In a rather interesting move, President Barack Obama today ordered more research be done to investigate the relationship between video games and real-world violence. As part of a $500 million, 23-point plan, Obama directed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other research agencies to conduct further research into the matter in the wake of December's deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
This follows news of several games industry delegates meeting with vice president Joe Biden last week to discuss the issue of video games and their relation to real world violence. Biden remained firm that he wasn't singling video games out and realised this was a complex issue that involved hearing from various organisations. White House administrative officials said that Biden met with 220 different organizations across 22 different meetings.
President Obama's plan to conduct more research into game violence is not the only such ongoing initiative. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller's dead-but-not-defeated proposition would task the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of violent video games and other programs on children. Rockefeller plans to re-introduce the bill to Congress this month. In an official statement, President Obama said:
"Congress will fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds. We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence."
The Entertainment Software Association, which represents America's video game makers, released a statement supporting further research. The ESA, along with several large game publishers, participated in a meeting last Friday with Vice President Joe Biden on the topic of violence in video games.
"We concur with President Obama‟s call today for all Americans to do their part, and agree with the report's conclusion that the entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play. The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.
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"
Consumer advocacy group Common Sense Media, which helps parents become more aware consumers of media for their children, supported the president's plan for action. Common Sense Media CEO, James Steyer, said this:
"Parents across this country have expressed their strong concern about the possible influence of media violence on their children, and about how hard it is to shield their kids from such gratuitous violence that is marketed to them from a very young age. By calling on Congress to direct $10 million to the Center for Disease Control for research on the possible linkage between violent video games and other media images and acts of violence, our country is taking an important first step towards protecting the most vulnerable among us."
Do you support Obama's call for more research into video games affect on children? Do you think that there is a direct link between video game violence and real world violence? If there is a connection discovered, could this be the end of gaming as we know it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.