NAB signals support for violence study


John RockefellerSenate Commerce Committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced The Violent Content Research Act of 2013” earlier this year, and it is expected to be marked up shortly. NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith signaled the organization’s support for the measure.

“Given the conflicting scientific data, NAB supports Chairman Rockefeller’s bill requiring more research to determine whether a link exists between violent content and real-life violence. Broadcasters support community decency standards attendant to our broadcast licenses. In response to horrific acts of violence, NAB has worked with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to produce public service announcements focused on youth mental health issues. We have done so in hopes that greater civility can be restored to society and that incidences of societal violence can be reduced.”

According to a release posted on the Committee’s website, these are the major facets of the bill:

* The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children.

* Specifically, NAS would examine whether violent video games and programming cause kids to act aggressively or have other harmful effects, and whether that effect is distinguishable from other types of media.  It also would look at the direct and long-lasting impact of violent content on a child’s well-being.

* With respect to violent video games, NAS must look at whether current or emerging aspects of games, like their interactive nature and the personal and vivid way violence is portrayed, have a unique impact on kids. 

* NAS would be asked to recommend areas for future research and would be required to submit a report on its investigation within 15 months to Congress as well as to the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services.