Bill Introduced To Require Bogus 'Warnings' On Video Games
from the junk-science dept
For years, we’ve looked closely at the various research on video games and aggression, and time and time again what comes up is that there’s no clear link. Sure, some studies purport to show a link, but it’s always in the interpretation, rather than the data. When you dig into the data you find something entirely different. At best, the studies have shown that people get emotional while playing video games, and that emotion may carry over for a short period of time. But there’s nothing that shows it leads to increased violence. In fact, some of the research suggests that such content can often act as an outlet.
So it seems especially ridiculous to find out that Representative Joe Baca has decided to introduce a bill into Congress called the Video Game Health Labeling Act, which would require warning labels on video games which read:
WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior
Of course, this is silly for a whole bunch of reasons. First, it’s not true, as discussed above. Some researchers have claimed this, but the research does not actually support it. Second, what a total waste of time. It’s not as if anyone will actually pay attention to these labels anyway. One of the other backers of the bill, Rep. Frank Wolf made the following statement in support:
“Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents — and children — about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior…. As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games.”
Except, as noted, the scientific evidence says no such thing. And, on top of that, there’s already a (voluntary, but widely used) ratings system for video games, such that any buyers can easily find out about the nature of the games they’re buying. A warning label doesn’t change that at all.