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Video Game Lobby Launches Public Education Campaign

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VIDEO GAME EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks during a meeting with representatives from the video game industry in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. The video game lobby announced a new public awareness campaign Monday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) | AP

The U.S. video game lobby has announced a new campaign aimed at educating parents about the industry’s rating system and parental control options, Roll Call reported Monday.

The Entertainment Software Association, an organization representing video game publishers nationwide, said the campaign will include a series of public service announcements intended to inform parents “about the tools and information available so they can manage the entertainment choices for their families.”

“This campaign will connect with consumers in an immediate and sustained way in addition to the traditional mechanisms over TV outlets,” Michael D. Gallagher, president of CEO of the group, said in a release. “By channeling our industry’s compelling and innovative medium, we will instantly provide proven, practical, and effective information to millions of consumers.”

In addition to the PSAs, the organization says the industry will work with government officials to provide constituents with rating and parental control information.

The announcement comes just shy of three months after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead. Following the massacre, many -- including "Fox & Friends" host Gretchen Carlson and National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre -- linked violent media, including violent video games, to the events.

Gallagher and other representatives of the video game industry met with Vice President Joe Biden in January as part of President Obama’s efforts to address gun violence. Following the meeting, the Entertainment Software Association released a statement saying that discussions were “productive and candid” and that the organization looked forward to “continuing our engagement with government officials and policymakers focused on meaningful solutions.”

The Entertainment Software Association made no mention of the Newtown shooting in its Monday statement. However, researchers maintain that violent video games bear no connection to gun-related mass killings in the United States.

The group's latest announcement was met with bipartisan support, with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) each applauding the campaign.

“No one knows better than parents when it comes to making decisions about which games their children should and should not play,” Thune wrote in the Entertainment Software Association’s statement. “I commend the industry for raising awareness of the tools available to parents that can help them make informed decisions about the games their children play.”

Wasserman Schultz offered similar praise, commending the industry “for leading a national program that will ensure the decision-making power remains where it should be -- with parents.”

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