Studying the Impact of Video Games

January 1993 – Reviewed and deemed relevant March 2012 – Community Concerns

PTA’s concerns regarding the impact of video games include: the location of these machines, number of machines permitted at any given location, impact on street and sidewalk congestion where machines are concentrated, accessibility to the machines by students during school hours where little or no supervision exists, occurrence of public disturbances and petty crimes in the vicinity of these games.

California State PTA encourages its unit, council and district PTAs to be aware of and to educate their membership and the community regarding activities of young people at business establishments having video game machines and the impact these activities have on school attendance, alcohol and drug activity, gambling and gang involvement.

A unit, council or district PTA undertaking an educational action program should consider the following general recommendations:

A. Establish a study committee to:

  1. Explore the number and location of establishments which operate video game machines;
  2. Explore the types of video games sold by retailers for home game systems as well as personal computers;
  3. Research existence of any city or county ordinances, police permit regulations and other regulations relating to video game sites;
  4. Consult with school district personnel, law enforcement agencies, city or county officials and other concerned community groups to determine the effect of existing video game machines or arcades on the schools and the community;
  5. Consult with or include in the study existing video game machine operators in order to encourage voluntary cooperation with the study group’s recommendations;
  6. Work with the community to determine a mutually acceptable program to reduce or prevent any existing or future negative impact video game sites may have on the schools and communities.

B. Many communities have found the following objectives to be effective in reducing potentially detrimental effects of video game machines:

  1. Regulations which restrict the location of video game sites to areas of the community that are some distance from schools;
  2. Restrictions on the number of video game machines permitted to one location;
  3. Charges for licenses to operate such machines or arcades to show reflected costs of added community services required by the installation of such sites, e.g., trash pickup, police protection;
  4. Regulations governing the hours of operation of video game machines that include restriction of access by minors during normal school hours;
  5. Requirements that there be adequate supervision of video game sites to insure safety and school attendance;
  6. Requirements that zoning ordinances be reviewed to insure video game machines/arcades are located in areas where their presence will not disrupt or violate community planning requirements;
  7. Requirements that where video game machines are already in place, steps for review of the permits and/or licenses issued for such operations be adapted to provide for evaluation and review of such licenses with appropriate school and community input.
  8. Requirements that retailers who sell video games for home game systems, or personal computers should label and separate games that portray violent or graphic material from those that are not violent or graphic.
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