k would be better, 10,000 (did i miss a zero) caught to pay off the national debt

    i think we could find 1000 in a week or two

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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