Assemblyman Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) announced the Assembly passed legislation today that will prohibit the sale of video games that contain realistic depictions of violence and sexual images to minors (A.8696). Under this legislation distributing these video games to minors will be a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
“Children and teenagers are currently able to walk into a store and purchase video games that include graphic depictions of violence and inappropriate nudity,” Magnarelli said. “Many parents don’t know that some games contain such horrific violence. This legislation will ensure that children are not purchasing these games without their parents consent.”
Psychological studies and articles conclude that violence glorified on television, movies and in video games can desensitize an individual to real-life violence. The military uses violent video games to train American soldiers in the skills needed to shoot and kill.
“We restrict our children from purchasing alcohol, cigarettes and violent films that can cause harm. It is logical that we should take the same approach with graphic and violent video games,” said Magnarelli.
This legislation will require that every new video game console sold will include a control system that allows the owner to prevent the display of video games with indecent or adult content. Also, an advisory council will be established to review Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating system, and work with students and children on issues relating to violence in video games.
“Digital media has advanced far beyond our expectations. Our children are surrounded by video game images in our homes, arcades and shopping malls,” said Magnarelli. “The time has come to seriously monitor these digital portrayals of violence and protect our vulnerable children. I urge the Senate to join the Assembly in the passage of this important legislation.”