Proposed Bill to Require Warning Labels on Video Games

Although this is not Nintendo Specific news, it could affect all NoA Fanboys and Girls just the same.

RepublicanCongressman Joe Baca of California and Frank Wolf of Virginia have proposed a bill that would require video game developers to include a health warning label to be attached to all video games.  This is bill would require similar warnings that are currently on packs of cigarettes.

The proposed warning sticker/label would be placed on Violent video games that could foster a violent behavior.  According to the congressman, the Game industry has “repeatedly failed” to provide adequate warnings and has been irresponsible in labeling games.  The warning would be required on all games with an EC (Early Childhood) rating by the ESRB-EVEN IF NO VIOLENCE IS FEATURED IN IT!

The congressman had the following to say:

“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. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility,” said Californian congressmen Joe Baca.

“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,” added Virginian congressmen .

The sticker that they want will simply state:

“WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

Now, in my mind this is overkill.  We already have the ESRB ratings, why is this not enough?  As a parent, I know that my role in my Child’s gaming experience is to monitor them teach them right from wrong.  I do not need a little sticker (that obviously works so well on packs of cigarettes) to tell em that there is violence.  I can research the game, I can play the game along with my children, and I can make the choice for my family whether or not to allow them to play the game.

As some of you might know, I am very against the stigma that violent video games breeds violence in people.  I also believe that musicians such as Marilyn Manson, or other mediums that get blamed, are falsely accused.  Those that do become influenced by the games typically have deeper rooted issues.  Those people should be monitored by Parents/Guardians/Relatives/and close friends.  Any signs of aggression should be approached by those that love and care for them.  It should not be monitored by a little sticker on the box.

What are your thoughts on the proposed bill?  Do we need this sticker, or is it a waist of time and money?

19 Responses to Proposed Bill to Require Warning Labels on Video Games

  1. Llaffer says:

    Completely ridiculous. Where’s the proof that games lead to violence? People have been trying to link the two for years, without success.

    Last I checked, there was violence before 1979 in the world. No causality here. Go waste our tax dollars on a different useless bill that the government has no place in.

  2. Verius says:

    Didn’t they try something like this not too long ago? It’s not like kids won’t be getting their hands on the games they want to play, even with ESRB regulations that restrict sales of 17+/18+/M games to the younger crowd.

    The responsibility has to fall upon the parents/caretakers to regulate what their kids play and retailers/devs shouldn’t be the only ones taking the hit, even though they do play a role in this. I had to turn down a couple teens when I used to work retail cause they didn’t look 17 and they wanted to buy a 17+ game and had no ID or parental consent.

  3. Bill says:

    While I’m not one for total censorship of any kind, I think in American culture we need rating systems for our media and products. (We could get into a long argument here, but let’s just accept the statement above as a truth for the sake of time.) I do think the ESRB does a poor job in creating a system in the way that enforces it. Movie theaters do a much better job in restricting age limits (although it’s nowhere near perfect, there are safety nets in place) and thereby the MPAA gets much more respect for that. But the way video games are distributed are very different: resales, children’s outlets and parents who don’t really know what they’re buying their kid. Yes, parents SHOULD know what their child is doing, but this isn’t a perfect world and adults have their own lives. I never got into violent video games, but I can’t tell you the number of times my parents bought me something for my birthday or Christmas and they had no idea what it was.

    The problem I have with this added sticker is that it does nothing different than the current rating system uses. The ESRB already shows Content Descriptors on it so you know exactly what naughty bits are in the game. Those labels on cigarettes have turned away 00.000000000001% of current smokers [citation needed]. This is mostly because people smoking them already knew they were bad but couldn’t stop. Studies are inconclusive as to whether or not violent video games induce violent behavior. Common sense says they don’t discourage it, but there’s yet to be any hard evidence on inciting it.

    My advice for the video game market would be to emulate the MPAA a bit more on this idea. Use the already-accepted G, PG, PG-13, R rating system that most people know about instead of the more obscure E, T, M labels. And enforce that products are only being purchased by those responsible. Just like someone who is 16 shouldn’t be allowed to buy a ticket to an R rated movie alone, someone who is 16 shouldn’t be allowed to buy an M/R rated video game alone. For those retailers or buyback stores that violate this policy, levy fines or pull games off the shelves for a number of weeks/months. If this really is an issue, no sticker is going to solve anything. Rules will always be broken; it’s the penalties that set the risk/reward for potential rule-breakers that deters crime.

  4. GameCollector44 says:

    Well…I’m personally for this. I mean, the more warning parents have the better, right?

  5. GameCollector44 says:

    Oh, wait, I didn’t see the “on all games regardless of what it actually has in it” part. That part is bullcrap.

  6. Matt says:

    For those of you who think that the ESRB doesn’t work I have a little experiment for you. find a 10 year old kid and let him try to buy a T, or M rated game from Walmart or Gamestop, New or Used. watch them from a save distance and tell me if they don’t get turned away to ovousally not being old enough to buy one of those games. Ok we now come to the problem, kids do not go to the store to pick up the newest copy of Call of Duty by themselves, they ask their parents, and their parents buy them for them. Now poor parenting will let a 10 year old kid into the hands of that newest Call of Duty, and that is where the problem lies, we do not need any more warnings on video games stating that this game “may or may not contain violent content.” All of the ratings on the ESRB are plainly Straight forward. you have EC, for early childhood; E for everybody; E10+ for everybody over the age of 10; T for Teen, which is a minimum of 13; and then you have M for Mature audiences only, which is a minimum of 17. On top of that within the last 5 years they have also created content descriptions to go next to the rating, ranging from suggestive themes, all the way to extreme violence, and blood and gore. and if you are a parent all you have to do is look at those ratings for content and make an educated determination as to whether or not you want your kids playing those games.

