July 8, 2013 The Honorable Chris ChristieGovernor of New JerseyPO Box 001Trenton, NJ 08625 Re: Senate Bill 2715 Dear Governor Christie:On June 24
the New Jersey Legislature approved Senate Bill 2715, which wouldforce the Department of Education to expend time and resources to collect, updateand disseminate selective scientiic information about the purported effects of certain kinds of media and entertainment that students consume off schoolproperty. While well-intentioned, the bill is deeply misguided, and we stronglyurge you to veto it.The bill would compel the New Jersey Department of Education to prepare, makeavailable online, and physically distribute information on the allegedly negativeeffects of children’s exposure to media violence. Among other things theDepartment is directed to maintain continuously updated materials, including“research and statistics on how violent behavior increases after exposure toviolent ilm, music, television, or video games,” and “scientiic indings that showchildren who play violent video games are more likely to be involved in physicalaltercations with classmates, perform poorly on academic tasks, and are unable torelate to adults in positions of authority….”The bill poses both practical and constitutional problems. The most glaringproblem is that the bill is based on factual assumptions that the United StatesSupreme Court has explicitly rejected: that exposure to media violence causesviolent behavior and that children who consume violent media become aggressiveor anti-social.Indeed, the Supreme Court concluded that studies purporting to show arelationship between exposure to violent media and violent or anti-social behavior“have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason: Theydo not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively.” To theextent the studies show any effect on children’s “feelings of aggression, thoseeffects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media.”Indeed, as the Court noted, the evidence demonstrates similar effects fromwatching Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons.
Brown v. Entm’t Merchants Ass’n,