Trump Says Video Game Violence Is 'Shaping Young People's Thoughts'

Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

During a meeting on school safety at the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that violent video games are partly responsible for school shootings.

His train of thought was hard to follow — as it often is — so here's the full comment:

"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."

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

Blaming video games for gun violence isn't anything new for Trump who, after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, tweeted, "Video game violence & glorification must be stopped — it is creating monsters!" His comments also echo those made by other Republican politicians, including the governor of Kentucky, who said last week on a radio talk show that violent video games were responsible for desensitising people to the value of human life.

It's a familiar scapegoat many of us have been hearing for decades, one which often acts like a smokescreen to deflect responsibility away from the Second Amendment and lax gun laws.

Last week's Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17 and wounded many others has reignited the debate around gun control with a new sense of urgency.

Trump also met with students and parents of victims at the White House to discuss the issue, a meeting in which he suggested the possibility of arming teachers. He's since tried to walk those comments back.

"I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!" he tweeted earlier today.

The hour-long meeting with state and local officials from Florida also resulted in some strange moments. In addition to the President's short rant about video games, the internet, and some apparent misconceptions about how movies are rated, he also suggested that the solution to gun violence in schools requires "offensive measures within these schools."


Comments

    I'm getting enough 90s throwbacks watching 'Everything Sucks' on Netflix Mr Trump.

      "only good violent video games can defeat bad violent video games"

    Funny isn’t it ... we don’t see a whole lot of violent deaths in Japan and yet their video games (and media in general) sink way below the threshold of conservative sensibility.

    After 12 months of Trump as POTUS, you think I’d learn to click past articles about him but it truly is car crash viewing.

      Don't be silly. In 2015, Japanese police fired six bullets over the year. SIX!!! Clearly theres a connection between such a horrific number, and the volume of video games...

      And lets not get started on how many of those bullets killed people.
      <./s>

      Last edited 23/02/18 9:19 am

        & as part of gun laws in Japan, if you are licensed then you have to account for every bullet you fire as part of a 6 monthly review of your licence.

    People were committing atrocities upon each other in the name of faith long before video games.

      Yeah but we could use religion as a scapegoat back then, some people use it now.

    Meanwhile in Australia with the same video game and internet access there have been approximately 0 mass school shootings. I am sure that it is luck and not due to sensible gun control.

    Another trash thought bubble from a trash president.

      Hey, we didn't get hotline miami 2!

        OMG! You've nailed it! Hotline Miami 2 is the only difference between our 2 countries! That must be it?!

    Japan : One of the largest game development countires in the world. Excellent mental health services. No mass shootings.

    Australia : Spent 3.36 Billion on games last year. Easily accessable mental health care. No mass shootings.

      Japan has a rather high suicide rate though so their mental health services may be excellent but it doesn't look they are engaging with them.

        This is more to do with high social pressure and a large emphasis on perfection, which is unfortunate.

          It really is. Don't worry though, Logan Paul is on the case!

    Kids in every other developed nation are playing the exact same video games that American kids are playing, but our kids aren't getting slaughtered by the dozens in their own schools.

    As they say in the classics: Shut the fuck up, Donnie.

    It becomes more and more evident that America cares more about their precious guns then they do about their kids.

    Its disgusting.

      A gun doesn't backchat :P

        If you look at the rate of accidental gun deaths, some do.

          I knew my inability to think of another word for it would get me.

    Trump is clearly an idiot and this just solidifies it. Why is anyone still listening to this buffoon?

      Well he was right about one thing - they really should build a wall. Except it should go all the way around, and have a lid on the top.

      I doubt he'd have much trouble getting EVERY other nation to pay for it at this point.

        Ha, reminds me of a joke I heard around state of origin time once. Qlder and a NSW guy are walking down the beach when they come across a genie's lamp. Genie comes out, tells them he'll grant them each a wish. Qld guy says he wants a nice big wall around the entire state, keep all those filthy NSW guys out. Genie clicks his fingers and it's done. NSW pauses for a moment, pondering his own wish then says "fill it with water."

    They are happy to blame anything and everything before their gun laws.

    ...a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe we need to put a rating system for that."I can't believe something sane was said by this guy. America has long had the issue where parents will buy games for their kids even if it has high levels of violence but mention anything about sex or nudity and the parent immediately rips it out of their kids hands.

    My favourite part though is how he says video games are shaping kids' thoughts and then he says the escalation of that is movies...

    Violent video games are an effective form of stress relief.

    The sole purpose of a gun is the destruction of life.

    Make your decision carefully, Mr President.

    Is this the same meeting where he said the best way to prevent school shootings was to arm the teachers? If the problem is kids being "video games and movies desensitising kids to violence," surely the best way to prevent that is to desensitise them with actual violence by putting firearms quite literally within their reach.

      How many teachers are going to go running towards gunfire, even if they were carrying?

        Also, would you really want to be one of those armed teachers when the cops actually get there? Given the trigger-happy nature of police over there, they'd be just as likely to shoot the teacher on the spot as soon as they saw the gun before bothering to find out if it was an armed teacher or a mass-shooter.

    Florida State Government in the wake of this tragedy in their back yard decided to disgard a motion to ban guns while victimns were in the watching gallery, so they could discuss online porn being a danger to teenagers.

    Yes, so easy access to porn is far more dangerous than easy access to military assault weaponry.

    But everything will be fine, once they arm teachers with guns... cause underpaid public servants have never been emotionally aggrevated to the point they didnt abuse and hit children, or use threats and power to extort children into unsavoury acts.

    Unpopular opinion incoming.

    If we look past the durrr Trump is a retard bit and read these cherry picked comments from the meeting, what he says makes some sense. Kids do have access to sexual and violent media too easily. Although it wouldn't be the only cause I think we would be silly to not believe it has some impact.

      There are countless scientific studies which disprove a statistically significant connection.

      It's time to look elsewhere, we've lost enough people by doing the same thing for the last twenty years.

      If only we had some sort of system of categorising these movies and games that parents can use to show appropriate things to their child, some sort of system of rating.

      but as far as i'm aware this doesn't exist so i'm going to blame the games and movies themselves.

      They don't have any easier access to sexual and violent media than kids in other developed countries where schools aren't getting shot up on a regular basis.

    My thoughts after playing a violent game usually go like this:

    "Well that was a swell bit of fun, now to return to my happy family life of being a stay at home dad and playing with my son and not shooting up a school".

    Seen plenty of violent games since I first saw Mortal Kombat on the Megadrive all those years ago and I can't say they've turned me into a maniac yet.

    "Trump says"

    Stopped right there, hehe

    Typical politician knee jerk reaction / personal opinion, when what's required are actual experts gathering the real data for a report.

    It's painfully obvious that all the Republican skidmarks in the NRA's pocket are trotting out this and related lies so they can stay in the NRA's pocket. It's annoying that we have to keep fighting the same battles every time some vile, craven politician wants to deflect from the painfully obvious cause of gun massacres - GUNS.

    Trump provides yet another example of why you should never go full retard.

    Video games need some kind of ratings system?

    Whats next? there are too many cars crashing so he will then say we need some kind of licensing system?

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