    I think that adding a warning to every single game on the market that video games are violent are only going to cause confusion because people are going to think that all games are violent and the sale of games is going to drop. More importantly I think that parents need to play a more important role in their kids lives and make those educated decisions about what they want their kids to play. It makes me sick that everyday parents are removed somehow from the responsibilities of raising their kids and think that it should fall on the whole world to raise them. I love my parents for actually being parents and not letting the rest of the world raise me, because who knows what would have happened if my parents had not have raised me.

  7. Brian says:

    Oh you politicians…

    In the backwards south where I live, the government closes down businesses when gang violence occurs instead of going after the gangs. Then they pat themselves on the back and say “Look at me. Look at what I did. Job well done.”

    I know it’s not the same comparison but it this article made me think about that.

  8. nimh37 says:

    Here’s the thing: Many parents still believe video games to “for kids,” and they do not regulate what their kids play by this rational. Call it bad parenting if you will, but I call it “people-are-ignorant-and/or-stupid-and-they-use-it-as-a-crutch.” Lazy, careless parents are are a reality, and they affect me and my kids.
    Be it Marilyn Manson (MarilynMonroe-meets-CharlesManson FYI…Just a little twisted for a child…) or The Insane Clown Posse, when children are left unchecked by anyone, it affects you and I.
    The sticker is pretty broad and unfairly encompassing, but I do resent the statement: “Those that do become influenced by the games typically have deeper rooted issues. Those people should be monitored by Parents/Guardians/Relatives/and close friends.” I work with REAL messed up/ troubled kids, and they aren’t the ones with the “root issues” initially. Someone did something horrible to them, or didn’t do something (like monitor their input and care enough to intervene in stupid behavior) and they end up as the Columbine Idiots.
    I’m done with Infendo and Essel.
    Remove my post with that gut feeling of having crossed the line, Essel.

  9. Jmyr says:

    @nimh37…It is people like you that is what is wrong with this a country. Any good parent would be involved and know what is going on with their kids. If this article makes you leave, then good riddance. It doesn’t matter if their issues were caused by someone else, or if they were born with them. The parent or guardian should know better than to let an influential kid play a violent game that they might mimic. It sounds to me that you are either living in the past or something. I have kids, I am involved, and my kids know right from wrong. This article is about the stupid sticker, with a dash of essels opinion. I don’t know about the other people get, but I like the dash of opinion. It adds a personal level to the page. This article is just stressing that the games do not cause the action, or violence. Sure it can be a trigger, but so can something as small as a dog barking. Give the responsibility back to the parents. Too many of these warnings seem to make parents too comfortable and relaxed. If a troubled kid wants one of these violent games, they can pay a bum on the street $5.00 to buy it for them. But if the patent is involved with their child, they will find it and discipline accordingly. Nihm37, get off your high horse and take responsibility for your actions instead of telling others that they are wrong

  10. jdog4ever says:

    i played gta and m rated games since i was like 6 i played conkers bad fur day gta sa and other m rated games and im not violent or doing drugs or anything bad i cuss a lot but thats me not video games my friends are more influencing than video games

  11. Travis says:

    This is not a good thing. Let the parents monitor their children, not a sticker. If a kid starts shooting up a school because of Mario or Marilyn Manson, blame the parent for not being involved. Don’t blame the artist. And to the person above that said kids should not listen to Marilyn or icp, not all of us are, as I assume you are, bible thumping know it alls. Don’t put control in the hands of god or the government, but in the hands of those that know the kids best-the parents!

    I play violent games and I know what is real and what is fake. If the line is blurred then a good parent will step in and make it right. That might mean taking a game away or seeing a shrink. But only the parent knows what is best. Damn I hate when no it alls take the easy way out and start blaming other people. If a kid acts violent after playing a game or listening to music, you can only blame the kid or the bad parent. No one else

  12. IMA TYPE 1 SON says:

    Nimrod37- People are too ready to Jump the Gun ( pun intended) and blame things on other people. People need to take responsibility for their actions and act accordingly.

    Just because someone cut me off this morning in their car as well as have accidents in card doesnt mean we need to go around putting stickers on cars labeling them as dangerous monsters. Whatever happened to common sense?

  13. Erin says:

    Dear Republicans,

    Someone told you that you guys are for smaller government, right? WHat you have basically told every American parent is the following:

  14. Erin says:

    cont…

    My Fellow Americans,

    My party, the GOP, feels that you are either too stupid or too inept to correctly parent your children without our direct intervention.

    Now, as a parent, I take offense to this. As a consumer, I’m annoyed at the wastefulness of laws like this. Dear GOP: Make Jobs, Not Warning Labels.

    So, if someone would kindly point out which video games Hitler was playing as he was invading Poland, I’d appreciate it. Because obviously there was no violent acts prior to the video game.

    Wait, I’m not supposed to be posting this. I’m supposed to be in the kitchen.

  15. The Adza says:

    Two words: WHAT ROT!!

  16. What is this crap? SOPA, PIPA and now another stupid bill. Ridiculous.

  17. Cactus Jack says:

    Time to give these fools a call! I say we put a moratorium on all new laws and bills for the next 5 years. We do not need more of out freedoms stolen from us.

  18. Mattiac says:

    🙁 That’s a lie! Stupid congressman! 🙁

  19. Mustache Killer says:

    I just feel like if this gets passed that this should also be implemented on films and even television programing, because I feel like there are violent movies that come out every week. And Americans love violence but when it is in a game and one can control the violence people feel like its worse but its the same in my opinion. I’m with Erin. I hope this isn’t implemented because it is totally a waste of tax payer money.

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