President Donald Trump suggested that Americans should have a conversation about taking action to prevent children from viewing violent video games and movies.
“[A] lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being fooled,” Trump said, citing “violence” in video games that were “shaping young people’s thoughts.”
Trump met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and members of the law enforcement community to talk about what is needed to stop school shootings.
The president also pointed out violent movies, suggesting a special rating system to highlight the level of violence and killing.
“The fact is that you are having movies come out that are so violent, with the killing and everything else, that maybe that is another thing that we are going to have to discuss,” he said, pointing out that “a lot of people” were concerned about the level of violence in movies.
Trump brings up the level of violence in video games and movies. https://t.co/be0VWVrkQM
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) February 22, 2018
The president said that the country had to “take a look at” the issue of kids viewing violent content and should “talk about it,” but he did not name any specific legislation.
Interestingly, Trump seems to be suggesting a rating system for movies despite one already being in place.
Of course, Trump isn’t the first politician to plant the blame for the Florida shooting at the feet of violent video games in recent days.
On the Leland Conway show, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said that “guns are not the problem. We have a cultural problem in America… You look at the ‘culture of death’ that is being celebrated. There are video games, that yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it and there’s nothing to prevent the child from playing them, that celebrate the slaughtering of people.
“These are quote-unquote video games, and they’re forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech,” Bevin added. “It’s garbage. It’s the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency.”
Of course, Bevin fails to mention that there is no scientific data linking violence in video games to violence in the real world, whereas there is a treasure trove of readily accessible data showing that a stronger focus on gun safety and background checks (among other smart ideas that don’t include banning all guns) would, in fact, reduce gun deaths in the United States.
There are other problems with Bevin’s claims.
For instance, the United States is the only country with this level of gun deaths and mass shootings, but it is not the only country in which people play video games. There are fewer mass shootings, fewer school shootings, fewer homicides and fewer suicides in every single other industrialized nation by an order of magnitude. Somehow these nations pull this off while their citizens engage in video gaming and pornography without also killing one another at unimaginably high rates.
And while there have been dozens and dozens of studies into the impact of violent video games on personality and behavior, none of these have concluded that games cause players to kill people in real life.
Trump previously used Twitter to place blame for a school shooting on violent media, saying days after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, “Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!” Trump himself was the star of a financial sim game, Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon, in 2002, but the only violent reactions it provoked came from some critics.
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