The glorification of violence in video games, on television and over the Internet numbs our children to the destructive consequences of real-life violence. Because we need to enact common-sense measures that will make it harder for minors to get their hands on video games that feature realistic violence and sexual content, I supported the Safe Games Act of 2007 (A.9310).
The bill would make it a Class E felony – punishable by up to four years in prison – to disseminate video games that contain both violence and sexually explicit content to minors. The bill has been carefully crafted in order to address constitutional issues the courts have identified in striking down recent legislation in several other states.
In addition, the bill requires new controls on every video game console sold – allowing parents to prevent the display or use of video games containing this and other adult content. It also requires video games to carry a rating in order to help inform parents about the game’s content.
The result of an agreement among the Assembly, Senate and governor that was hammered out in a legislative conference committee, the legislation was approved by the Assembly. Our families need the Senate to take up this important piece of legislation and pass it so it can become law. With the summer upon us and children out of school, we need to ensure the games they play are truly safe forms of entertainment.
The bill would also establish the Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence to:
- address the impact of interactive media and similar entertainment devices on minors;
- review the Entertainment Software Ratings Board’s rating system;
- study the potential of establishing a parent-teacher awareness program to identify and assist students who may have a propensity toward inappropriate behavior; and
- develop effective intervention programs against youth violence through public education programs.
Violent and sexual images reach children from many sources in today’s society. This measure will help give parents a tool to keep their children from being exposed to the nudity and brutality portrayed in some video games. I look forward to the Senate acting on this legislation and the governor signing it into law.