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Obama Announces Task Force, Rockfeller Calls for Look at Vidgame Violence

President
Obama announced the creation of a White House task force, led by Vice
President Joseph Biden, to come up with a series of recommendatins in
the wake of the school shootings in Connecticut, including an
examination of “a culture that too often glorifies guns and violence.”

In
his remarks on Wednesday morning, Obama set a January deadline for the
task force, and he specifically mentioned several possible legislative
steps including a renewed ban on assault weapons and wider background
checks for gun owners.

But his citing of “culture” raises the
prospect violence in videogames, movies and TV shows would come under
scrutiny, as well as marketing of such content to children and teens.

“This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reform now,” Obama said.

On
Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of
the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced legislation to study the
impact of violent content, including video games and video programming
on children. The study would be done by the National Academy of
Sciences.

“Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people
still do not get it,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “They believe
that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than
classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons.  Parents,
pediatricians, and psychologists know better. These court decisions show
we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional
groundwork on this issue.  This report will be a critical resource in
this process.”

He also said that he will call on the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission to “expand” their work in this area.

“Changes
in technology now allow kids to access violent content on-line with
less parental involvement,” Rockefeller said. “It is time for these two
agencies to take a fresh look at these issues.”

Rockefeller said
that the study “would examine whether violent video games/programming
cause kids to act aggressively or otherwise hurt their wellbeing, 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.”

Obama signaled that gun control
measures would be the focus of the task force, as he said, “the fact
that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t
steadily reduce the violence.”

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