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Poll: 72 percent of adults back violent-game law

Most adults support the concept behind a California law before the U.S. Supreme Court that bans minors from buying violent or sexually explicit titles, according to a survey.


A whopping 72 percent of adults believe a law should remain in place to block the sale of "ultraviolent or sexually violent" video games, according to a poll commissioned by Common Sense Media.

The survey, which includes data from 2,100 adults interviewed last month, found that adults have a real problem with violent and sexually explicit titles. In fact, 65 percent of parents said that they're "concerned about the impact of ultraviolent video games on their kids." And 75 percent of parents said that they "would give the video game industry a negative rating" on how they safeguard minors from violent games.

"The results of this poll clearly show that not only do the effects of ultraviolent or sexually violent games weigh heavily on the minds of parents, but also that parents feel that the video game industry isn't doing nearly enough to protect kids from accessing the most ultraviolent games," James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media said this week in a statement.

Common Sense Media has spoken out against video games in the past. The organization considers violent games a "public health issue." It has also been a strong proponent of legislating the gaming industry.

Its new survey didn't come out of nowhere.

In November, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the constitutionality of a 2005 California law that banned the sale of violent video games to minors. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case earlier this year after a U.S. appeals court struck down the law last year as unconstitutional.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board does review and rate video games. It does not restrict the sale of games, even those rated "M," or "Mature," and "AO," or "Adults Only." However, a large number of retailers voluntarily ban the sale of such videos to minors.

The Entertainment Software Association, which created the ESRB and represents the gaming industry, has been against the California law since its inception. The association has said that the law violates the right of free speech and expects video games to be allowed "the same protections as books, movies, and music."

Rich Taylor, the ESA's senior vice president of communications and industry affairs, said in an e-mailed statement that the industry has been "lauded" for its work at "restricting the sales of M-rated games to minors." And he believes more government regulation on the industry is a matter of constitutionality.

"The real question here is whether video games can be constitutionally treated differently than other forms of First Amendment protected material," Taylor said. "And that answer from every court has been 'No.'"

Zogby International Media conducted the survey for Common Sense Media.