Hassell-Thompson Urges Passage of Bill to Protect Children From Video Game Violence


For immediate Release: May 30, 2007

Roger L. Noyes: 518-455-2723
Curtis L. Taylor: 518-455-2415

Senator Hassell-Thompson: Pass Bill To Protect Children From Video Game

Senator addresses Governor, Lt. Governor and leaders of both legislative
houses during six-way meeting

State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) today urged
passage of a bill to limit children's access to violent video games.

Hassell-Thompson was invited to speak about the issue during the Governor's
six-way meeting of legislative leaders.

"Games that portray violence in such graphic detail often provide a level
of interactivity which desensitizes youths to the very real consequences of
their behavior," Hassell-Thompson said.

"Parents need to know that they are empowered to protect their children
from the harmful influence of video games, some of which encourage youths
to participate almost vicariously in horrifically realistic depictions of
violence," she added.

Legislation passed by the Senate would create an advisory council on
interactive media and youth violence. The council would be charged with
reviewing the Entertainment Software Rating Boards' (ESRB) rating system to
judge its effectiveness. It would also be responsible for recommending
policies to prevent youth violence.

"Video games often promote and even glorify offensive language and conduct
that is disparaging toward racial and ethnic groups, and women,"
Hassell-Thompson said. "This is an opportunity to address those concerns."

Another component of the Senate legislation includes a requirement that all
games have a printed label containing their rating. The Senate's bill would
also establish the parent/teacher anti-violence awareness program -- under
the auspices of the Department of Education, in cooperation with the Office
of Mental Health and the Division of Criminal Justice Services -- to
address the problem of youth violence.

The Senate passed the measure on May 21. A slightly different bill is being
considered in the Assembly.

Hassell-Thompson said the issue of youth violence is complicated,
warranting comprehensive evaluation as well as concrete policy and
educational initiatives aimed at prevention.

Senator Hassell-Thompson represents the 36th Senate District and is the
Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.