American Medical Association House of Delegates

May 6, 2005
Resolution: 421 (A-05)

Introduced by: California Delegation

Subject: Labeling of Video Game Content

Referred to: Reference Committee D (Sally J. Trippel, MD, Chair)

Whereas, Many video games are appropriate for children and it is desirable that they be readily accessible to them; and

Whereas, Many others are not appropriate for children, encouraging violence, aggression and deviate activities; and

Whereas, The video gaming industry has failed to police itself and accurately reflect those videos that are more appropriate for mature audiences in their current self-chosen rating system; and

Whereas, A bill addressing this problem recently failed to receive enough votes in the California State Legislature due to aggressive lobbying by the video gaming industry; and

Whereas, The bill, which was strongly supported by the California Psychiatric Association, will be brought back to the Legislature this legislative session by the author; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association actively campaign for appropriate labeling of any video game that depicts acts of violence or aggressive acts so that these videos will be made available for purchase by adults only. (Directive to Take Action)

Fiscal Note: Staff cost estimated at less than $500 to implement.

Received: 5/6/05

RELEVANT AMA POLICY

H-515.974 Mass Media Violence and Film Ratings

Redressing Shortcomings in the Current System:

The AMA:

(1) will speak out against the excessive portrayal of violence in the news and entertainment media, including newscasts, movies, videos, computer games, music and print outlets, and encourage the depiction of the medical, social and legal consequences of violence by the media;

(2) urges the entertainment industry to make fundamental changes in the rating system, which will give consumers more precise information about violent and sexual content of motion pictures, television and cable television programs, and other forms of video and audio entertainment, thereby enabling consumers to make more meaningful decisions for themselves and their children about what they view or hear;

(3) works with the entertainment industry and other groups interested in reducing violent content of media programming, to incorporate age classifications into the ratings system that reflect scientifically demonstrated developmental periods during childhood and adolescence such as ages 3- to 7-year-olds, 8- to 12-year-olds, and 13- to 17-year-olds. The AMA will expand its national campaign against violence to include media violence; and promotes campaigns similar to the Minnesota Medical Association's campaign throughout the entire federation;

(4) urges the entertainment industry to develop a uniform ratings system that is easy for consumers to understand and which can be applied across existing and future entertainment technologies;

(5) uses physicians to counsel parents about the known effects of media violence on children's behavior and encouraging them to reduce the amount of violent programming viewed by their children;

(6) monitors changes in the current ratings system and working through state medical societies to inform physicians and their patients about these changes;

(7) urges consideration be given to the potential development of a Television Violence Code with input from the government, the television industry, and the public, including the medical profession, to address issues relating to all television violence, including news reports and entertainment; and

(8) supports all other appropriate measures to address and reduce television, cable television, and motion picture violence. (BOT Rep. 18, A-94; Modified: Res. 417, I-95; Appended: Sub. Res. 419, A-98)