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Trump goes after violent video games in the wake of Parkland

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr (CC-BY)

Numerous studies show no link between video games and real-life violence.

President Donald Trump seemed to suggest that some of the blame for violence—in the context of school shootings and school safety—should rest with violent video games and movies.

The president made the remarks during a discussion at the White House about school safety in light of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

“We have to look at the internet, because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it. And also video games,” Trump said. “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And you go one further step and that’s the movies. 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.”

Both video games and movies already have rating systems that factor in violence, sex, and other factors.

Trump is not the first person to suggest video games make children more violent. In fact, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) said last week that guns were “not the problem” in light of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but rather video games were what needed to be addressed.

“We have a cultural problem in America,” Bevin said in an interview. “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.”

However, numerous studies show that children who play violent video games are not more likely to engage in real-life violence.

USA Today spoke with Villanova University psychologist and researcher Patrick Markey who said there is no link between violent video games and school shootings, adding:

“And if there is a link, it goes in the opposite direction,” Markey said.

Trump has held several meetings in recent days regarding school shootings and school safety. On Wednesday, the president opined about a plan to place armed former veterans in schools—which is the exact idea from a meme on social media that has become popular since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).