The Commerce Committee is expected to vote on Tuesday on whether to move forward with the legislation, which calls for the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive investigation into whether childhood exposure to violent videogame and video is harmful. The legislation also singles out videogames in calling for an investigation into whether its interactive nature "have a unique impact on children," but it also identifies video, a broad category that could include everything from TV to Internet streaming.
The legislation, which calls for a 15-month study, is similar to that proposed by President Obama in January. His set of recommendations in the wake of the school killings called for the Centers for Disease Control to conduct a $10 million study.
Last week, National Assn. of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith said that they also supported Rockefeller's bill, citing "conflicting scientific data" on "whether a link exists between violent content and real-life violence."
The industry trade associations have launched a series of public service announcements and have enhanced guides instructing parents on content ratings, as well as TV parental controls.
The trade association representing the videogame industry, the Entertainment Software Assn., has maintained that studies have shown no causal relationship between violent videogames and childhood behavior. A spokesman for ESA did not have an immediate comment before the vote on Tuesday.
Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, has long been critical of violent content, although a Supreme Court decision in 2011 struck down California's violent videogame law, raising serious doubts about the government's ability to regulate violent media.
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