US President Donald Trump has partly blamed video games for recent mass shootings and suggested that restrictions should be introduced.
Making a statement on Monday following two mass shootings in El Paso and Ohio, the president said the US government “must stop or substantially reduce” access to “gruesome” video games.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” he said. “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.”
30 people lost their lives in the two incidents this weekend, which took place within the same 24 hours.
There are estimated to have been almost 300 mass shootings in the US just this calendar year. There have been none in other key video game markets such as Germany, the UK and Australia.
Monday’s statement marks the second time Trump has blamed video games for an incident of this kind. In February 2018, following a Florida school shooting, the president questioned “the level of violence” in video games.
The following month he met with various video games executives to discuss how violence in games might be contributing to America’s ongoing issues with gun crime.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released a statement following the meeting, saying that it “welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House.”
It added: “We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices.
“We appreciate the President’s receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion.”
Following that meeting, the White House published a 90-second montage of violent video game scenes.
UPDATE 08/05/19 at 9.15pm UK – Following Trump’s most recent comments, the ESA has provided VGC with a statement suggesting there’s no causal connection between video games and violence. It also extolled the positive impact video games have on society.
The statement reads: “As we shared at the White House video game meeting in March 2018, numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence. More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.
“Video games positively contribute to society, from new medical therapies and advancements, educational tools, business innovation, and more. Video games help players connect with family and friends, relieve stress, and have fun. We encourage parents who have concerns about age-appropriate video game content to visit ParentalTools.org to learn more how to control what games are played in their homes.”