California Bill Would Limit Game Time, Content for Day Care Kids

A Santa Monica legislator wants to limit the amount of time that children in day care spend playing video games. California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) also wants to ensure that any games played are of the educational or exercise varieties.

To that end Brownley has introduced AB627. Her bill is aimed at addressing California’s rampant childhood obesity problem.

As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle:

[The bill would] require child care centers receiving state reimbursement for their food programs to limit sugary sweets and drinks, prohibit deep-fat frying, mandate servings of vegetables and limit TV, computer and video-game use to one hour per day, among other regulations.

A reading of the bill suggests that games like Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution would be acceptable if AB627 becomes law:

For children in full day care, screen time, including, but not limited to, television, video games, and computer usage, shall be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and shall be limited to
educational programming or programs that encourage movement.
For children in less than full day care, screen time shall be reduced proportionately.

The measure has been referred to the Assembly’s Human Services Committee.

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  1. Fredrick2003 says:

    Wow, all of the comments on this article feels like I am re-visiting my daycare days.

    This stuff happened to me all the time, exactly.  Are you my clone?  lol Even the "don’t be a tattletale go away" part.

    Seriously, it puzzles me why the daycare even HAD a building, considering the only time you were ever inside it was to eat, if they let you that day.

  2. Fredrick2003 says:

    I can get what you are saying.  I had fun outside for the first 4 or 5 hours.  Then after I had sunburns on top of the sunburns that I had the day before…  Sweating…  Thirsty…  I wanted to go the **** back inside, and perhaps get some water.

  3. chadachada321 says:

    Agreed on how the government abuses its power there. It’s bull that California is going to be using food funding to shove the "video games = teh evilz" thing down a day care’s throat, as much as it was bull that the government did with college campuses.

    I think that campuses shouldn’t have *had* those policies, but I don’t think it’s right for the government to enforce it by using coersion. My personal opinion shouldn’t dictate what a college that doesn’t belong to me does, and neither should the government’s.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  4. Doomsong says:

    Good call… the vast libraries contained within the walls of all day cares that are granted state assisted funding just don’t get utilized the way they used to.

    You’re most likely right about it being younger children in the majority though, kids who would actually need to use computers for school work would probably only be in a care situation for a couple hours after school.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  5. Doomsong says:

    I know what you mean… mine can crush a bowling ball now….

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  6. Neeneko says:

    I would still consider that a bad thing.  In my mind, the proper place for requirements like that would be the accreditation process.

  7. Neeneko says:

    *nods* I can see the logic (agree or disagree) behind the ban, though the logic does start to fall apart pretty quickly once you get away from barracks/combat situations.  One of the big dust-ups was the army firing analysts and translators who live in base home just like civilians.

    But anyway, the original point is less about the specific policy and more about how it gets enforced.  Or in the particular example, one branch of the government using the funding in another branch to force universities to violate their own policies.

  8. chadachada321 says:

    Not that I agree with it, but I do understand a reason behind it. Men and women in the military are kept seperate, right? This is to prevent sex from interfering and because it’s common practice to have seperate-but-equal facilities for genders. Why seperate men from women? Because men like women, and women like men (according to general practice). If a man liked another man, then that’d shatter the "not sleeping near people you like" idea.

    It’s hard for me to put in words, but it’d be the same as being in a locker room with other men. You assume they are all straight (according to their logic) so you feel fine. However, if there was men and women in the same locker room, ones from both sides would feel uncomfortable having the opposite gender (and hence, people that may look at them sexually) in their locker room. With homosexuals (don’t get me wrong, I had a gay kid on my swim team, and he was my best friend on the team, I didn’t feel uncomfortable in the least changing near him) you get the same thing as having a woman in the locker room.

    There isn’t an easy solution, because either you a) tell the other men to suck it up and they’ll complain about having openly gay people watching them change/shower and the possibility of relationships to happen in the barracks, b) seperate the gays from the straights, which would lead to more relationships, c) put the gay men with the straight women? But what about bisexuals? or d) "Don’t ask, don’t tell."

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  9. Baruch_S says:

    Honestly, I’d say it is really that bad. The government shouldn’t be able to dictate any policies outside of realm of its donated money. I think we’d all agree that a school shouldn’t discriminate based on race or color, but what do you do when you run up aganist issues like homosexuality? For many religions, homosexuality is a sin, but it’s a practice that is becoming more and more widely accepted in general culture. Should the government use the leverage granted by the funding it gives to various programs to try to dictate the teachings of a private, religious school? It’s really not a big jump from gender equality to sexual orientation equality.

    People have the right to maintain beliefs and opinions that aren’t popular with society; the government has no business telling people what they can and can’t believe by threatening to remove funding that’s entirely unrelated to those beliefs. You may not agree with it, but people have the right to believe and think what they will; the government needs to keep its nose out.

