New Jersey Task Force Recommends Game Regulation
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
The New Jersey SAFE Task Force turned in its report to Republican Gov. Chris Christie on recommended initiatives to combat violence. Among the provisions was a call to regulate Mature and Adult Only video game sales to minors. The group recommended that minors must be accompanied by an adult to purchase the game as well as an ID check to verify age.
The group is also calling for stores to "conspicuously" display ESRB ratings for games, add rating display stickers to video games, and display its policy for the sale of Mature and Adult Only video games. Finally, the Task Force suggested that violent video games be removed from state-owned property, like highway rest areas, and recommended that the state research violent video game advertising and whether it is marketed toward young people.
The group wrote:
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.
Gov. Christie is not required to abide by the Task Force's recommendations. After reviewing the report, assemblywoman Linda Stender announced plans to introduce a bill to the New Jersey Assembly that would ban video games containing mature and adult content in public places. Fellow New Jersey lawmakers Sean Kean and Holly Schepisi introduced a bill that would outlaw the sale of a Mature or Adult Only rated games in the state to minors without parental consent verbally or through writing.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation removed light-gun arcade games from its state-operated rest stops in response to the Sandy Hook shootings in December. Congress has looked to pass a number of bills to combat the perceived link between violence and video games. Democratic congressman Jim Matheson introduced Bill H.R.287 to the House of Representatives in January in hopes of making ESRB ratings legally binding and President Barack Obama has called for a scientific study investigating the proposed link, leading to open letters from the video game industry asking for no censorship.
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