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NJ SAFE Task Force Calls For Game Regulation, More Education

Video game regulation may be just around the corner…

The New Jersey SAFE Task Force has provided the public with an in-depth report, which ultimately asks state governor Chris Christie to regulate games sold in the state. It also asks for increased education efforts, and a review of how violent media affects those who are exposed to it, especially children.

The report points to "the interactive nature" of gaming as reason for possible regulation, and the first regulatory action they recommend is that minors must be accompanied by an adult when purchasing games with an "M" (Mature) or "AO" (Adults Only) rating. The group is also saying retailers need to request ID before they sell such games. The Task Force further asks that violent games be removed from state property, especially highway rest areas, as children could be exposed to such experiences in public areas.

They're asking that the Department of Education help educate gamers about how to make "healthy media choices" for their children, and the group recommends industry associations within the state to conduct a comprehensive public information campaign. This would be designed for the sake of further explaining the ESRB ratings. However, the group also wanted to make something else plain:

"Our recommendations are provided cognizant of the fact that violent media has received a great deal of blame for youth violence in the recent past, but most people agree that exposure to media violence alone does not cause a child to commit a violent act.

While several major public health organizations have voiced their shared conviction that exposure to violent media leads to more aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, they have also acknowledged that it is not the sole, or even the most important, factor contributing to youth aggression, anti-social attitudes, and violence."

Most of this sounds logical and reasonable and personally, I've always thought it should be a law that minors have to be accompanied by an adult when purchasing M-rated games. Got no problem with that. And at least they're acknowledging that video games don't automatically create mass murderers…which is more than most politicians have done these days.

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11 years ago

So they will make sure that what already happens 99% of the time happens 99.99% of the time? Whatever.

11 years ago

Well finally someone taking the middle ground. I have seen Game Stores both ask for ID already and others could careless, all part of the same store chain. The industry needs to be aware. On top of the Game Industry and its retail parters taking apart in safeguarding things to who they sell the product too, parents and others need to be aware of what the little ones and even some teens are buying, watching, listening and playing.

Its tough enough as a parent in this day and age. If we all actually worked together this may someday be a lot less of an issue or even mute.

Keep Playing!

11 years ago

Not to make light, but lets hope that whoever set up the bombs in Boston (if it's a regular dude) never touched a videogame in his life. Or the shit storm we shall get from that is gonna pale to all this stuff that has come from Sandy Hook.

11 years ago

Sandy Hook is pretty much the only reason that this is happening. The media were very quick to latch onto videogames as an explanation for the tragedy and this report, as mild as it may seem comes from the same assumption that games are somehow more damaging than other forms of media.
A 17-year old minor would have to be accompanied by parents to buy Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto but could purchase a ticket for an R-rated movie or a horror novel without anyone offering a second glance? Why is this unique level of scrutiny being applied to games? Maybe you think think that films and books will be looked at, but you're wrong. Those forms of media are well-established and have politically powerful lobbies ready to fight for them. This will come down to games and games alone.
Calling for state regulation-probably accompanied by a special tax-is a backdoor means of censorship without all of those messy First Amendment questions getting in the way. This is for the good of the children; who could possibly object to that, right? Children are the trump card of American politics. You can excuse any damn thing as long as you claim that you're doing it for them.
It's all well and good to say that we should be reasonable and engage in dialogue with our critics but it's a pointless exercise. Look at the statements made by Senators Rockefeller and Feinstein. There's no basis for discussion there! They've made their minds and no amount of talk or scientific evidence to the contrary will sway them. These moderate sounding words coming from New Jersey SAFE are no different.

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