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January 24, 2013

Johanns Introduces Legislation Studying Impact of Violent Content on Children

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) today introduced legislation directing a federal study into the possible impact violence in movies, television and video games could pose to children.

“In order to have an honest discussion about violence and how to best prevent it in the future, we need to examine the underlying causes of these actions,” Johanns said. “Our kids are routinely exposed to movies, television and video games that glorify violence and allow them to simulate violent acts. This legislation will allow us to study what, if any, impact this exposure has on our youth, and if it encourages or desensitizes our children to the real-life consequences of violence.”

The legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services to work with the National Academy of Sciences to investigate potential harmful effects exposure to violent content could have on children. 

The study would specifically examine whether violent video games and media programming cause kids to act aggressively or have other harmful effects. Finally, the study would examine what, if any, unique impact violent video game trends have on children, specifically with respect to their interactive nature and vivid portrayal of violence.

The report would be due 15 months after the legislation is signed into law.

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