Pennsylvania Calls for a Tax on Violent Video Games

A bill has been proposed that will 10% tax "violent" video games with a mature or adult-only rating in Pennsylvania

By Grayshadow, Posted 08 Feb 2019

Pennsylvania lawmakers have decided to propose a bill that will place a 10% excise tax on video games that include a mature or adult-only rating. Also called the "sin tax".

Red Dead Redemption 2,NoobFeed,Rockstar Games,

This isn't the first time lawmakers have attempted this with Rep. Christopher B. Quinn put forth the bill to the assembly last year. The money generated from this tax will go to “Digital Protection for School Safety Account” fund where their main goal is to that aims to strengthen security measures at schools in the wake of the frequent school shootings.

The argument for this tax is loosely based on the vague statements made by National Center for Health Research’s statement that tries to provide a link between violent video games and increases in aggressive thoughts and behaviors that has been disproven on multiple occasions by research. Very little studies have produced results linking to criminal behavior or violent actions to violent video games.

Professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M University Chris Ferguson who studies video game violence and has also completed a scholarship on mass homicides says:

“There is no good evidence that video games or other media contribute, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth.”…”In fact, during the years in which video games soared in popularity, youth violence has declined to 40-year lows. And while it’s natural, in such an emotional time, for people to search desperately for answers, that often results in misinformation.”

In addition, a 2015 study from the American Psychological Association has further validated this claim by stating that "violence" and "aggression" can be caused by a variety of terms and not just one.

The violent video game literature uses a variety of terms and definitions in considering aggression and aggressive outcomes, sometimes using "violence" and "aggression" interchangeably, or using "aggression" to represent the full range of aggressive outcomes studied, including multiple types and severity levels of associated behavior, cognitions, emotions, and neural processes. This breadth of coverage but lack of precision in terminology has contributed to some debate about the effects of violent video game use. In part, the numerous ways that violence and aggression have been considered stem from the multidisciplinary nature of the field. Epidemiologists, criminologists, physicians and others approach the phenomena of aggression and violence from different perspectives than do psychologists, and emphasize different definitions of the phenomena accordingly. Some disciplines are interested only in violence, and not other dimensions of aggression. In psychological research, aggression is usually conceptualized as behavior that is intended to harm another (see Baron & Richardson, 1994; Coie & Dodge, 1998; Huesmann & Taylor, 2006; VandenBos, 2007). Violence can be defined as an extreme form of aggression (see Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2000) or the intentional use of physical force or power, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in harm (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozano,2002 ).

This isn't the first time that government agencies have gone after violent video games, with the Trump Administration blaming violent video games back on March 8th, 2018 following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. Other notorious figures who attempted to use video games as a scapegoat were Joe Biden and Jake Thompson.

This won't be the first time video games are used as a scapegoat for violent behavior and it won't be the last. 

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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