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Obama Instructs CDC to Research Links Between Violent Media and Real-Life Violence

President specifically called out games, but other violent images included, too.

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The Obama Administration’s response to the shooting of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary is taking shape, with President Obama having announced a series of initiatives this morning.

This included recommending $10 million to be appropriated to the Center for Disease Control in order to research possible links between violent games and violent actions by the nation’s youth.

"I will direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it, and Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds," said Obama. "We don't benefit from ignorance. We don't benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence."

This recommendation for the CDC does not just single out video games, however:

“Conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, including links between video games, media images, and violence: The President is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence. It is based on legal analysis that concludes such research is not prohibited by any appropriations language. The CDC will start immediately by assessing existing strategies for preventing gun violence and identifying the most pressing research questions, with the greatest potential public health impact. And the Administration is calling on Congress to provide $10 million for the CDC to conduct further research, including investigating the relationship between video games, media images, and violence.”

This came alongside 23 other executive actions taken by President Obama, in addition to promises of legislation to be sent in the direction of Congress. You can read the President’s entire plan on the White House’s website.

In response, the Entertainment Software Association released a statement supporting the move, and pointing out how previous research has shown there is no link. It seems unlikely the ESA would have made such a move if there wasn’t a reasonable amount of confidence this new set of research is likely to arrive at the same conclusion.

The full statement is below:

“ESA appreciates President Obama‟s and Vice President Biden‟s leadership and the thoughtful, comprehensive process of the White House Gun Violence Commission. We concur with President Obama‟s call today for all Americans to do their part, and agree with the report‟s conclusion that „the entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play.‟

“The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.

“We will embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence in the United States, and continue to collaborate with the Administration and Congress as they examine the facts that inform meaningful solutions.”

It’s unclear how long it would take before we see the results of any such research from the CDC.

Meanwhile, IGN ran a lengthy feature today that includes various responses to the video game industry meeting with the VP Joe Biden from prominent members of the games press, including Jeff.

Patrick Klepek on Google+