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.

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  • icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

    • icon
      Killer_Tofu (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

    • icon
      Thomas (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rich, 26 Jan 2011 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: Great idea!

        Nice!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    lrn2postnubs, 26 Jan 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.

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

  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 26 Jan 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.

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

  • icon
    bdhoro (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 26 Jan 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....

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Warning: Excessive warning labels can lead to eye strain.

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

  • icon
    theangryintern (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    Chargone (profile), 26 Jan 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...)

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

  • icon
    iamtheky (profile), 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2011 @ 3:57pm

    "WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!"

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

  • identicon
    Gill Bates, 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    VMax, 26 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    Shon Gale (profile), 27 Jan 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 chronology ]


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