Legislating Media Violence: Law and Policy

Media violence has long been an issue for lawmakers, generally because of concern over the negative effects it is believed to have on those—primarily children— who are exposed to it. However, for all the attention and concern given to violence in various forms of media, policy makers have had little success in taking legislative action to address the issue. A major reason for this is that media violence is generally protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, seriously limiting the options available to legislators to restrict or prohibit media violence. For example, a number of states have passed laws attempting to restrict minors’ access to violent video games, but those laws have uniformly been declared unconstitutional for violating First Amendment free speech rights. ...

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