Vice President Joe Biden held a web meeting today on reducing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. In a Google Hangout, Biden said he met with 228 groups, including video game company executives, physicians, researchers, and experts on gun violence.
Midway through the hangout, the conversation turned to the topic of violent video games.
The conversation showed that violent video games are still high on the list of concerns that people have in the wake of recent school shootings. Among the participants who shot questions at Biden were Silicon Valley entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki, YouTube video host Philip DeFranco, Theresa Tillman (who is considering buying a gun), and family blogger and child therapist Kimberly Blaine. The “fireside hangout” event was hosted by Hari Sreenivasan of the PBS NewsHour.
The vice president didn’t condemn violent video games, but his choice of words showed where Biden leans. He noted that the car industry opposed studies on crash research for many years because they didn’t want to have that research used in arguments for more car safety, which would raise the costs of making cars.
“The one thing that bothers me is there’s part of the interest group population out there that are afraid of facts,” Biden said. “Let the facts lead where they will and let the research be done,” Biden said. “That’s one of things that the president and I believe very strongly: Let the facts work.”
He added, “There is no hard data about whether or not these excessively violent video games in fact cause people to engage in behavior that is antisocial, including using guns. There is one study done, the American Academy of Pediatrics. They said if you watch three to six hours of video games — and a lot of kids do that — leads to aggressive behavior. They didn’t make the next connection that it leads to violent behavior. But there are no studies done. I recommended to the President we do the research.”