PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After this weekend’s mass shootings, a handful of Republicans, including President Donald Trump, said violent video games were partly to blame. Politicians have blamed violence on video games for decades.
But so far, researchers haven’t found a link between video games and violent behavior. Still, the president wants to make it more difficult to buy certain games.
Philly has a thriving esports community, with venues that serve and stimulate semi-pro and amateur gamers in a social environment.
In 2021, the city will even become home to the Fusion Arena, the western hemisphere’s first esports facility. So for some gamers, this was painful to hear.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence,” Trump said.
Trump mentioned gaming in an address following the weekend’s two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
Esport athletes quickly took to social media and soon #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame began trending.
“I’ve been a big fan of fighting games for a while, but I like all sorts of different games,” a gamer named Tristin said.
Eyewitness News caught up with Tristin outside of a GameStop in South Philly. He’s been playing video games since he was very young.
“And I’m not violent, I’ve not been violent throughout my life. I think people just have to find something to blame and video games are one of the newer things,” Tristin said.
Since the mid 1990s, video games have been brought up in relation to acts of mass violence despite little evidence showing that simulated killing leads to the real thing.
Still, others feel children’s gaming should be monitored.
“Even with my son — he’s autistic — and I have to monitor the games that he plays because he will start displaying some of that aggressive behavior. He will start kicking and fighting and hitting and if it’s in the video game, I know that’s where he’s getting it from because I know he’s not exposed to it otherwise,” one mother said.
The video game industry does have a rating system to help parents know if their child is too young to play certain games.