  10. Icehawk says:

    Oh I dont know, books maybe?  They used to do that, you know right after the time of the painting on the cave walls.

    Besides the feeling I am getting from this is these are young kids, not subject to doing term-papers.

  11. CyberSkull says:

    If they are limiting computer use to an hour, how are they supposed to do any research for homework? 

  12. LegendaryGamer00 says:

    "When the hell did this happen?! Why am I always the last one to know about these things?!"


    (Referring to video games in day care and I dare you guys to figure out what movie that quote is from)



  13. Valdearg says:

    You are aware that there are plenty of kids in daycare at the video gaming age, right?

    I, for one, was in After School Daycare from the time I was 5 until I was 12, which is(was?) the legal age for a child to be left home alone, rather than need a guardian. There were 3 Computers there that had a daily 20 minute rotation for kids. Lol, you had to sign your name on the sheet like 3 days in advance to get your 20 minutes in. Aside from those 20 minutes, every few days, I really, really, really hated Daycare.

    I wouldn’t reccomend anyone force the kids outside for any longer than they have to be. When the kids were outside at my daycare, the caregivers didn’t really watch. I had to learn to fend for myself against some kids that just felt like throwing rocks, ice chunks, or woodchips at people was the best way to spend their time, and when you went to complain to the caregiver that someone just hit you in the face with a rock, you’d get the "Don’t be a tattletale. Go away" routine..

    If I ever have kids, if I can manage to keep them out of other people’s care, I will, because that was just messed up.

  14. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    On small level I’m okay with this, however…I live in a desert, kids are pretty hard to keep entertained and our kids can’t go out for more then 10 or 20 minutes per couple of hours. That is because we can get as high as 130 degrees so my question is…with so many hours having to be spent in doors how long do they think they’ll keep those kids entertained if you can’t break the monotony with some mindless fun or a movie?

  15. Neeneko says:

    Specificly the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy involving homosexuals.  While slighly better then the old policy it is still a de-facto ‘if we catch you, you are out’ setup.

  16. chadachada321 says:

    What’s discriminatory about the military right now? Not that I don’t agree with you, threatening/using unrelated spending is wrong, but I’m wondering how the military fails in those guidelines.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  17. chadachada321 says:

    The thing was, I wasn’t very sociable on the playground, and while I had fun for a little while, there isn’t anything fun about spending an entire day outside (at least for me) in a small little playground with 20 other kids that don’t like me/aren’t friends with me. It’s not like I needed instruction, I just thought it was boring

    It should be a balance. If I wanna spend more time inside than another kid, I should be able to. There doesn’t need to be regulation of stuff.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  18. Demontestament says:

    Yay another waste of time and taxpayer money. I have yet to see a daycare center that receives government funding that lets children watch tv or play any form of video or computer game. Most of the time they are either eating playdoh or running around outside. With all that is happening here in California can’t they think about trying to pass a bill that would help with the community and not worry about what someone else’s child is playing, watching and eating at daycare?

  19. Wormdundee says:

     Sorry, but that’s not practical at all. What if one child is allowed a half hour, another one an hour, another 2 hours, and so on? You expect the people at the daycare to keep track of each childs screen time individually. Plus, the kid who is allowed the least screen time will be flippin out because all the other kids can still play games or watch tv or whatever.

    Equality gives the least hassle, so that’s how it will be.

  20. bracomadar says:

    Why don’t they just let the parents decide on how much video games their kids get?  They’re the ones working their rear ends off to pay for the daycare service and they’re the ones that should have the final say in what the kids can and can’t do.  Oh, I forgot it’s California; where the state owns the children

    PSN: bracomadar

  21. TK n Happy Ness says:

    I guess parental responsibility is dead, and since when could 3 or 4 year olds in daycare know how to play games?

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  22. Neeneko says:

    This (if not the specifics, the method) is the dark side of government funding (and often, in charity in general).  What starts as a program to complete one mission becomes a weapon to implement other missions.

    One of the other interesting examples of this was the flap over military recruiters on college campuses.   Some universities have polices about not allowing recruiters on campus who do not meet thier non-discrimination guidelines, which the current military does not.  But people got offended that ‘liberal’ colleges were not allowing the military to recruit, so the federal government threaten unrelated funding unless colleges changed their policies.  So grants for, say, medial research, we used to insure that recruiters had access to students.

    So the issue I see here is not how good or bad this particular requirement is, but is it using unrelated funding as a weapon to insure compliance. “If you do not follow our social goal, we will not help you feed children”.. I imagine the original goal of the program was to feed kids, not social engineering.

  23. Brokenscope says:

    Thats the problem with so many in my generation and the current one.


