Is there a direct correlation between violent video games and violent acts committed by young people? Most studies say no, but most also say that there is a correlation between violent video games and increased aggression. Note that aggression and violence are not one in the same, but your elected officials don’t care about semantics.
The Hill reports that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously approved the Violent Content Research Act. The bill, which was drafted by Sen. Jay Rockefeller in the wake of the Newtown shooting, would have the National Academy of Sciences conduct research on whether or not violent video games, movies and television have any impact on children.
Rockefeller says that his bill is all about protecting our children from those darn, whacky video games:
“I strongly believe that we need to address all components of gun violence if we have a fighting chance at protecting our families and communities. This includes studying the levels of violence in the video games our children play and the media they watch.”
This particular bill can only authorize research into violent video games, but it’s pretty obvious that the findings will be used to push legislation that would seek to regulate the sale of violent video games. The gaming industry sees a few bills every year that try to single out video games for this kind of legislation, and it always gets beaten back by the courts. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that a California law that sought to regulate violent video game sales was unconstitutional.
Of course, it should be noted that Rockefeller’s bill will still have to make its way through the Senate and the House before it can become law. I don’t see that being much of a problem though. Congress needs a scapegoat after failing to pass any new gun regulations earlier this year, and video games remain one of the best scapegoats there is.