Beating the prostitutes to death? Killing cops? Drive-by shootings? What fun! It's all part of bringing an interactive motion picture experience right to your living room. Teens will laugh of at the idea anybody trying to regulate the video games they play, and well they might. Efforts so far to keep gruesomely violent images in video games away from youths have been very feeble. The separation of kids and pornography is fairly well enforced, except through unsupervised Internet surfing. But when it comes to the obscene violence of many video games, there's a weak-rating system with no enforcement.
Nearly half of all people playing mature-rated video games, those that have lots of violence and sex, are under 18. In 40 minutes of playing these games, a child will witness over 180 acts of aggression and violence. Youthful video enthusiasts and officials f the Entertainment Software Association insist that violent video games have no effect on kids.
They're simply wrong. Three years ago, a joint statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association said there is a strong consensus that entertainment violence, including in video games, affects the health, well-being and development of children. The statement says that over 1000 studies "point overwhelmingly to a casual connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in children.
The violence being marketed by the $10 billion video game industry is obscene, and it should be treated like pornography. It poses a serious enough risk to kids that it must be regulated. Our society keeps many things out of reach of children, such as alcohols and tobaccos, because we have a special responsibility to protect children until they...