California Congressman Joe Baca has introduced a new bill which would require videogames to carry a “health warning label” advising consumers that playing them can be dangerous.
The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 would require that all games with an ESRB rating of T (Teen) or higher be sold with a label that reads, “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent videogames and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.” Baca claims that recent studies from the Pediatrics Journal, the University of Indiana, the University of Missouri and Michigan State University “point to a neurological link between playing violent videogames and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers.”
“The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,” Baca said in a press release. “They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.”
Baca’s website describes him as a leading advocate in Congress against sex and violence in the media, with a particular focus on videogames. GamePolitics says Baca has introduced several game-related bills in Congress in the past, including the Children Protection from Video Game Violence and Sexual Content Act in 2007 which would have required the FTC to review the ESRB’s operations and forced a study of the impact of videogames on children and young adults by the Government Accountability Office, but none of them have passed.
“We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play,” Baca continued, adding that he was “hopeful [his] legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth.”