A bill in New York State intended to crack down on violence in videogames has moved from introduction to passage in only four short days.
Sponsored by Republican Senator Andrew Lanza, the bill is intended to reduce children’s exposure to violent and “inappropriate” material in videogames, as well as establish an Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence to review the current ESRB rating system. The bill also calls for the creation of a Parent-Teacher Anti-Violence Awareness Program to “work with students and children on issues related to violence in videogames.”
“The recent release of ‘V-Tech Massacre,’ a sick game which exploits the Virginia Tech University tragedy, is a painful reminder of the culture of violence which was severe consequences on our youth and society,” said Senator Lanza, incorrectly referring to V-Tech Rampage. “The emotions and behaviors of our children are far too often shaped by the virtual reality of violent movies and videogames. It is imperative that we find a way to prevent these virtual realities from continuing to fuel and teach the violent behavior which is corrupting our youth. My bill will provide parents with important information about violent videogames so they are better able to make informed decisions.”
Senator Lanza’s bill, however, would have no effect on games such as V-Tech Rampage, which are produced by individuals and “published” on free sites such as Newgrounds, and are therefore not subject to ESRB ratings. As well, some sections of the bill appear to contravene First Amendment regulations, leaving the law open to costly court challenges in the future.
The full text of the New York State Senate press release describing the passage of the bill is available here.