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Health Warning Label for Video Games?

U.S. Representatives Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) announced they have reintroduced a bill that would require video games with an Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating of Teen (T) or higher to be sold with a health warning label.

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Unedited press releases follow:

Baca Introduces Legislation Mandating Violent Video Games Be Sold With Warning Label

Label Links Violent Games to Increased Aggression in Children and Teens

1/24/2011 — Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation that mandates all video games with an Electronics Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating of Teen (T) or higher be sold with a health warning label. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011 creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which forces games with a T rating or higher to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

“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,” said Rep. Baca. “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.”

Rep. Baca has been a lead advocate in Congress on the issues of violence and sex in the media. In particular, he has been very active in ensuring the video game industry accurately details the content of its games to parents and consumers. Recent scientific studies from the Pediatrics Journal, University of Indiana, University of Missouri, and Michigan State University all point to a neurological link between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), another long time advocate on the issue of violence in the media, has joined with Rep. Baca as an original cosponsor of the Video Game Health Labeling Act.

“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,” Wolf said. “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.”

“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,” concluded Rep. Baca. “I am proud to introduce the Video Game Health Labeling Act, and am hopeful this legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth.”

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WOLF AGAIN SUPPORTS MOVE TO PUT WARNING LABELS ON VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES

All Games Rated ‘Teen’ or Higher Would Carry Health Warning Similar to Cigarette, Alcohol Warnings

Washington, D.C – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he is again cosponsoring legislation to require that all video games with a rating of “Teen” (T) or higher be sold with a health warning label similar to what is on cigarettes and alcohol products.

The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011 (H.R. 400) would create a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission requiring that “Teen” and “Mature” games have a warning label that reads: “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

Wolf, who has spoken out about the violent nature of video games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty” and their respective sequels for a number of years, said parents need to have as much information as possible about the video games their children are playing. Studies from Pediatrics Journal, University of Indiana, University of Missouri and Michigan State University all point to a neurological link between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers, he said.

“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,” Wolf said. “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.”

The bill’s primary sponsor is Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA).

“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. “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.”

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