The Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) has issued an action alert, a call to arms for gamers everywhere to let their elected officials know that The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2012 wasn't acceptable in 2009 and is not acceptable now. Rep. Joe Baca (D CA-43) has teamed up with Rep. Frank Wolf (R VA-10) to reintroduce a bill that is very familiar to gamers. If passed, the bill would require that ALL Video Games except those rated "Early Childhood" (EC) be labeled with a dramatic warning for parents:
"WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior."
While the congressmen cite "growing evidence" that shows causation, anyone that followed the Supreme Court case Brown v. EMA knows that not even the highest court in the land saw conclusive proof that video games cause violent or aggressive behavior. In fact, the scientific community seems to be completely divided on the good and ill that video games can cause.
So what can you do about it as a gamer, consumer, and citizen? You can send your elected representative a strong statement expressing opposition to this bill. Here's what the ECA's action alert page says about it:
Rep. Joe Baca (D CA-43), along with Rep. Frank Wolf (R VA-10) as co-sponsor, thinks its 2009 again and have introduced H.R. 4204, “The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2012.” This bill, if passed, would require a warning label be affixed to all games rated E (for Everyone) or up by the ESRB, regardless of the content descriptors. The warning would read: `WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.' The ECA needs your help to make sure this bill does not become law. Congress is simply misinformed on this issue. While Congressman Baca has cited “scientific studies,” the vast majority of studies show that there is no proven causal link between violent video games and negatively aggressive behavior. In fact, several studies suggest that playing video games can be helpful to young people, such as this study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Further, the bill requires the label on games that are not rated E or above for violence, which could confuse parents and undermine the ESRB, which according to the FTC is the most enforced media retail system. “The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2012” is an unconstitutional restraint on speech that would harm consumers and parents alike. Please join with the ECA. Let your Representatives know that you want them to let the industry and parents continue to use a system that works, and have Congress stay focused on the real problems facing our nation.
[Full disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]