Recently, we received a correspondence in the form of a newsletter from the ECA (Entertainment Consumer Association). In the newsletter, the ECA announced that the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 has been rewritten and reissued in the form of a new bill bearing the same name. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2012, if passed, will require all video games, except those with EC (Early Childhood) ratings to be stamped with a warning. The label will read as follows; WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.
We are all gamers, in some form or another, and we know this to be not true. Poorly drafted bills, and inaccurate misconceptions have led those without knowledge to believe that video games have a negative effect on those that play them. If this bill were to pass, even games with an ESRB rating of ‘E for Everyone’ would be subject to this very label. Here is what the ECA had to say about the resurrection of this bill:
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.
Obviously, we as gamers have to do our part, and fight against ignorance and intolerance towards the industry we love. The ECA asks that you contact your elected officials and tell them how inaccurate and absurd this bill is. It was beaten down once before, but it must be defeated again! If you want to know more, you can view the ECA Action Alert page here. Also, you can visit the ECA website and become a member here.