Jo Linder-Crow, PhD
California Psychological Association
Phone 916-286-7979, ext. 115
1231 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
California Psychological Association Expresses Disappointment over US Supreme Court Ruling on Violent Video Game Sales Restrictions
Sacramento, CA, June 27, 2012:
Today the US Supreme Court ruled (7-2) that California's restrictions on the sale of violent video games to minors violate the 1st Amendment. Five justices rule that under no circumstances can the government be allowed to protect children by limiting violence in the media. Justices Alito and Roberts applauded California's effort to deal with a "serious social problem: the effect of exceptionally violent video games on impressionable minors." But they too voted to strike down the state's law because it did not spell out clearly enough the limits that the gaming industry must follow. Justices Breyer and Thomas dissented in separate opinions.
Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) authored the law. In 2005, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed the law – Assembly Bill 1179 – to prevent the sale and rental of violent video games that depict serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, to persons who are under 18 years of age. Retailers who violated the Act would have been liable in an amount up to $1,000 for each violation.
The California Psychological Association joined eleven states in an Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court on the issue.
Jo Linder-Crow, PhD, CPA Executive Director, participated in a press conference with Sen. Yee and issued this statement: “We, like Senator Yee, are disappointed in the court’s decision today. The decision overlooks the volumes of psychological research that demonstrate that these violent video games can be harmful to children. We have been pleased to support Senator Yee’s effort to protect children from the harmful effects of these games and applaud him for his efforts. Research has shown a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children and it is certainly true that these violent games desensitize children towards violence in a way that is ultimately harmful to our society. We hope that the industry has heard this message and will increase efforts to keep these violent games out of the hands of children.”
The California Psychological Association, an affiliate of the American Psychological Association, represents more than 4000 member psychologists in California and is the nation’s largest state psychological association.