Obama Calls for Government Funded Research Into Violent Video Games

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By anselyouDate: 01-16-2013 Views:


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In his renewed push for gun control, President Obama has signed in 23 executive orders for the wake of Joe Biden's fact finding mission about the cause of gun violence in the morning on January 16th. While violence in video games and the effect upon its participants wasn't at the crux of today's gun control press conference, President Obama did mention that he is sending the Center for Disease Control after the industry to root out a possible cause of gun violence.

One of Obama's 23 executive orders was to "Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence." Among these potential causes are movies, television, and video games.

The above video shows Vice President Joe Biden's opening remarks, seated next to EA CEO John Riccitiello and president of the Electronic Software Association, Michael Gallagher.

Biden met with leaders and researchers in the video game industry on January 11 to discuss gun violence and the impact entertainment may have on consumers' real-world actions. Biden was charged with leading a task force to gather input from members of the gun violence debate following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

In the meeting itself, Biden lay no direct blame at video games' feet, and the worst thing he did was to say that the industry needs to address how it’s "perceived" by the public, saying he didn't believe an actual link between violent games and violent actions was there. But now the Obama administration wants to put that theory to the test:

"Congress should fund research on the effects violent video games have on young minds," the President said in his remarks today.

"We don't benefit from ignorance. We don't benefit from not knowing the science."

I found some criticism and query on that.

Paul Tassi from Forbes, wondered what this research will uncover. This is not the first time to do research on the issue. Some studies have shown week links between violent video games and aggression. Others have shown nothing of the sort. On the other hand, the game industry already self-regulateds by putting a rating system. A goverment proposal could suggest a law that it would be illegal for minors to buy games, but as it's store policy in all major retailers already, that wouldn't do much. Buying these games or not is entirely up to parents.

Tim Dickinson from Rolling Stone, thought that the president's move to curb gun violence was a good start, but he left his biggest regulatory weapon in the holster. Under existing law, the president has the authority to blook the import of weapons. In the wake of the Stockton school massacre in 1989, President George H.W. Bush — who was backed to the hilt by the NRA at the time — used this authority to block the import of many semiautomatic weapons. Why Obama avoided it?

Source: Massively, Forbes, RollingStone

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