The United States government’s Federal Commission on School Safety has released the final copy of a report on school safety. The report was commissioned to research and recommend solutions to advance the safety of schools in the United States following a mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year.
The report itself is broken down into three sections (prevent, protect and mitigate, and respond and recover) each of which contains several, more focused chapters on individual issues and topics. The entire report can be found here.
Video games—along with movies, music, television, social media, books, and graphic novels— are covered in chapter 7 of the section on prevention under ‘Violent Entertainment and Rating Systems’. According to one study cited in the report, roughly 68 percent of video games depict violence in some way. This is compared to, from the same study, 90 percent of movies, 60 percent of TV shows, and 15 percent of music videos.
"Children have 24/7 access to multiple forms of entertainment at their fingertips," reads the chapter’s opening paragraph. "Their exposure to violent entertainment is of particular concern—in television, video games, social media, music, movies, graphic novels, and books. Violent content is ubiquitous across these platforms and continues to grow."
The report cites a variety of studies on both sides of the video game violence conversation and digs into the efficiency of rating systems like the ESRB, a system that the report says “has gained high levels of trust among parents.
According to a 2016 analysis of the ESRB, 86 percent of parents are aware of the rating’s system while 73 percent say that they check a game’s ESRB rating before purchasing a game for their kids. Still, at the close of the chapter, the Federal Commission on School Safety recommends that “all of [the self-regulators] should review and improve policies to ensure access to content is limited to age-appropriate consumers,” while also recommending that educational agencies and school leadership should focus on strengthening internet safety measures at schools.