On Monday, GamePolitics reported that the Entertainment Consumers Association had embarked on a campaign to inform President Barack Obama about the many benefits that video games can provide.
The ECA undertook the campaign following Obama's recent admonition to "put away the Xbox." Over the last few years Obama has often referred to games as something to be set aside in favor of a greater good.
The ECA initiative received wide coverage in the gaming press. In a lengthy interview with The Grumbly Gamer, ECA President Hal Halpin elaborates on why the game consumers' group decided t take its case to the White House:
We [at ECA] had discussed addressing the President’s “put the video games away” aspect of his speeches several times, actually. At issue is the fact that we agree fully with what he’s saying in principle. Parents need to be more involved with what their kids are doing. They need to be more engaged and focus on understanding what media their kids are ingesting. They need to use the ratings systems as a benchmark – and it’s a great first step – but they should really take the few minutes to participate in that media actively.
I also agree that kids get far too much screen time, be it movies, TV, cell phones, the Internet, or computer and video games. So we hesitated a few times, hoping that some other form of screen time would be included as the example. But each time the speech was recycled, we waited with bated breath…and were disappointed that the focus remained on gaming and gamers. It began reinforcing the negative stereotype and was compounded by the media interpreting and reinterpreting his meaning. So we had to act.
A campaign is precisely the way to let the White House, and by extension everyone else, understand that gamers are tired of the mislabeling of both gaming and of gamers. By giving folks the access to our online advocacy tools, they can take the 30 seconds and make their voices heard. It’s fast, easy and free. You don’t need to be an ECA member. Just someone who wants gaming to be treated with the respect that other forms of media enjoy.
The ECA's online campaign referred to write to President Obama may be found here.
FULL DISCLOSURE: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.