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Trump to launch crackdown on violent video games after mass shootings

'Gruesome and grisly video games' must be discouraged, says president

Andrew Griffin
Monday 05 August 2019 16:29 BST
Trump blames the internet and video games for mass shootings

Video games are partly to blame for mass shootings, Donald Trump has said.

Games that "celebrate violence" should be discouraged and made harder to buy, the president suggested.

"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society," he said during a speech in the wake of a spate of shootings. "This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.

"It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately."

The president did not give any details on what form that crackdown might take or how it would be launched.

On Saturday, a shooter killed 20 people in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in what authorities said appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime. Hours later another gunman killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio.

The comments came in a speech addressing those shootings, in which Mr Trump also blamed the internet for radicalising those who conduct violent attacks. He spoke about the "dark recesses" of social media sites and the damage they can do.

He also spoke about mental health reform and condemned "racism, bigotry and white supremacy".

No connection has ever been meaningfully established between violent video games and violent behaviour, and the relationship between the two continues to be debated by academics and experts.

In February, for instance, a study found that there was no evidence that who play violent video games are no more prone to real world aggressive behaviour than their peers, and that the link between the two had been overstated.

“The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,” said lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, who conducted one of the most comprehensive studies yet undertaken.

Mr Trump has repeatedly suggested that there should be better regulation of violent games to limit the damage they could do to the young people who play them.

"I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts," he said in 2018. "And you go the further step, and that’s the movies.

"You see these movies, and they’re so violent. And yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that."

A month after those comments, Mr Trump held a meeting with representatives from the games industry where he discussed "whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitise our community to violence", according to a White House statement at the time.

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