UK MP Keith Vaz Calls for Debate on Video Games Buoyed by Indiana University Research

Leicester East MP (United Kingdom) Keith Vaz is at it again, now buoyed by research released last week that found that violent video games change the brain in young adult males. The MP has called for a debate on the harmful effect of violent games just as parents are considering buying them as presents for their children during the holiday shopping season.

Vaz, who serves as the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the House of Commons yesterday that new data released by researchers at Indiana University's School of Medicine showed that playing violent games led to "physical changes" in the brain.

Vaz emphasized during his comments that the debate was aimed at protecting children and was not about censorship. Following his comments, House of Commons leader Sir George Young said that he would alert Home Secretary Theresa May about Vaz's concerns.

"I am very concerned that as Christmas approaches, parents may be thinking of putting violent video games under the tree for their children," Vaz told the Mercury. "As the research published this week by the Indiana School of Medicine shows, violent video games can have a physical effect on the brain after just one week of playing them."

Vaz also called on the government to implement recommendations of a 2008 report by psychologist Tanya Byron that was commissioned by the Labour Government. That report, he says, called for stricter parental controls on some video games.

"The important thing to remember is most video games are not violent," noted Dr. Richard Wilson, chief executive officer of TIGA, the trade association which represents the UK's games industry. "The average age of video game players is late 20's and, therefore, it is right to have some games geared towards adult players."

"The Government report by Tanya Byron did not conclude young children who play violent games become desensitized to violence," he added. "It said more research was needed in the area. There is a rating system for games to make sure young people do not play violent games and the industry takes the regulation of games very seriously."

Source: This is Leicestershire

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  1. 0
    edmoss87 says:

    The situation in the UK is different from the that of the US. The Brown Vs. EMA decision was that the sale of video games to minors should not be legally restricted, whereas in the UK it is already legally restricted, so the Brown Vs. EMA decision is somewhat irrelevant.

    To be honest, I am somewhat concerned that politicians such as Vaz (and some members of the public) do not think that the current restrictions are adequate, since the cover is already pretty comprehensive.

  2. 0
    black manta says:

    Seriously, I thought after the Brown Vs. EMA decision that this whole discussion was over…at least in the U.S.  The right side won: video games are protected speech, end of story.  The Indiana University study to me was like closing the barn door after the horses have been let out; it's pretty much irrelevant now.  I guess Vaz never got the memo. cheeky

  3. 0
    Freyar says:

    Isn’t this the same guy that refused a debate further away from the Holidays? So.. now that it’s closer to the Holidays and all sorts of people are looking to get gifts for each other (be they violent or not), he’s deciding it’s important now to discuss it?

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "That report, he says, called for stricter parental controls on some video games."

    I don't recall that bit but it's been years since I've read it.

    EDIT: I've browsed around a bit and it appears all the Byron Report said on the subject was that parental controls needed to be made more accessible.  And that's true.  Some of the console's controls are confusing even to those of us who understand these things.


    Andrew Eisen

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