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Bill calling for study of violent video games is dead, but will be reintroduced this month

A bill introduced in Congress last year calling for a study into the effects of violent video games and other content on children, died when the 112th session ended on January 2.

But the bill's author, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, plans to reintroduce that bill during this session, likely by the end of the month, a staffer at the senator's office tells Polygon.

Originally introduced on Dec. 17, three days after the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, the bill calls for the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children.

"At times like this, we need to take a comprehensive look at all the ways we can keep our kids safe," Sen. Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said at the time. "I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day."

The original text of the bill, which staffers say will likely be used again when the bill is reintroduced, called for the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to jointly undertake the study with the help of the National Academy of Sciences.

Specifically, the bill calls for the study to investigate:

Whether there is a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children.

Whether there is a connection between exposure to violent video programming and harmful effects on children.

The results of the study would be due to Congress, the FTC and the FCC within 18 months.

In conducting their research, the group is asked to look into whether violent video games cause children to act aggressively or causes cognitive harm to children, has a disproportionately harmful effect on children already prone to aggressive behavior, has a harmful effect that is distinguishable from any negative effects produced by other types of media, according to the bill.

The results of the study, which would have to start no later than 30 days after the enactment of the bill, would be due to Congress, the FTC and the FCC within 18 months.

If passed, this would mark the eighth such study conducted by the FTC since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. None of those found any link between violent video games and violence in children.

Rockefeller's bill comes at a time when Vice President Joe Biden is examining gun control and America's violent culture in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Biden is set to meet with members of the video game industry later this week as he prepares to come up with concrete proposals for ways to address gun violence in America.

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