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Health & Parenting

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Ultraviolent Video Games Too Accessible for Kids


A bipartisan group of senators who participated in the release of the findings made clear that they are eyeing tighter regulations on the entertainment industry.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn.), said that he would introduce legislation to give the Federal Trade Commission authority to prosecute those companies who marketed adult games to children.

Last fall, the FTC issued a report that charged that the game, movie, and music industries have been targeting adult material to children.

Lieberman said, "These games numb them to the consequences of violence. If companies are going to make it, we should do everything we can to keep it away from our children."

But White worries that if the legislation passed, software makers "would clearly rate games differently. They would fiddle with the rating system, so more things would be rated E for everyone, because you can't prosecute them for things rated E."

Lieberman and Sens. Herb Kohl, (D-Wis.), and Sam Brownback, (R-Kan.), said they would ask the American Academy of Pediatrics to tell its members to distribute information about the games rating system in their offices.

Lieberman also chided the music and movie industries for failing to act aggressively against targeting violence to children. "Self-regulation is the optimal solution. But if they are not going to act, then we will," he warned.

Don Shifrin, MD, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, tells WebMD that parents should be sure to keep their kids' computers in a family-centered area. He says that clinical studies have shown that the link between exposure to media violence and violent behavior is almost as strong as that between smoking and lung cancer.

"No parent would see this violence going on in their back yard and be very happy about it. But for some reason, when it happens on the screen, we ignore it. We all talk about the 'dumbing down of America,' but there's been the numbing down of America, too. We're so numb to the fact that there's violence everywhere."

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