Anti-Censorship Group Seeks Veto of Gaming "Disinformation" Bill

Anti-Censorship Group Seeks Veto of Gaming "Disinformation" Bill

Seal of New Jersey

The National Coalition Against Censorship wants New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto a bill that would require the Department of Education to provide parents with "research" detailing the dangers of violent videogames to children.

The National Coalition Against Censorship is hoping that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will veto Senate Bill 2715, which will require the state's Department of Education "to prepare and distribute informational pamphlets on how parents can limit a child's exposure to media violence." The group claims that the research provided to parents, which will focus largely on videogames, is being "cherry-picked" in order to advance an anti-gaming agenda.

If passed, the law would require the DoE to keep parents informed on "research and statistics on how violent behavior increases after exposure to violent films, music, television, or videogames, [and] scientific findings that show children who play violent videogames are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates, perform poorly on academic tasks, and are unable to relate to adults in positions of authority." The information, which would also include descriptions of symptoms displayed by children suffering from overexposure to violence and strategies for combating such exposure, would be distributed via the department's website and through pamphlets sent out to all school districts in the state.

In a letter to Governor Christie, the NCAC noted that the bill "poses both practical and constitutional problems," foremost among them being that "the bill is based on factual assumptions that the United States Supreme Court has explicitly rejected: that exposure to media violence causes violent behavior and that children who consume violent media become aggressive or anti-social."

"The Supreme Court concluded that studies purporting to show a relationship between exposure to violent media and violent or anti-social behavior 'have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason: They do not prove that violent videogames cause minors to act aggressively'," the letter states. "To the extent the studies show any effect on children's 'feelings of aggression, those effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media.' Indeed, as the Court noted, the evidence demonstrates similar effects from watching Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons."

The letter also notes that S2715 places an "impossible burden" on educators and, if passed, would also likely fall afoul of the First Amendment protections recently affirmed by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, "the bill is plainly not concerned with disseminating accurate information: its obvious purpose is to condemn a form of protected expression and propagate the view that it is harmful."

"We strongly urge you to reject this flawed and constitutionally-suspect approach and instead focus scarce state resources and attention on initiatives that are more likely to promote effective violence-prevention strategies," the letter concludes.

Despite the NCAC's concern, it seems unlikely that Christie will veto the bill: according to LegiScan, it passed both the Senate and the Assembly with unanimous assent.

Source: National Coalition Against Censorship

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well I can only say I support the anti-censorship group, we've all seen these things come up before, doesn't the Supreme Court decision from a few years ago kinda limit what this bill could actually do though? (correct me if I'm wrong) also (unless I get ninja'd) first comment, huzzah! never got one before

EDIT: actually upon reading it again I think I understand better now

Please this needs to stop. America already has a reputation for historic and scientific revisionism. "scientific findings that show children who play violent videogames are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates, perform poorly on academic tasks, and are unable to relate to adults in positions of authority," doesn't seem to include the counter-points or a reflection on how new media has always attracted this sort of idiocy.

Going a bit off on a tangent, it's actually intellectually interesting tracking the history of this stuff. There's a bureaucrat that banned pot to advance his career. Seduction of the Innocent. Texas' board of people that choose their text books. Hell even the Scopes trial was a media circus designed to make a small town money.

Well there's one(more) state I won't be moving to any time soon.

Scars Unseen:
Well there's one(more) state I won't be moving to any time soon.

Nobody really chooses to move to Jersey; they usually end up there because of reasons beyond their control.

KeyMaster45:

Scars Unseen:
Well there's one(more) state I won't be moving to any time soon.

Nobody really chooses to move to Jersey; they usually end up there because of reasons beyond their control.

It's gotten weird since the mafia took over the tourism board.

Couldn't someone just sue them for this considering they'd be spouting false facts? (Assuming they don't go with actual stats that games don't cause violence)

Not only that, but it goes against the supreme court. Which is illegal.

Oh this again. You know, I actually want to see one of these bills make it through. I would love to see what would happen if the anti-gaming people get their way for once. I imagine it would be disastrous and amusing as hell.

Welp, all we can do now is send him more letters and then sit back and wait I guess. Chris Christie isn't always the most well thought individual but I find it hard to think that he'd actually pass this.

how about a bill that informs parents about domestic violence and child abuse, wrong parenting and gun mishandling?

oh wait, they are already good at this...

captcha: "there once was"
yeah, fairytale time...

MCerberus:
Please this needs to stop. America already has a reputation for historic and scientific revisionism. "scientific findings that show children who play violent videogames are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates, perform poorly on academic tasks, and are unable to relate to adults in positions of authority," doesn't seem to include the counter-points or a reflection on how new media has always attracted this sort of idiocy.

Going a bit off on a tangent, it's actually intellectually interesting tracking the history of this stuff. There's a bureaucrat that banned pot to advance his career. Seduction of the Innocent. Texas' board of people that choose their text books. Hell even the Scopes trial was a media circus designed to make a small town money.

It's easy to spin something around to better fit your needs.

for example, out of every person in the history of mankind that has breathed air, there is a 100% fatality rate. Also people who have committed rape, murder, theft, assault, child molestation, or every other heinous crime as also breathed air AND drank Di-hydrogen oxide. So obviously the evidence points to that if you have done ether of these things, you are likely to do these crimes also.

Scary? there are people who get paid just to spin research and statistics around.

Politicians are condemning something they fail to understand, in the interest of catering to their constituency. What they fail to realize, however, is that the constituency is fastly becoming geek culture itself.

Imagine how back in the day, being a Trekkie or a Star Wars fan labeled one with a stigma. Now, EVERYONE has heard of or watches Game of Thrones, no stigma attached.

