Originally published: January 16, 2013
Last updated: January 22, 2013 - 11:13pm
As part of a broader gun control plan, President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to fund research into the impact of violent video games.
The plan features 23 executive orders focused on gun violence, including "universal background checks" and limits on ammunition magazines. President Obama also calls for the Centers for Disease Control to "research the causes and prevention of gun violence." "I will direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it -- and Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds," said President Obama during a speech detailing the plan. "We don't benefit from ignorance. We don't benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence."
In a statement released after Obama's speech, industry trade group The Entertainment Software Association welcomed the discussion. "We will embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence in the United States, and continue to collaborate with the Administration and Congress as they examine the facts that inform meaningful solutions," reads a portion of the ESA's statement.
Chris Ferguson, associate professor of psychology and communication at Texas A&M University, says research into video games have found little to no effect on violence or aggression. "During the past 20 years as video games became more popular, youth violence plummeted to 40-year lows, the lowest since the 1960s," he says. However, Douglas Gentile, a media violence commission member and associate professor at Iowa State University, says there are signs games can influence aggression. "We do really need to have a serious conversation about what all the serious risk factors are," he says.
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