    They need instructions to have fun on a friggen playground.

  24. chadachada321 says:

    I believe that since the government funding is only for food stuffs, the legislation should only concern food stuffs, not other aspects of the place.

    However, constitutionally, I see no problem. Although as others have said, one hour is not near enough for children to have fun and such. Can’t watch movies, can’t do other stuff, they’ll be stuck outside incredibly bored. I know I was, back before they had games in the day cares.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  25. nekusagi says:

    That was the law that required all television stations to show a quota (2 hrs?) of educational children’s programming a week. In general, it led to a lot of Saturday Morning cartoons getting "messages" shoehorned in to make the quota.

  26. Cecil475 says:

    "You can partly blame the Telecom act of 1996 for that."

    How do you mean?

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  27. Cecil475 says:

    "SatAM is a pale shadow of what it used to be."

    Damn, no kidding. SatAM ruled back then. From 7 to 11:30, you could always find something good on. Top quality animation. It’s just crappy today, looks half done.

    But, that is my opinion.

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  28. Fredrick2003 says:

    Guess I am alright then.

    My 8th birthday, Super Nintendo Entertainment System + Super Mario World.

    Ah…  good times…

  29. Chaplain99 says:

    Agreed, but in fewer words.

    I could argue for greater spacial development through the use of video games in early childhood, but that’d be arguing for the sake of arguing.

    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  30. Cecil475 says:

    I started when I was seven. At least I think I was seven. How old were you when you started?

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  31. Hypevosa says:

    Honestly, I don’t believe kids should play videogames before the age of say 8.  I’m an avid gamer, and played games probably earlier than that, but I don’t believe a child should be seeking outside entertainment until they’ve learned to make it for themselves first, or else you rob them of crucial personal development.

    I learned in intro to psychology that a developing child that is exposed to alot of diverse stimuli developes a better brain and better cognitive skills.  I immediately thought "Well, videogames provide an intense amount of diverse optical and aural stimuli, the only thing missing is the touch and the smell component which could be supplemented by holding the child often.  Videogames and television could be a key tool to helping a child develope."  Well I remember a few days later coming accross a study and a few stories while researching it, suggesting that wasn’t the case.  Apparently the amount of stimuli delivered by games and TV is so enormous, that a child becomes dependent on it, unable to be stimulated as well by anything outside those mediums.  The story I heard was of one detailed by my mother of a child in a stroller who was of speaking age, fixated on a little television screen with spongebob episodes on it.  The child was learning nothing of its outside world, not asking questions, not interacting in any way but with the little light box in its stroller.  I don’t believe that in moderation videogames would detract from a child’s development, but allowing a child to become dependent on it in that parent’s case would deffinately inhibit the child’s growth.

    While I agree with the thought behind this bill, I don’t believe that the government should be bullying people into this.  It should be a concious effort of the parents and the daycares to try and raise children in a healthier way, much like parents should be the ones who monitor what their kid plays, NOT the government.  The government should be in place to deal with national unescapable issues like crime, war, safety, and the environment.  Outside those, you enter into the microcosm that is the lives of individual people, and that’s where the person should be the one who’s protecting themselves and others with their own judgements and actions.  We shouldn’t become dependent on government for guidance, we should be able to depend on ourselves.

    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

  32. Cecil475 says:

    "Kids play video games in day care? wtf? I never got to play video games in day care! When the hell did THIS start happening? x__x"

    I did. I played this game I wanted before I had gotten it off of layway at walmart. I was ten, and the game was Super Mario Bros. 3. Played against quite a few people and a mulitude of NES games.

    They had a TV and a snack machine set up. If you wanted to go outside, then you did. If you wanted to go outside, then you did. If you wanted to watch TV, you sat down and did. Same with the day care center, when the TV was on, you could sit and watch tv or go outside, or go somewhere else. Snacks was a couple of cookies and juice.

    Of course this was almost 20 years ago, and one daycare center may operate differently than others.

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  33. nightwng2000 says:

    I didn’t play video games while in day care/preschool either.

    But then, that was in the early ’70s anyway.

    I still say I ended up with the better Saturday Morning shows.  So there!  😛


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  34. Chaplain99 says:

    I played video games at my daycare, but it wasn’t an "official" daycare; I was taken care of by my best friend’s grandparents when I was younger.  ^^

    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  35. Kajex says:


    Kids play video games in day care? wtf? I never got to play video games in day care! When the hell did THIS start happening? x__x

    … I think I’m sad now. 🙁

  36. Icehawk says:

    Only affects….  Um most of them do in some way, might as well try to say ONLY any public school that received funding or a church that accepts donations. 

    Tell me, what better way to try to push across a mindset (like games or wrong for example) then to control the mind of the young?  Advertisers have been doing it for years.

