(Register-Herald (Beckley, WV) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 20--Sen. Jay Rockefeller has introduced legislation that would study the impact of violent television and video games on children.
"This week, we are all focused on protecting our children. At times like this, we need to take a comprehensive look at all the ways we can keep our kids safe. I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day," he shared.
If passed, the bill would direct the National Academy of Science to conduct a comprehensive study and investigation on harmful programming's effects on children, specifically if watching violent imagery causes kids to act aggressively or otherwise hurts their well-being.
The bill would additionally examine if current aspects of games, like their interactive nature and the personal and vivid way violence is portrayed, have a unique impact.
If passed, the bill would require the National Academy of Science to submit a report on its investigation within 18 months to Congress as well as to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
Rockefeller said he will also be asking the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to review the effectiveness of the video game ratings systems.
"Changes in technology now allow kids to access violent content on-line with less parental involvement. It is time for these two agencies to take a fresh look at these issues," stressed the senator.
He said that by the time a child is 18, he or she has seen tens of thousands of violent images.
"While we don't know if such images impacted the killer in Newtown, the issue of violent content is serious and must be addressed," he said.
"Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children. They have a responsibility to protect our children. If they do not, you can count on the Congress to take a more aggressive role."
This bill's introduction comes on the heels of Rockefeller's statement on Monday that Congress "has not done enough" to protect children and families from the kind of violence that occurred on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut
Rockefeller said he voted for the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban in 1994, which also included a ban of high capacity clips.
"It's unacceptable that it hasn't been reauthorized. West Virginia has a proud hunting tradition and respect for the Second Amendment. But most hunters I talk with know that prohibiting the use of military-grade weapons or clips that can fire dozens of rounds in a matter of seconds will not impact those traditions, nor do they have a place on our streets," he said.
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