Trump says violent video games 'shape' young minds

Screenshot from Call of DutyImage source, Activision

President Trump has vowed to "do something" about the violence in games and films watched by younger people.

In a meeting at the White House on school safety, President Trump said the violence played a role in shaping the way people saw the world.

The meeting was held the week after a school shooting in Florida in which 17 people died.

Many experts say research has not demonstrated a link between video games and violence.

'Desensitised people'

In comments made during the meeting, President Trump condemned the violence in video games saying: "We have to do something about maybe what they are seeing and how they are seeing it.

"I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," he said.

Mr Trump also spoke about violence in films and the ease with which young people can see films in which "killing is involved".

Despite hinting at action on violence in video games and movies, President Trump did not go into detail about what would be done.

The president's comments came soon after those of Kentucky's governor who said violent games "celebrated death".

Last week, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, reacting to the Florida shooting, also singled out video games as an influence on the way younger people viewed the world.

Many games "celebrate the slaughter of people", said Mr Bevin.

He added: "They have desensitised people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency. We're reaping what we've sown here."

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The White House meeting involved survivors of the Florida shooting

'Noise and bluster'

In response Ethan Gach, a reporter at video games news site Kotaku, said video games were often blamed in the wake of mass shootings in the US.

"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."

John Walker, from games news site Rock Paper Shotgun, told the BBC that it was "disheartening" to hear politicians link video game violence to real world events when research has consistently shown no link.

He said: "The reason this matters, the reason why blaming games for such terrible tragedies against all reasonable proof is so horrifically serious, is it distracts us from identifying and addressing the real causes.

"Statements such as Trump's are easy, lazy get-outs, noise and bluster to keep people in a position of responsibility from actually doing the difficult, complex, long-term things that might actually help," said Mr Walker.