    Thing is this lady has no right to try to push her views off like this.  Seems that she wants to meddle in things and that if she cannot do it herself she will try to get the goverment to do it for her.  As mentioned this is directed at those centers that recieve money for food, lets limit the influence to food/menu and stay the hell out of the rest.   

    I am really tired of the "Think of the Children/Save the Children" bits.  The race has gotten along for better than 2000 years without needing any of this.  Private business is just that, private.  As long as it is legal then stay the hell out of it. 

  37. Brokenscope says:

    Hey folks, before we go all "DAMN GOVERNMENT QUIT MEDDLING" lets try to remember that this only affects childcare centers that get government funding.

  38. CMiner says:

    That is a better way of putting it.  I don’t actually have kids, or deal with daycares.  Was just trying to emphasis that I’d rather do the choosing in this, than have the government choose for me.

  39. TBoneTony says:



    Kids can’t play PONG or Super Mario Bros because it is not educational enough?

    Come on, these people who make up these laws for child daycare are taking all the fun away from videogames all because some are not healthy or educational.

    Also what about Sim City or Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago? If they are taken off the list because they are not educational enough, then these people are nuts.


    Family and Child Daycare can have any videogame they want for all that I care as long as it is rated E for Everyone then there should be no problem.

    These family groups and politicians can stuff this bill up their butts for all I care because they show a complete lack of respect for videogames and they should be given no respect in return for their outdated beliefs.



    Also this bill seems to only affect the government runned child care services, so therefore all this bill would encourage parents to stay away from gov funded child care centres.


  40. Vake Xeacons says:

    Well, I’m a member on my local Headstart’s policy councel, and I can tell you, this is the kind of stuff they regulate anyway.

    I don’t know of any HS program that allows TV or games, except on special occasions, but stuff like the food and educational materials is all regulated to begin with. I don’t see this changing anything, or do I feel it’s unconstitutional. Laws that regulate stuff in the home is bad, but these are government funded programs; laws concerning them are passed all the time. Most are pretty good, such as this one.

  41. nightwng2000 says:

    Seems pretty all encompassing.  But, more healthy foods tend to be more expensive.  Hence, many child care centers can be expected to raise prices.

    Also, if the center relies on TV, video games, and other such items to keep the children busy, as opposed to being outside all day long, then paying for higher insurance costs to keep the kids outside may become necessary.  Also, purchasing sufficient materials to keep the kids occupied may also be necessary.

    Well, the first paragraph is more likely anyway.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  42. Jarrodw says:

    This is no good.  I run a program in some day cares in CA that uses games to develop social and academic skills in children and I’m not using "educational games".  As the bill is worded it doesn’t affect me, but it’s a little too close to home for my liking.

  43. d20sapphire says:

    If a daycare has to worry about the schedule of 10 to twenty kids in a given day, it can’t work out separate schedules for each kid effectively.  Unless you want to raise the price of daycare by having a staffer for each 1 to 2 kids.  

    If you’re just talking about going to a daycare and seeing how things are run before signing your kid up for it, than that just seems logical and good parenting.

  44. CMiner says:

    While I support this in concept, I still have something of a problem with the government regulating it.

    I’d rather go and talk to my day care provider about their services and work something out myself, based on what I want for my child, rather than having the government mandate these things.

    Generally speaking, I’m in favor of the government having less power, not more.  As small and unobjectionable as this bill may be, I’m still uncomfortable with it.

    Edit: Read, then forgot, then read again the ‘receive federal funding’ part.  Still uncomfortable with it, as the funding is just for the food program and again with the ‘less government control’, but when you accept federal funds you voluntarily open yourself up to that..

  45. d20sapphire says:

    Giving standards for kids is a lot better than telling parents how to parent their children, which this law is not about.  It has that nanny-state vibe but it’s not telling parents what to do with their own kids in their own homes, which I think is the legislation we should be more worried about.

  46. Alex says:

    It’s not just games though, which I normally wouldn’t object to but the thing is they’re proposing no more than one hour a day of "TV, computers, and video games."

    I watched movies at daycare, among other things. There goes that. Can’t even watch one full movie in an hour.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  47. nighstalker160 says:

    I don’t particularly see a problem with this. I wouldn’t want my kids spending all day at their day-care playing games.

    However, I think there’s a big difference between a non-educational game like Halo and a non-educational game like Super Mario Galaxy.

    They could definitely have one or two just "fun" games at the center to be used when say they can’t go outside cause of rain, too hot, or whatever.

    After all, I really feel we’re burning our kids out in this country with our "you must always be doing something productive…" attitude. It just makes kids upset, angry, jaded and cynical when we tell them "Fun is bad, if you aren’t learning or being productive you’re a failure!"

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