President Donald Trump and Republican state representative for the 28th District of Rhode Island, Robert A. Nardolillo III, are continuing the assault on violent video games following on the heels of two other Republican politicians who stated that there needs to be limitations on access that kids have to violent video games.
In a press briefing on February 22nd, 2018, President Trump targeted violent movies and video games, suggesting that something must be done about kids having easy access to ultra violent material. The Week embedded the clip, which you can view below.
In a meeting that was theoretically about school safety, Trump brought up MS-13 and how they like to use knives (not guns), he threatened to pull ICE from California, and he said we “have to talk about” the internet, video games and movies because they’re violent pic.twitter.com/4JXqHEzdhK
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) February 22, 2018
If you’re unable to watch or hear the video, Trump states…
“The internet… we have to look at the internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being formed. And we have to do something about… maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it – and also video games.
“I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And then you go the further step and that’s the movies – you see these movies, they’re so violent, and yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved. But killing is involved. And maybe they have to put a rating system for that. You know, you get into a whole complicated, [and] very big deal. But the fact is, you are having movies come out that are so violent with the killing and everything else, that maybe that’s another thing we’re gonna have to discuss.”
Republicans have been consistently putting the blame of the most recent Florida high school shooting on video games and movies, stating that they contribute to the decline in mental health of kids and causing them to act out in violent ways. More specifically, Trump was referring to his Republican peers Congressman Brian Mast from Florida and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, both of whom said that ultra violent games are to blame for the recent school shooting.
Bevin called on game makers to have a discussion about lessening the violence in video games, while also mirroring what Trump said about limiting access that kids and teenagers have to violent video games.
While the limitations may not come in the form of actual censorship due to video games being protected by the First Amendment, which was notarized back in 2011 during the Brown V. EMA case as reported by CNET, there are talks about adding taxation to video games via legislation.
Rolling Stone is reporting that Republican state representative of Rhode Island, Robert Nardolillo III, has introduced a bill that – if successfully voted through the legislator – would add a 10% sales tax to video games. Nardolillo III explained the reasoning behind the bill, stating…
“There is evidence that children exposed to violent video games at a young age tend to act more aggressively than those who are not. This bill would give schools the additional resources needed to help students deal with that aggression in a positive way.”
Nardolillo III doesn’t cite his sources, but there have been back and forth studies showing that games can increase aggression in players, just the same as some studies have shown that video games can lower aggression. However, researcher Chris Ferguson told Rolling Stone…
“Research done by the US Secret Service and our laboratories have both found that less than 20 percent of school shooters played violent video games with any amount of regularity. Not only is interest in violent video games rare among school shooters, these perpetrators express much less interest in this violent medium than most other individuals.”
This fits in line with other recent studies from German researchers who found that there was little to no links between exposure to certain violent video games and the desensitization to real life violence.
Nevertheless, the Republican politicians seem intent on moving quickly in restricting video game access and discussing means of censoring violent video games despite the fact that they’re protected by the First Amendment.