If New Jersey Assemblywomen Linda Stender (D-Union) has her way, it could soon become a finable offense in the state for businesses to have violent video games available for public play.
According to The Star Ledger, Stender announced plans to introduce a measure that would prevent public places — such as retail outlets, bowling allies and movie theaters — from having accessible video games that are rated either “mature” or “adults-only” by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB.)
Under the legislation, she said that offenders would face first-time fines up to $10,000, with repeat offenders being tabbed $20,000 for each subsequent violation.
Although Stender said that she doesn’t believe that video games are lone factors in contributing to violent youth behavior, she does consider the games to have a profound influence on young people.
“Children today are exposed to violent images more than ever,” she is quoted in a recent press release. “Violent video games can desensitize children to violence and give them a warped version of reality where violence and death have no consequences outside their TV screens.”
Under the proposal, the violent video game ban would extend to all “places of public accommodation.” In addition to barring the games from restaurants, bars and amusement parks, the legislation would also restrict video game access in hospitals, public libraries and “any educational institution under the supervision of State Board of Education or the Commissioner of New Jersey,” which encompasses a wide swath ranging from kindergarten classrooms to the state’s colleges and universities.