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Lawmakers propose bill on video game violence

  Legislators in the Georgia house of assembly convened yesterday to propose a bill concerning the sale of violent video games to minors. This new bill would make it illegal to market games that contain excessive amounts of graphical violence to minors under the age of 18. The standard for what games would fall under this bill would be the same as those rated as such by the ESRB. The intent is to create a legal precedent that would make selling these games a misdemeanor offense, and would be the first such bill in the video game industry to impose criminal penalties for failure to comply with what has been, until now, a self regulated industry.

   Even though no studies were cited to back up the allegations, lawmakers included language in the bill that indicated a deep concern about the marketing of violent material to minors. "As confirmed by current scientific data, the repeated exposure to graphic violence and participation in violent interactive games may contribute to violent behavior by our youth and desensitizes them to acts of violence." However, this statement is rather bold considering the lack of definitive scientific data to back it, yet seems to echo similar reports filed by the Surgeon General's office in the past.

   While similar bills have been proposed in the past, including the overturned bill in Indianapolis prohibiting minors from playing violent games in arcades without parental supervision, none have been successful.

2/14/2002 Ryan Hartmann

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