Considering the ongoing attention and debate between both media and politicians surrounding video game content, it comes as little surprise that today a subcommittee will descend on the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C. for a hearing entitled “Violent and Explicit Video Games: Informing Parents and Protecting Children”.
The 2:00 p.m. EST hearing will be presided over by Florida Republican Cliff Stearns, along with the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
"In response to controversy over violent or sexual situations in video games, the industry established a self-regulatory organization to apply ratings and provide advertising guidelines," commented Stearns on his website. “Currently, there are six ratings on video games ranging from Early Childhood to Adults Only. Yet in one instance, the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
had hidden content with scenes of explicit sex.”
He continued: “In addition, the Federal Trade Commission found that video games labeled 'Mature' routinely were marketed to children under 17. Our goal is to ensure that parents have information on the content of their children's games and that these children are protected from inappropriate content and marketing."
The hearing is expected to hear testimony from a number of key individuals involved with the debate, including Lydia Parnes, director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission; Gary Severson, senior vice president, merchandising, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; and Douglas Lowenstein, president, Entertainment Software Association.
Others expected to testify include Patricia E. Vance, president, Entertainment Software Rating Board; Dr. Kimberly M. Thompson, director of Kids Risk Project, associate professor of risk analysis and decision science, Harvard School of Public Health; Dr. Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., editor, Childrens Technology Review; and Dr. David Walsh, Ph.D., president, National Institute on Media and the Family.