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Mass shootings reignite dispute over violent video games

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In his remarks to the nation following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump suggested that violent video games are partly to blame for the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.

The Parents Television Council agrees. It is calling on the entertainment industry to stop marketing graphic violence to children in TV, movies, and video games.

Meanwhile, the video game industry maintains there’s no scientific evidence that when your child shoots up a platoon of bad guys in a video game, he’s more likely to shoot up a crowd of innocent people in real life.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society—this includes the gruesome and grisly video games,” Trump said.

The president made similar comments following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Parents Television Council says the video game industry must take some accountability.

“They’re deliberately marketing violent entertainment to children,” the council’s Melissa Henson said.

According to Henson, research shows violent games change the way the brain reacts to stressful situations.

“If there are other risk factors present, kids who are exposed to a lot of violent media may sometimes react more violently than they otherwise would,” she added.

The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group for the video game industry, refutes those claims.

In a statement, the group said, “Numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Corey Booker blames access to guns and not video games for violent crimes.

“I heard before that somehow video games are making our kids do this kind of stuff. Other nations have video games, other nations have mental health,” Booker said.

Western Michigan University Professor Whitney DeCamp concurred.

“Mass shootings are not the result of playing violent video games,” she said.

DeCamp says the clearest predictor of future violence comes from experiences in the real world.

“The more common explanation is they’ve been exposed to violence in real life — in their own personal lives, social environment, maybe in their own home,” she said.

WATCH: What do the experts say? And do you agree with a possible connection? Morgan Wright and J.B. Biunno take a deep dive into the issue.

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