'This is violent, isn’t it?' Trump holds video game violence meeting


U.S. President Donald J. Trump met with video games company representatives and games critics to discuss potential links between electronic games and real-life violence.

The hour-long meeting on Thursday began with attendees watching an edited video of violent scenes taken from games (Rolling Stone) and the president listening to comments afterwards. After watching it, Trump said “This is violent, isn’t it?,” according to Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (The Washington Post).

This video (warning violent content) was later posted on the White House’s official YouTube account and is featured below:

The trade association of the U.S. video games industry, The Entertainment Software Association, released a statement after the meeting that said (The Verge): “We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence.”

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Meanwhile, Brent Bozell, the president of the conservative Media Research Center, who was also present at the meeting, told The Hill that Trump “was clearly concerned about some of this imagery that you’re seeing in these ultra-violent video games that are being watched by children.”

Bozell told The Verge: “I don’t think there should be any government control over it.” He added: “But there is some programming that contains just absolute mind-boggling violence … could the industry listen to the better angels of their nature and say, we just don’t want to do it, on a voluntary basis?”

The White House said Thursday’s meeting was the first in a series of ongoing discussions to address gun violence.

Earlier

Trump previously spoke about the links of violence in electronic games and movies with real-life actions, during the recent meeting on school safety at the White House, which involved survivors of February’s Florida shooting (New York Times). He said: “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”

Trump is not the first U.S. president to question links between violence portrayed in video games with real-world bloodshed. After the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, which was the deadliest mass shooting at either a high school or grade school in U.S. history, President Barack Obama said: “Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds.” (USA Today)

Academic debate about games links with violence remains controversial and unclear.

Questions we’d like to explore, include:

  • What is the history of previous shootings followed by criticism of video games?
  • What have U.S. president’s views on video games and violence been?

Please help us report on the debate on the influence of video games

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