Video Games and Their Effect on Children

ImageDue to the correlation between violent video games and violent behavior, I’ll be introducing a bill that would prohibit video games containing mature and adult content in public places.

The bill comes as a report from the New Jersey SAFE Task Force on Gun Protection, Addiction, released by the state Attorney General last week, listed the regulation of violent video games among its recommendations to mend the root causes of mass violence.

Games that are meant for older, more mature audiences have no place in places where children can easily access them. Video games alone do not influence violent behavior, but they can play a role. Some of the most prolific mass shootings not just in this country, but in the world had links to violent video games. The longer a child is exposed to video games where killing is the sole objective, the greater the chance that he or she will become numb to this type of behavior and even consider it acceptable. This bill would ensure that video games with graphic adult content would not be available to children who are not old enough to make a distinction between fantasy and reality.

My bill would prohibit operators of  a place of public accommodation from making video games with an Entertainment Software Rating Board rating of “mature” or “adults only” available for use by the public. The bill specifies that a violation of the bill would be considered an unlawful practice. An unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act is punishable by a monetary penalty of no more than $10,000 for a first offense, and no more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. In addition, a violation can result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured.

For the purposes of this bill, “place of public accommodation” means any inn, tavern, roadhouse, hotel, motel, trailer camp, summer camp, day camp, or resort camp, whether for entertainment of transient guests or accommodation of those seeking health, recreation or rest; any producer, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retail shop, store, establishment, or concession dealing with goods or services of any kind; any restaurant, eating house, or place where food is sold for consumption on the premises; any place maintained for the sale of ice cream, ice and fruit preparations or their derivatives, soda water or confections, or where any beverages of any kind are retailed for consumption on the premises; any garage, any public conveyance operated on land or water, or in the air, any stations and terminals thereof; any bathhouse, boardwalk, or seashore accommodation; any auditorium, meeting place, or hall; any theatre, motion-picture house, music hall, roof garden, skating rink, swimming pool, amusement and recreation park, fair, bowling alley, gymnasium, shooting gallery, billiard and pool parlor, or other place of amusement; any comfort station; any dispensary, clinic or hospital; any public library; any kindergarten, primary and secondary school, trade or business school, high school, academy, college and university, or any educational institution under the supervision of the State Board of Education, or the Commissioner of Education of New Jersey.

Children today are exposed to violent images more than ever. Violent video games can desensitize children to violence and give them a warped version of reality where violence and death have no consequences outside their TV screens. This bill hopes to minimize this exposure, which if prolonged and coupled with other factors can have a devastating effect.

photo credit: clevercupcakes via photopin cc

One thought on “Video Games and Their Effect on Children

  1. Hi Linda,

    I am a 25 year old male who has been playing video games since I was 3 years old. I could barely speak a complete sentence and had the controller in my hands. I played in arcades, home consoles like the NES, and have grown up in a gaming culture. I still today own those games from the late 80s and early 90s all the way up to current stuff. I have played it all, throughout the years, even at a young age. I was vampire slaying in Castlevania at age 6. I was running and gunning in Goldeneye 007 at age 10. I experienced the foul language for Final Fantasy 7 at age 11, and the horrors of watching my friends play Resident Evil 2 at age 12. I blew up aliens in Perfect Dark and Halo at ages 14-15, I cut demons to bloody pieces at age 17 in Devil May Cry and Have been beating up my friends in Super Smash Bros. for the last 13 years. If it was a genre, I probably played it. I raced fast cars, participated in multiple world wars, even more alien wars, commaded the US Army, saved zelda and peach, and saved the world all in days work.

    Yet, i’ve never blown up anyone, I’ve never shot anyone, I’ve never killed anyone, and I’ve never raped anyone. I think I turned it out pretty good. I’m married, have my own place, have plenty of loving friends and family and do a lot for many different communities. Are you saying that growing up, I should’ve never had access to those games that were violent? Are you saying that they were a determent to my youth? What i’d like to tell you is simply that honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’ve used even the most violent and “repulsive” games to serve others and serve God. Are there games that go over the line? Sure there are. That’s why they are rated M and require a valid drivers license to be purchased. But to say games like that exist in the arcade realm is just silly at best. The only thing you’ll end up doing here is making arcades require ID just to get in, which will probably put many of them out of business. Part of the draw of the arcade is the wide array of games it contains. If you haven’t noticed, arcades aren’t exactly flourishing as of lately.

    I’m not desensitized to violence by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t think there has been a devastating impact as you say. In fact, I’ve learned more and become more creative, if anything at all from playing all these games than I ever was. I’ve thought of new ways to solve puzzles and create solutions. And it’s a great way to relax. The reason why? My parents actually parented. They actually taught me moral values and values of life. If you really want to make a difference for someone, stop trying to parent for parents. Let’s embrace parents to actually be parents rather than supplying them with ways to avoid doing so. Why don’t you spend time working on stuff regarding tax laws and tax dodges, that’s a big mess and a much greater issue that could probably use your help.

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