In the aftermath of yet another mass shooting in the U.S., a state representative is pushing to tax “violent” video games to increase mental health and counseling resources.
Rhode Island Rep. Robert Nardolillo III plans to introduce legislation that would add a 10 percent tax to all video games sold in Rhode Island with an Entertainment Software Rating Board rating of “M” or higher. Games that are considered mature “may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language,” according to the ESRB.
The money generated from the tax would be placed into an account for school districts who could use it to fund counseling, mental health programs, and other conflict-resolution activities.
“There is evidence that children exposed to violent video games at a young age tend to act more aggressively than those who are not,” said Nardolillo. “This bill would give schools the additional resources needed to help students deal with that aggression in a positive way.”
Nardolillo is not alone in his belief that games that involve killing are to blame for violent outbursts. After the Columbine High School shooting nearly 19 years ago, there was a public outcry about video games, specifically DOOM and Quake, after it was discovered that the pair of shooters were fans of the games.
That line of thinking has continued for the past two decades despite research by the American Psychological Association and Texas A&M International University not being able to link video games to individuals committing violent crimes. President Donald Trump even stated at a school safety meeting on Feb. 22 that movies and video games may be a cause for the recent shootings.
Nardolillo, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, looks to ensure safety and peace of mind for the students and parents in Rhode Island with the tax.
“Our goal is to make every school in Rhode Island a safe and calm place for students to learn,” said Nardolillo. “By offering children resources to manage their aggression today, we can ensure a more peaceful tomorrow.”
With mass shootings becoming more common, this will undoubtedly not be the last time we hear about possible legislation to stop kids from playing games rated “M” or higher.