In the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Star-Ledger newspaper, IGDA chair of the Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee Daniel Greenberg says that New Jersey lawmakers are "playing games with truth." He is referring to bill S2715, which mandates that public schools in New Jersey through the state Department of Education spread disinformation about video games to parents. The bill calls for schools to send materials home with children that tell parents that "children who play violent video games are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates."
Greenburg explains in his letter that there is no research to support such an outrageous claim, and reminds Star-Ledger readers that New Jersey game developers recently sent Gov. Chris Christie data on research that says exactly the opposite. Ultimately there's no proof that video games do anything more than cause momentary aggression – which is normal when engaging in a number of activities that kids engage in like games of tag, playing little league, or kicking a soccer ball around the yard with friends.
At the end of it all Greenberg urges the governor to side with the truth about video games and to veto S2715.
You can read the letter in its entirety below:
Why does the New Jersey Legislature want to misinform children and parents? Lawmakers just forced the state Department of Education to spread disinformation about video games. Their bill, S2715, claims “children who play violent video games are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates.”
Those claims have been debunked by the scientific community and “rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason” in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, which pointed out that the effects of playing violent video games “are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media,” like Bugs Bunny cartoons.
S2715 requires the Education Department to add new information “when it becomes available.” So the New Jersey game developer community sent Gov. Chris Christie scientific studies showing that imaginary violence does not cause real violence. If that information is not added, has the state violated the law? As long as Christie vetoes this unconstitutional bill, we won’t have to find out.
Christie has dared to tell politically unpopular truths about New Jersey taxpayers subsidizing Kentucky taxpayers and President Obama’s disaster relief accomplishments. We ask him to continue telling truth to power with a veto of S2715.
Daniel Greenberg, chair, Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee, International Game Developers Association