State Senator Leland Yee (D), author of California's contested video game law, has issued a press release urging parents to avoid violent video games when shopping for their children during the holiday season.
In doing so Yee referenced a recent longitudinal study which linked violent games to aggression in Japanese and American children:
There is mounting evidence that such ultraviolent video games have negative effects on children, and can cause real behavioral changes....
Eighty-seven percent of children between 8 and 17 years of age play video or computer games and about 60 percent list their favorite games as rated M for Mature, which are games designed for adults. It is vitally important that parents and grandparents consider the content in video games before making holiday purchases.
Yee cited the National Institute on Media and the Family's Annual Video Game Report Card, which includes a list of ten violent games to avoid. The Democratic State Senator also offered these guidelines to parents:
- Be aware of advertising and marketing to children. Advertising pressure contributes to impulse buying.
- Check the age ratings video game descriptors found on the box.
- Read other reviews, such as www.mediafamily.org, www.commonsensemedia.org, www.parentstv.org, and www.whattheyplay.com
- Become familiar with the game.
- If there are violence and sexual themes in the title and cover picture, you can assume these themes are also in the game.
- Look for games involving multiple players to encourage group play.
- Pick games that require the player to come up with strategies and make decisions in a game environment that is more complex than punch, steal, and kill.
- Avoid the “first person shooter” and “third person shooter” killing-machine games.
- Discourage games that reward the player with more points or new scenes for anti-social and violent behavior.
GP: We should note that the findings of the longitudinal study referenced by Yee have been called into question by at least one other prominent game violence researcher.