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President Trump on Thursday argued that the internet and violent video games are “shaping young people's thoughts” and need government attention in the aftermath of the deadly Florida school shooting.
“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,” said Trump during a White House meeting on school safety.
The FBI was warned about the Parkland shooter, who killed 17 students and faculty members last week, after he left a comment in September 2017 on a YouTube video stating, “I'm going to be a professional school shooter.”
Trump didn't use the word censorship, but his comments hinted at it.
“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,” said Trump.
In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled against the state of California over its attempt to ban sales of video games to minors, saying that there was not enough evidence to show any connection between violent video games and aggression in young people.
“Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively. Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media,” the ruling reads.
One recent study by the University of York, published last month, showed that violent video games did not “prime” the 3,000 participants to behave aggressively.
Video games also have a rating system created by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which include ratings of M (for 17 years and older) and AO (adults only, 18+). The M rating “may contain intense violence” while the AO rating is for games that “may include prolonged scenes of intense violence.”
Trump also spoke against violent movies, and called for a rating system although a film rating system already exists, run by the Classification and Rating Administration, which is part of the Motion Picture Association of America.
“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. And, you know, you get into a whole, very complicated, very big deal,” said Trump.
The ratings system by CARA is made up of parents in order to help families decide what is suitable for children to watch, according to the MPAA website. The system was established in 1968.
“You have these movies today and you can have a child go and see the movie and yet it's so violent and disgusting, so we may need to talk about that also,” said Trump.
In the ratings system, which is voluntary but most films undergo, a G-rated film shows no sex, nudity or violence. A PG rating may mean some violence or brief nudity, while a PG-13 rating indicates possible depictions of violence “but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence” and more nudity permitted. An R rating (meaning restricted, and that children under 17 require a guardian with them) allows more intense violence and sexual nudity.