In the wake of the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump is reviving an old debate over whether violent video games can trigger violent behavior. But Dr. Louis Kraus, a child psychiatrist, calls that approach a "red herring." The game makers will likely face off during the meeting with some other long-time industry critics also in attendance including retired Lt. Col. Army Dave Grossman who called violent video games "murder simulators" after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, who criticized President Obama after that incident, which resulted in the death of 20 students and six educators, for targeting gun makers but going soft on violent video games, TV and movies. After last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 were killed, President Trump voiced concern about violence in video games, as well as in movies and online. "I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," he said during a meeting about school safety with local and state officials.
But Dr. Louis Kraus, a child psychiatrist, calls that approach a "red herring." Gaming fans wearing VR goggles play "Echo Arena" from Oculus at the E3 conference in Los Angeles. In the wake of the Florida school shooting, politicians have raised concern over the influence of violent video games and films on young people, with President Trump claiming they're "shaping young people's thoughts." Scientists still debate the issue, but the majority of studies show that extensive exposure to media violence is a risk factor for aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. But there's less consensus on whether media violence is a risk factor for criminal violence, which is a more serious form of aggression in which the perpetrator is subject to arrest and incarceration -- the sort of violence that includes using a weapon to harm or kill people.
President Trump is set to pit the video game industry against some of its harshest critics at a White House meeting on Thursday that's designed to explore the link between violent games, guns and tragedies such as last month's shooting in Parkland, Fla. Following the attack at Marjory Stoneman High School, which left 17 students dead, Trump has said violent games are "shaping young people's thoughts." The president has proposed that "we have to do something about maybe what they're seeing and how they're seeing it." Trump has invited video game executives like Robert Altman, the CEO of ZeniMax, the parent company for games such as Fallout; Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive of Take Two Interactive, which is known for Grand Theft Auto, and Michael Gallagher, the leader of the Entertainment Software Association, a Washington-focused lobbying organization for the industry. Three people familiar with the White House's planning, but not authorized to speak on the record, confirmed those invitees.
You won't find violent video game displays at Walmart anymore. Late last week the company announced it is removing them from stores. This came after President Donald Trump, commenting on the Dayton and El Paso shootings, complained from the White House about "gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace" and surround troubled youth with a culture that celebrates violence. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, told Fox News he has always felt violent games present "a problem for future generations and others." Would someone please point out to our leaders -- neither of whom cited actual evidence -- that they are more than a decade behind the scientific consensus?