In brief: Weekend mass shootings once again brought criticism to video games as being in someway responsible for the violent behavior leading to such tragedies. Following statements from prominent politicians including US President Donald Trump, the Entertainment Software Association responded to the condemnation and refuted claims of video games being linked to violent behaviour.
On Monday, President Trump remarked from the White House on the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. "In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," said Trump, adding that these attacks were a "crime against all humanity."
Following comments from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other politicians "partly" blaming video games for such incidents, Trump also spoke on the same lines. "We must stop the glorification of violence in our society," he said, adding that "this includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this."
Blaming the internet for inciting hate, he also called on social media to detect early warning signs among possible shooters. "Mental health and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun," he said.
In response to this criticism, the video gaming's trade association, ESA, issued a statement saying that "there is no causal connection between video games and violence" according to numerous scientific studies. More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S."
Highlighting the positive aspects of video games, the statement further said that these games "positively contribute to society, from new medical therapies and advancements, educational tools, business innovation, and more. Video games help players connect with family and friends, relieve stress, and have fun."
The statement also included a link to ParentTools.org for parents who are concerned about the age-appropriateness of video game content for their children.