Obama calls for study on gun violence, video games

January 16, 2013 8:21:11 PM PST
In addition to cracking down on gun violence, President Obama also talked about violent video games Wednesday.

The President is calling on the Centers for Disease Control. He wants the CDC to find out if violent video games where people shoot to kill in the virtual world have any bearing on people who shoot to kill in the real world.

"We don't benefit from not knowing the science of the epidemic of violence," said the President in an address to the nation Wednesday.

He spoke about ways to prevent shootings, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. There were reports that the shooter liked to play violent video games.

"Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds," said President Obama.

David Roberts, a computer science professor at N.C. State agreed, but said there is a need for more than one study. He said one will only scratch the surface of what we need to know.

"The link between the way that people act in virtual environments and the way they act in the real world is very complex and very confusing," said Roberts.

Roberts said there hasn't been much research in this area and points out that if we find one answer, for instance, if video games did in fact have any effect on the shooter who took dozens of lives in Newtown, that it would only be one answer.  

"While yes we may be able to establish relationships in this one horrendous case, it's not necessarily going to answer all the questions we need to be answering about video games and their relationship to violence in the real world," said Roberts.

He agreed with the President that the conversation on violence and video games has to start somewhere, but that it could be a long time before we know for sure how this virtual violence plays any role in our world.

We tired contacting several video game software companies in our area. None would or could go on camera, but they generally supported a study even though they do not believe violent video games had any effect on crime.

Click here to read a statement from Entertainment Software Association.

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