After suggesting a “rating system” might be needed for video games to help curb youth violence, President Donald Trump is set to meet with members of the industry on the issue.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed that the meeting will take place next week. “This is going to be an ongoing process and something that we don’t expect to happen overnight,” she stated. “But something that we’re going to be engaged in and continue to look for the best ways possible to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect schools across the country.”
It’s currently unknown who will be attending said meeting, as the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the U.S. video game industry, says neither the group nor any of its high-profile members (e.g., Nintendo, PlayStation, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts) have received an invitation.
“The same video games played in the US are played worldwide; however, the level of gun violence is exponentially higher in the US than in other countries,” the ESA said in a statement. “Numerous authorities have examined the scientific record and found there is no link between media content and real-life violence.”
The statement added, “The U.S. video game industry has a long history of partnering with parents and more than 20 years of rating video games through the Entertainment Software Rating Board. We take great steps to provide tools to help players and parents make informed entertainment decisions.”
Following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, Trump placed some of the blame for youth violence on the internet, movies, and video games.
“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,” he said. “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 you go the further step, and that’s the movies. You see these movies, and 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.”
He added, “The fact is that you’re having movies come out that are so violent, with the killing and everything else, that maybe that’s another thing that we’re going to have to discuss.”
Trump did not acknowledge that in the U.S., video games and movies are already issued ratings based on their violence, language, and mature content by the Entertainment Software Rating Board and Motion Picture Association of America, respectively.
His comments on video game violence were met negatively on social media, with many people pointing to Australia’s lack of gun violence, while still having the same video games.