CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich vowed to appeal a decision issued late today by U.S. District Court Judge Kennelly to stop implementation of the Safe Games Illinois Act. The legislation, proposed by the Governor and approved by the Illinois General Assembly in May, was set to take effect on January 1. The Act would restrict minors’ access to sexually explicit and excessively violent video games.
“This battle is not over. Parents should be able to expect that their kids will not have access to excessively violent and sexually explicit video games without their permission. We’ve already agreed as a society that children shouldn’t be able to buy pornographic magazines. We don’t allow them to have alcohol or tobacco. It only makes sense to keep videogames that are full of graphic violence and sex out of their hands as well,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “New research shows just how easily kids are getting a hold of mature video games and – more importantly – that the games have a detrimental impact on their development. That’s why we’ll appeal this decision. And regardless of the final outcome, parents should know that retailers are selling these games to their kids. I think that’s wrong.”
The 10th Annual MediaWise® Video and Computer Game Report Card, issued on November 29, 2005 by the National Institute on Media and the Family, found that children were able to purchase Mature-rated (M) video games in 1 out of 2 attempts, a step back from the 2004 findings with children able to purchase these games in 1 out of 3 attempts. The Report Card student survey also found that 7 out of 10 children play M-rated games, 3 out of 5 kids named an M-rated game as one of their favorites, and nearly 75% of boys named an M-rated title as their most favorite game. M-rated games often contain realistic depictions of human injury and death, mutilation of body parts, rape, sex, profanity and drug, alcohol and tobacco consumption.
Various studies demonstrate the negative impact playing violent and sexually explicit video games has on minors. One such study, completed in 2003 by four experts, including Douglas Gentile from the National Institute on Media and the Family, concluded that adolescents who expose themselves to greater amounts of video game violence were more hostile, reported getting into arguments with teachers more frequently, were more likely to be involved in physical fights, and performed more poorly in school. A new study of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students found that not only did repeated exposure to violent video games increase aggressive behavior, but it also decreased empathic helpful behavior (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley).