Rockefeller: Violence in media, video games 'must be addressed'

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) on Monday called for tougher regulations to protect children from violent images on television, the Internet and in video games.

Rockefeller, the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said last week's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newton, Conn. is a "wakeup call" for federal action.

"While we don’t know if such images impacted the killer in Newtown, the issue of violent content is serious and must be addressed," he said in a statement.  

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He said that by the time most children are 18 years old, they have already been bombarded by tens of thousands of violent images in the media.

"As parents, research confirms what we already know — these violent images have a negative impact on our children’s well-being," he said.

"It would be a travesty if we only looked at Friday’s attack — as well as the many other senseless tragedies we’ve seen — in silence and refuse to act," Rockefeller said. "I’m pushing for that action now before we have to mourn more innocent lives lost.”

California banned the sale of violent video games to minors, but the Supreme Court struck down the law in 2011, ruling that it violated the First Amendment's free speech protections.

In his statement, Rockefeller also called for Congress to pass gun control measures, including reauthorizing the assault weapons ban. He lamented cuts in mental health services and called for a "renewed national dialogue on mental health."