Congress wants new warning labels on video games

It seems like every few years a new bill surfaces in DC that attempts to ban so-called “violent” video games or relabel them with yet another, more intrusive rating system.

For many years, the ESRB has labeled video games based on content. Meaning, parents who actually pay attention to what their kids are playing can decide if the games are appropriate.

Frankly, it never ceases to amaze me that certain politicians in Washington believe video games should be rated differently than movies and other content – somehow believing that certain titles may lead to uncontrollable rage and aggressive outbursts from players.

If passed, the latest bill (H.R. 4204) submitted to the US House of Representatives by Rep. Joe Baca and Rep. Frank Wolf would require games to include the following warning label: “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

We all know that statement is complete and utter BS, as you can easily find numerous studies supporting or disproving the above-mentioned claim.

The draft legislation would also require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to force all games within 180 days to wear the new warning label. The catch? All video games would be required to be labeled with that warning, whether or not the game is even violent. Meaning, you could pick up an “E” rated video game, yet it would be forced to carry the questionable warning label – unless it was rated “EC” for early childhood.

The repeated attempts in Washington to get controversial laws such as this passed irk me to no end. Children have been exposed to violence in books for decades and decades and no one feared they were being turned into mindless, violent fiends.

Many classic children’s stories such as Hansel and Gretel and the Wizard of Oz have violence depicted within their pages. It’s only with the massive growth in popularity of video games over the last decade or so that Washington has tried to become the parent. Do you think this bill should become law? I don’t.