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Who will attend the President Trump’s meeting on video game violence?

On Thursday, President Trump will gather people from both sides of the issue at the White House to discuss the role of video game violence in tragedies such as the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 people. Trump has indicated that he believes that violence in video games is partially to blame for real life violence, and will host a meeting between representatives of the game industry and people who think that, in recent years, games have made kids more violent.

On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said, “As we continue to work towards creating school safety programs that protect all children, the President will be meeting with video game industry leaders and members of Congress to discuss violent video game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children.”

She also noted that, “This meeting will be the first of many with industry leaders to discuss this important issue.”

People who have been invited include: Mike Gallagher, Entertainment Software Association CEO; Patricia Vance, president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board; Strauss Zelnick, CEO Take-Two Interactive, makers of games such as “Grand Theft Auto,”; and Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, the parent company for Bethesda Studios that produces games like “Fallout,” “Doom,” and other violent video games; Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican who, after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, said the federal government needed to address violence in video games, not gun violence; and Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, who after Sandy Hook, argued that Democrats deny “our violent media has any influence on these under-21 shooters.”

The games that are being called into question, however, are ones that are clearly marked as being rated M by the ESRB and are not intended for children. In a statement this past Wednesday, Dan Hewitt, spokesman for the Entertainment Software Association, said, “video games are plainly not the issue.”

“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 the President. “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.”

It should be noted that President Trump’s brother, Robert Trump, is one of the 8 people who sit on the board of directors for ZeniMax, the parent company behind games such as “Doom,” and “Fallout.” Of interest as well is a study by psychologist Patrick Markey that notes that the vast majority of mass shooters, about 80%, show no interest at all in video games.

According to Markey, there is no evidence to support the correlation between violent video games and these extreme acts of violence that many people want to draw. In fact, it seems that the study showed there to be a completely opposite effect. Markey noted that when a new violent video game is released, crime actually decreases.

So, what will come of the discussion the President has arranged on the role of video game violence in real world shootings? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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