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Donald Trump says video games, movies may cause violence

Commentary: In a meeting with state and local officials in Florida, the president cites violent video games and movies as "shaping young people's thoughts."

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The presence of video games can encourage violence?

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images

Guns don't kill people, but video games might. 

Movies, too.

That might, at least, be one interpretation from remarks made by Donald Trump during a meeting on Thursday with state and local officials in Florida.

The meeting was to discuss safety in schools after the tragic Feb. 14 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. 

The president seemed to set his sights on the entertainment industry and even the internet itself.

He began by suggesting that the internet's influence on young minds should be examined. He moved on, however, to the gaming industry.

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

Much research has been done to see if there is, indeed, a link between violent video games and violent acts. They may, the American Psychological Association said in 2015, increase the tendency toward aggression. This doesn't mean, however, a necessary extension toward criminal acts of violence.

A year earlier, President Obama had requested $10 million for the issue to be studied further. This request was rejected by Republican members of the appropriations committee.

This year, research published by the UK's University of York concluded there was no link between gamers and an increased propensity for violence.

The president, though, believes other forms of entertainment may also influence young minds in a violent direction.

"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," he said.

There is, in fact, a ratings system for that. It's perfectly reasonable to wonder whether that ratings system is working as well as it might.

Research on violent movies, though, has also concluded that they don't make people more violent.

Some might wonder why the president seems keen to point to many things as the potential cause of young mens' violence except the ease with which guns can be obtained by those who shouldn't be anywhere near them.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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