As a supporter of the Entertainment Consumers Association (The ECA), I have followed closely just how far some politicians and advocacy groups will go to in order to vilify video game and hold video games and gamers responsible for unspeakable tragedies that have occurred over the years. Ever since the Legislative branch of the government took aim at Mortal Kombat for violence in video games, members of local, state and federal legislative offices have tried in some way to regulate and even sometimes ban the sale of video games. They want to find a tangible item to blame to skirt around the real issues of inadequate mental health reform, lack of parental supervision and responsibilities, unenforced gun laws and background checks, and members of the community who still see video games as a primarily child’s hobby.
A while back, I wrote an article (actually more of a rant) talking about how certain parents support these kinds of legal ploys to avoid taking responsibilities for their children and how they lacked raising them responsibly. Sadly, there was one comment on the article that stated that my argument had to validity and my opinion was baseless. Then Newtown happened a few days later and the same point I was trying to make in my piece came to light as immediately members of the media and legislative branches tried to blame video gaming in part for the tragedy. And since that day, the voices of those who would blame video games and regulate who they are sold to and how they are made has grown louder and louder. Now even the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, has been lending his voice to this movement.
Recently, leaders and members of The ECA traveled to Washington, DC to discuss this very topic with Biden and several Senators and House members to see how they could cooperate in trying to solve or question as to whether video games lead to real life violence. And despite being presented with studies supporting the fact that there is no direct correlation between violence in video games and violence in real-life, the members of Congress and the VP himself dismissed them and preferred to continue with the rhetoric and fear mongering making video games a primary villain in these recent events. Biden himself even made the statement to The ECA delegation that they “shouldn’t be afraid of the facts” about a correlation while continuing to ignore facts presented to them in the contrary.
The ECA members presented numbers, studies and facts that disprove the sentiment that violence in video games leads to real world violence. They were told that violent crimes in the US have steadily decreased since 1980, while video game sales have substantially increased in the same amount of time. They were presented with facts and studies that show that other nations which consume more video games than the United States don’t see the same level of violence. The ECA presented study after study showing that there was no connection between fantasy violence and real violence. But none of that seemed to even faze a majority of these people.
These lawmakers are convinced that there’s a connection between video games and violence despite being shown repeatedly that there isn’t. One member even said that a proposed study is “laying the groundwork for new regulations on video games.” So no matter if facts are presented to them, they are going to continue to push for regulating the video game industry – an industry that has been self-regulating its products since the formation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association, known then as the Interactive Digital Software Association.
The ESRB was formed to make the video game industry responsible for the products they manufacture and assign a clear and understandable rating to each game they review alerting consumers of possible situations and scenarios within a game that may not be appropriate for gamers of particular age groups. The ESRB has often been criticized for overrating certain games more harshly than equivalent rating boards have in other countries. And while certain hidden content has slipped past the ESRB in past instances, the board has been quick to react to these issues and is widely seen as a respected and fair rating system that serves the video game industry, consumers and opponents in an efficient manner.
Yet this is not enough for these lawmakers. They want a villain, they want someone or something to blame and they are adamant that video games are a major cause. Some of these lawmakers have even expressed disagreement and disdain for a recent US Supreme Court decision that video games are free speech and are protected by the same rights that protect books, art, film and music.
So where before I talked about this situation with you, our readers, this time I am asking you… begging you to ACT to protect our rights as gamers from the threats and advances of these lawmakers who would legislate our preferred form of entertainment just to quell their uneasiness and fears and a made up connection between video games and violence. Join me, join The ECA in making these Senators, House members and even the Vice President himself that we are united, we are responsible law-abiding citizens and we are aware that they are doing this because they are afraid to tackle the real problems that are underlying factors in tragedies such as Newtown and Aurora. Write to your representing lawmakers on the local, state and federal level and tell them that video games are not the cause. Tell them that we will not stand for them interfering in our business and vilify what we love. Join in in speaking with one voice that we will not take their bullying lying down.
Join The ECA! Join your fellow gamers and together we will make a difference on this issue. Believe you me, I have three kids of my own and I wish I could protect them from all the evils out there. I just don’t see how video games make someone violent. I grew up playing video game and I would like to think that I am a well-adjusted member of society. I obey the laws, I pay my taxes and I have worked with the LAPD for 12 years. And most gamers would be more in line with my mentality than that of someone willing to hurt others. And I believe that is because there is no real connection between violence and video games. We must stop these lawmakers from placing the blame for these tragedies on video game. Should these lawmakers have their way, I fear for what the future of the video game industry in the US will be, not to mention how they would have gotten away with trampling on our rights. We cannot let that happen. Join today.