Last week, GamePolitics reported on Common Sense Media’s survey of the 2008 presidential candidates and where they stand on media issues, including those related to video games.
While the initial response from candidates was somewhat sparse (only John Edwards, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Bill Richardson replied in time for CSM’s release deadline), Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, has now weighed in.
Here is CSM’s question on the topic of video game legislation, posed to Clinton and other responding candidates:
To date, nearly 10 states have considered legislation to keep violent video games out of kids’ hands. Would you support this type of legislation at the federal level? What other strategies would you support to keep the video game industry and other media companies from marketing and selling inappropriate content to children?
Here is Sen. Clinton’s response:
When I introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act [FEPA] two years ago, I did so because I felt that video game content was getting increasingly violent and sexually explicit, yet young people were able to purchase these games with relative ease while their parents were struggling to keep up with being informed about the content.
Sen. Clinton describes what FEPA would have mandated, had it passed:
On-site store managers would be subject to a fine of $1,000 or 100 hours of community service for the first offense and $5,000 or 500 hours of community service for each subsequent offense.
The bill would also require an annual, independent analysis of game ratings and require the FTC to conduct an investigation to determine whether hidden sexual content like what was in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a pervasive problem and to take appropriate action…
Finally, the bill would authorize the FTC to conduct an annual, random audit of retailers to monitor enforcement and report the findings to Congress.
FEPA was prompted by the Hot Coffee scandal, said Clinton:
I was motivated to take action when I found out that there was embedded illicit sexual content in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The [ESRB] was unaware of the embedded content. I called on the FTC to investigate the source of the content and, as a result, the company issued a recall of the game.
When I am president, I will work to protect children from inappropriate video game content.
Sen. Clinton described for CSM her biggest concern about media as a parent:
Research has shown that violent and sexually explicit media contribute to aggressive behavior, early sexual experimentation, obesity, and depression.
Whenever I meet young parents… they tell me that they are worried about losing control over the raising of their own children and about ceding the responsibility of implicating values and behaviors to a multi-dimensional media marketplace over which they have no control…
Studies have found that exposure to TV violence can increase the risk of aggressive behavior in children and may be related to attention problems later in life. And some experts say that time spent watching too much TV or surfing the Internet or playing video games may detract from the time children spend interacting with their parents, participating in physical activity, or using their imaginations.