US bill calls for cigarette-style warning signs on games

Two members of the US House of Representatives have created a bill calling for cigarette packet-style warnings to be added to video games covers. In the United States, at least.

Joe Baca and Frank Wolf have created The Violence in Video Games Labeling Act which, if passed, will force games companies to prominently display a label stating: "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behaviour."

The two Representatives believe that there is increasing evidence that exposure to violent video games has a long-lasting, serious impact to children and that all titles should carry a health warning.

"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers - to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products," says Baca. "They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.

"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 behaviour."

However, US gaming trade body The Entertainment Software Association does not feel threatened. In a statement sent to website Game Informer it says the bill has been unsuccessful in Congress many times in the past.

"Unfortunately, Representative Baca’s unconstitutional bill - which has been introduced to no avail in each of six successive Congressional sessions, beginning in 2002 - needlessly concerns parents with flawed research and junk science," it says.

"Numerous medical experts, research authorities, and courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, exhaustively reviewed the research Representative Baca uses to base his bill and found it lacking and unpersuasive. Independent scientific researchers found no causal connection between video games and real life violence.”

What do you think? Should there be a health warning on video games? Let us know in the comments below...



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