The Entertainment Consumer Association issued a call to action today asking members to tell congress that we do not need additional "warning labels" on video games.
Earlier this week Rep. Joe Baca (D CA-43), along with Rep. Frank Wolf introduced a bill that would put warning labels on video games similar to the kinds of warning labels found on cigarettes. Here's the entirety of the alert (which can be found on the ECA web site):
"Tell Congress That There's No Link Between Video Games and Real Life Violence
Rep. Joe Baca (D CA-43), along with Rep. Frank Wolf (R VA-10) as co-sponsor, thinks its 2009 again and is introducing “The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011.” This bill, if passed, would require a warning label be affixed to all games rated T or up by the ESRB, regardless of the content descriptors. The warning would read: `WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.' The ECA needs your help to make sure this bill does not become law.
Congress is simply misinformed on this issue. While Congressman Baca cites “scientific studies,” the vast majority of studies show that there is no proven causal link between violent video games and negatively aggressive behavior. In fact, several studies suggest that playing video games can be helpful to young people, such as this study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Further, the bill requires the label on games that are not rated T or above for violence, which could confuse parents and undermine the ESRB, which according to the FTC is the most enforced media retail system.
'The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011' is an unconstitutional restraint on speech that would harm consumers and parents alike. Please join with the ECA. Let your Representatives know that you want them to let the industry and parents continue to use a system that works, and have Congress stay focused on the real problems facing our nation.
Simply read the letter below, fill in the form to the right, then click the Send This Message button and your letter will be emailed to your member of Congress."
Further, the ECA issued a statement on the new campaign against additional labels on games:
"This bill, which failed in the last Congress, is another unfortunate attempt to restrain speech," said Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President & General Counsel of the Entertainment Consumers Association. "We agree with the FTC. The ESRB does a great job of labeling video games to empower parents. Baca’s bill would confuse the public, and cost unsightly sums to taxpayers in defending an unconstitutional bill."