Lawmakers in the US state of Pennsylvania have proposed a bill that would impose a tax on violent games. The new 10% tax on violent games, as proposed by the bill, is suggested to be paid into a fund called the Digital Protection for School Safety Account, which will be used to ramp up safety and security in schools in the state.
The so-called “sin tax” on violent games is proposed in House Bill 109, which was put forward by Pennsylvania state representative, Chris Quinn on behalf of the Republican Party. The tax is suggested to be applied to violent games that have an ESRB rating of M for Mature/Adults-Only. According to reports, this new proposed tax would significantly raise the prices of video games. After tax, a standard triple-A game would become $10 more expensive, from $60 to $70.
This new bill is proposed as a direct response to an increase in violence in schools, which Chris Quinn argues is linked to violent video games.
Violent video games can also desensitize people to seeing aggressive behavior and decrease prosocial behaviors such as helping another person and feeling empathy [the ability to understand others]. The longer that individuals are exposed to violent video games, the more likely they are to have aggressive behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
The bill is being opposed by the Entertainment Software Association, which explains that “numerous scientific studies have established that there is no connection between video games and violence“.
We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.
February was recently declared eSports month in the state of Pennsylvania, so the spotlight is yet again on this proposed bill and the debate surrounding the possible link between violent games and violence in real life.
Do you think this proposed sin tax on games is a good idea? Do you think there is a possible link between violent behaviour in real life and violence portrayed in video games? Drop a comment below.