Trump Suggests Video Games Connected To Violence. Research Doesn’t Support That

President Trump said video games are partially responsible for mass shootings.

Topline: President Trump suggested video games are among the factors driving people to commit mass shootings, like the ones in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, this weekend — but research shows that connections between the two are practically non-existent.

  • In a public address Monday morning, Trump said, “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
  • Since the 90s, sales of video games have increased while incidents of youth homicide have dropped, according to the Washington Post.
  • A 2004 report by the Secret Service and Department of Education found that, out of dozens of mass shootings, only 12% of perpetrators showed interest in violent video games.
  • Oxford University concluded in a study this year that no correlation exists between the amount of time someone spends playing video games and their predilection towards committing violent acts.
  • Even the Trump administration released a report in 2018 showing little support for linking video games with mass shootings.
  • Despite a growing body of evidence to the contrary, GOP lawmakers—including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick—cited violent video games as a driver behind the Dayton and El Paso shootings.

Key background: After the 1999 Columbine shooting, investigators discovered the two gunmen enjoyed playing Doom, a multiplayer shooting game. Since then, increasingly-realistic games showing blood spatter and decapitation, coupled with unceasing mass shootings, has perpetuated the connection between the two. In 2017, the American Psychological Association released a statementdiscouraging politicians and journalists from connecting video games to mass shootings.

What to watch for: Any statements from video game makers.

Tangent: Moral panic around the dangers of video games have existed since at least 1976, when people were driving cars over stick figures in Death Race.


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