Andy Chalk:

kael013:
Oh this again. You know, I actually want to see one of these bills make it through. I would love to see what would happen if the anti-gaming people get their way for once. I imagine it would be disastrous and amusing as hell.

This is what happens:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111300-Supreme-Court-Rules-in-Favor-of-Videogames

Also this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/70677-Judge-Orders-State-to-Pay-Game-Industry-Legal-Fees-in-Louisiana

And this! http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/72243-Failed-Videogame-Law-Costs-A-Million-Dollars

And this. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/84755-Minnesota-Pays-Games-Industry-for-Failed-Law

Aaaaand (almost) this. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/90480-Utah-Governor-Vetoes-Bill-HB-353

Ah, I didn't know about all those; thanks for that. Not as dramatic as what I imagined, but then again reality rarely is. Course I would have figured those cases would have stopped people from continuing this agenda... Slow learners I guess.

Scars Unseen:
Well there's one(more) state I won't be moving to any time soon.

You don't move to New Jersey
New Jersey moves to you.
image

Andy Chalk:

kael013:
Oh this again. You know, I actually want to see one of these bills make it through. I would love to see what would happen if the anti-gaming people get their way for once. I imagine it would be disastrous and amusing as hell.

This is what happens:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111300-Supreme-Court-Rules-in-Favor-of-Videogames

Also this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/70677-Judge-Orders-State-to-Pay-Game-Industry-Legal-Fees-in-Louisiana

And this! http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/72243-Failed-Videogame-Law-Costs-A-Million-Dollars

And this. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/84755-Minnesota-Pays-Games-Industry-for-Failed-Law

Aaaaand (almost) this. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/90480-Utah-Governor-Vetoes-Bill-HB-353

I think you misread his post. He was interested to see what would happen if the prohibitionists actually got their way and some unlucky state had to do without video games.

Maybe a crime wave as millions of adolescents find themselves with nothing to do and start roaming the streets.

More likely though is that the entire state would just pirate everything.

The house and senate dont give a rats behind about court rulings or laws or the constitution or bill of rights. Any more than our president does.

This will probably pass with flying colors to be sued in court and after 10s of millions of dollars in court costs (your tax dollars) will find its way up the court system to be struck down by the sc or a lower court if the court system has any sense.

Andy Chalk:
"...perform poorly on academic tasks, and are unable to relate to adults in positions of authority."

This made me chuckle. God forbid children don't listen to their parents or respect authority. Its them damn vidya gamz! Kids have always done what their told and listened to authority figures until video games were invented! Parents unable to relate to their kids? Madness! Video game related madness!

I hope they stop Jersey from doing this, but I know plenty of adults who would roll their eyes at these pamphlets. A lot of older people see this video game stuff as scapegoating for bad parenting. "Its not my fault, it the video games!"

Bad Jim:
I think you misread his post. He was interested to see what would happen if the prohibitionists actually got their way and some unlucky state had to do without video games.

Maybe a crime wave as millions of adolescents find themselves with nothing to do and start roaming the streets.

More likely though is that the entire state would just pirate everything.

Pretty much this. I was also interested in seeing what info the DoE would have released (imagine if they released info saying there was no definite link) and how parents would have responded. If it's not politicians attacking games it's parents (who are a very diverse group), so the reaction by the second group to the first's actions would be interesting to see (would they praise it, resent it as the government forcing parents to teach their kids views they don't agree with, etc.)

That's not saying Andy's response isn't helpful; I only knew about that first link so his response was informative. It's just not what I was mainly getting at.

I don't see this bill being successful even if it does pass.

I mean, they're requesting parents to actually monitor what their kids are doing.

"... scientific findings that show children who play violent videogames are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates, perform poorly on academic tasks, and are unable to relate to adults in positions of authority."

Because it's not like those statistics are skewed by the fact that the people who actively seek out video games tend to be nerds searching for escape fantasy and bullies searching for power fantasies. Not to mention, authority must always be questioned, just like everything else in life. Even me.

Eri:
Not only that, but it goes against the supreme court. Which is illegal.

Going against the Supreme Court isn't illegal, just insanely stupid. What will happen is the bill will pass, it'll be brought to court, who will then issue a freeze on its implementation for the duration of proceedings. They'll use the existing precedent, overturn the law, it'll get appealed until it hits the Supreme Court, who will again look to precedent, uphold that this is a no-go and send everyone home. It's basically just a waste of time and resources to advance the anti-rock n' roll agenda.

So wait, did the studies in question have control groups? Because if that sort of thing isn't considered necessary anymore, I intend to milk it for all it's worth.

Fun fact: Everybody who hasn't elected me dictator for life has a high chance of dying at some point in the next eighty years, and all non-homosexual marriages end in either death or divorce.

kael013:

Bad Jim:
I think you misread his post. He was interested to see what would happen if the prohibitionists actually got their way and some unlucky state had to do without video games.

Maybe a crime wave as millions of adolescents find themselves with nothing to do and start roaming the streets.

More likely though is that the entire state would just pirate everything.

Pretty much this.

Oh, I see. Uhh... that's trickier. The trouble is that for all intents and purposes, that literally cannot happen. Any state that does enact such a law will immediately run into a legal challenge filed by the ESA and an injunction to bring it to a halt; after that, precedent and the First Amendment take over. There have been attempts to skirt the Constitutional issues but thus far they've all been shot down, because at their root they're all doing the same thing: imposing government restrictions on protected speech.

Your best bet for laying eyes on a "what if?" scenario is probably Australia, which had (and still has) a far more censorious attitude toward videogames but as far as I know isn't terribly far ahead of the US (or anywhere else) on the quality of life/youth running wild/crime-ridden hellhole index. To take it to a greater extreme, I suppose you could compare it to drugs - people want what they want, and they'll get it one way or the other.

 

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