Matheson Introduces H.R.287, the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act01/22/13
Washington, D.C.—Congressman Jim Matheson reintroduced legislation, H.R.287, the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act, requiring that video games be labeled and that retailers check identification in order to keep inappropriate video games from being sold to children.
The Video Game Ratings Enforcement Act would require all retailers to check identification for any children attempting to buy or rent M (Mature) rated or AO (Adult Only) rated games. According to industry data, half of the top ten best-selling video games in 2012 were rated M. The legislation also requires that an explanation of the video games ratings system be posted in stores for all customers to see. Most video games are labeled with a rating determined by an industry-ratings panel known as the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
“As a parent of two young boys, I am a strong believer that parents are the first line of defense when it comes to supervising their children’s viewing habits,” said Matheson. “In a world of rapidly changing technology, parents deserve every resource available to evaluate programming to which their children might be exposed. This bill is designed to back parents up in their effort to protect their children from what the industry has labeled as violent and/or sexually explicit material.”
“The images and themes in some video games are shocking and troublesome. There are popular games where players advance through acts of “virtual” murder, assault and rape. Many children are able to access these games without their parents’ knowledge. I believe that retailers have made a good faith effort to institute policies that keep mature games out of the hands of young kids, but at the end of the day, these policies are voluntary and parents deserve piece of mind that they are the final authority in what their children rent or purchase,” said Congressman Matheson.
Matheson added, “I acknowledge that there are some Constitutional issues that have been raised about this topic. Let me be clear - I am, in no way, seeking to limit the Constitutional rights of adults to access these games. However, where children are concerned, there should be a conversation about empowering parents and making certain that gratuitous violence never becomes routine content.”