Monday, March 20, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

The 6 Myths Driving the Push for Video Game Regulation

I've just released a new paper entitled "Fact and Fiction in the Debate over Video Game Regulation." At the state and local level, over 75 measures have been proposed that would regulate the electronic gaming sector in same fashion. More importantly, another new federal bill was introduced recently that would establish a federal enforcement regime for video games sales and require ongoing regulatory scrutiny of industry practices. S. 2126, the "Family Entertainment Protection Act" (FEPA), was introduced last December by Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Evan Bayh (D-IN) to limit the exposure of children to violent video games.

In my essay, I address several of the most common myths or misperceptions that are driving this push to regulate the electronic gaming sector. My general conclusions are as follows:

* The industry's ratings system is the most sophisticated, descriptive, and effective ratings system ever devised by any major media sector in America.

* The vast majority of video games sold each year do not contain intense violence or sexual themes.

* Just as every state law attempting to regulate video games so far has been struck down as unconstitutional, so too will the FEPA.

* The FEPA could derail the industry's voluntary ratings system and necessitate the adoption of a federally mandated regulatory regime / ratings system.

* No correlation between video games and aggressive behavior has been proven. Moreover, almost every social / cultural indicator of importance has been improving in recent years and decades even as media exposure and video game use among youth has increased.

* Video games might have some beneficial effects--especially of a cathartic nature--that critics often overlook. And, contrary to what some critics claim, violent themes and images have been part of literature and media for centuries.

I encourage you to read the entire paper for more details. It can be found online here:

posted by Adam Thierer @ 1:40 PM | Free Speech , Mass Media