Rockefeller Plans Home State Event on Media Violence

Convenes Various Stakeholders to Talk about Impact on Real Violence
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Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has scheduled an event for Monday (March 25) in his home state to talk about protecting kids from violent media, with an apparent emphasis on video games.

In the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shootings, Rockefeller signaled he would focus on the issue in the new Congress and has introduced legislation, The Violent Content Research Act of 2013, that would direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the connection between violent video games and programming and "harmful effects on kids."

The discusion, involving "concerned parents, teachers, mental health experts as well as national advocacy groups and representatives from the video game industry" will be held at the RCB Health Sciences Center  in Martinsburg, W. Va., according to an e-mailed notice.

The White House's anti-gun violence initiatives include directing the Centers for Disease Control to study the best ways to reduce violence and calling on the Congress to fund specific research on the effects of violent video games and other media on real world violence.

During an FCC oversight hearing in the Commerce Committee, Rockefeller expressed his frustration to the commissioners on the issue of violence. "I could go on to violence, but I know what you would say and I know what you would answer," he said. What the FCC would say is it does not have statutory authority to regulate violence. I would just hope that you would take what you did in 2007[a congressionally mandated report on TV violence and kind of move that forward. We have to do the heavy lifting on it to give you capacity in violence. I've never quite understood that. And it had sort of a bad reaction on this committee, which I never understood either. But be that as it may, you do work and I will try to do mine."

Rockefeller has previously pushed legislation that would give the FCC explicit authority to regulate violence, but did not find a lot of support on the committee or beyond.

Many of the major entertainment trade associations, including NCTA and NAB, have gotten together to promote parental controls, and have said they are willing to be part of the ongoing conversation about violence.