Violence on television, in movies, videogames, books, and on the internet is damaging to children. Years of research concludes that repeated exposure to high levels of violence teaches some children and adolescents to settle interpersonal difference with violence, while teaching many more to be indifferent to this solution. Under the media's tutelage, children at younger and younger ages are using violence as a first, not a last, resort to conflict.
A proposed amendment to a juvenile justice bill that would have made it a criminal act to sell or show any explicit violent material to a minor was rejected by the
House of Representatives by a vote of 282 to 146. The violent materials specifically included videogames, movies and books. Most of the Representatives voting against it were concerned that it would be deemed unconstitutional.
Before the Columbine shooting in April, the bill, called the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 1999, was an effort to address youth violence by focusing on prevention and prosecution.
Democrats pushed for counseling, after school programs and anti-gang initiatives, while Republicans wanted tougher sentences for juvenile crimes. Despite representatives' repeatedly stating there were no easy solutions to the complex problems of situations like Columbine, both parties alike pointed fingers at a number of targets: the gun industry, Hollywood, the court system, godless schools, and videogames. The result was only one measure passed, one which allows the Ten Commandments to be displayed at schools. This despite a similar effort being deemed unconstitutional almost 20 years ago.
The amendment about videogame violence was proposed by Illinois Republican Henry Hyde, who wrote a piece in the Washington Post and was recently re-published in Computer Games Strategy Plus. He sates, "real life tragedies have become frightening symbols of our crisis of the soul, mirroring constant and graphic...