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Common Sense Media Claims 72 Percent Support Violent Game Bill

Common Sense Media says poll respondents "feel the video game industry is not doing enough" to regulate content, claiming 72 percent of adults favor the California legislation headed to the Supreme court.

Leigh Alexander, Contributor

September 13, 2010

2 Min Read

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider California's violent video game legislation, parents' group Common Sense Media is claiming that almost 72 percent of adults are in favor of the law. The group, a nonprofit whose activities relate to the intersection of children, families and the media world, cites a Zogby poll of 2,100 adults surveyed over three days in August to arm its stance that the sale of "ultra-violent" video games to minors should be illegal. The video game industry in the U.S. has been adherent to a self-regulatory method, under which the Entertainment Software Ratings Board uses package labels and education campaigns to inform consumers about which content is solely intended for adults and which is suitable for kids and families. Modern consoles also feature parental controls that allow parents to restrict and monitor their children's gaming time. But Common Sense Media says its poll respondents "feel the video game industry is not doing enough to protect kids from accessing these games," according to group founder and CEO James Steyer. The Supreme Court will begin hearing the case on November 2, 2010, and Common Sense is asserting that stricter legal provisions to enforce content consumption is something most parents want. "What we’ve learned from this poll is that parents want to be the ones who decide which games their kids play, not the video game industry," Streyer adds. According to the Zogby poll, 65 percent of parents say they are "concerned about the impact of ultra-violent video games on their kids," and 75 percent of parents have a negative view of the ways in which the game industry protects children from unsuitable content. Common Sense says that more than half of parents and adults in the poll rate the industry "poorly". To advocate its message, Common Sense has assembled an example video it's uploaded to YouTube that collages extreme footage it calls "the type of video game under discussion in [the Supreme Court] case." The video montage opens with a section specifying violence against women, opening the now-infamous example from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas wherein the player can solicit a prostitute and then kill her to reclaim his money. It continues through a violent beating scene from Running With Scissors' Postal 2 that ends with the female victim doused in gasoline and lit on fire as she attempts to escape. It also highlights violence against law enforcement, with clips from 2005's controversial NARC, again from Grand Theft Auto, and from 50 Cent: Bulletproof; all the games in the montage are Mature-rated titles.

About the Author(s)

Leigh Alexander


Leigh Alexander is Editor At Large for Gamasutra and the site's former News Director. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Slate, Paste, Kill Screen, GamePro and numerous other publications. She also blogs regularly about gaming and internet culture at her Sexy Videogameland site. [NOTE: Edited 10/02/2014, this feature-linked bio was outdated.]

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