Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) on Thursday reintroduced legislation authorizing a National Academy of Sciences study of the effect of violent videogames and video programming on minors.
The legislation is similar to a bill he introduced last month, shortly after the Newtown tragedy, but there was not enough time to advance before the end of the last Congress.
The new bill has four original co-sponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
In a statement, Rockefeller said that he has been "working closely with Senate leadership and my colleagues to make sure that research like this is a priority, and I'm glad the president's plan includes additional research into the link between violent content and children's behavior."
President Obama's proposals to curb gun violence, unveiled last week, include authorizing $10 million for the Centers for Disease Control to conduct a study of violent content.
"The reality is we are living in an increasingly violent culture which, when coupled with mental illness, can create a very dangerous situation," Heller said in a statement.
Johanns said, "This legislation will allow us to study what, if any, impact this exposure has on our youth, and if it encourages or desensitizes our children to the real-life consequences of violence."
The legislation, the Violent Content Research Act of 2013, would examine whether violent video games and programming cause kids to act aggressively or have other harmful effects, and whether that effect is distinguishable from other types of media. It also would look at the direct and long-lasting impact of violent content on a child’s well-being.
The NAS would be requried to submit a report within 15 months to Congress, as well as to the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The legislation cites violent "video programming," which could apply to TV but perhaps to web video and other new technology. In an interview with Variety, Rockefeller said that he was concerned that alternate distribution methods online make content more easily accessible to children with "limited parental control."