Barron Trump watches violent movies, his own father admitted during a bi-partisan meeting on possible gun-control solutions.
As The Metro reports, the president was hosting lawmakers from both sides of the aisle Wednesday when, in a rare move, he invoked his own, minor son in the discussion. As the topic turned towards the possibility of violent media – movies, TV shows, video games – possibly playing a role in mass shootings, Trump admitted that even his own son consumes violent media.
“The video games, the movies, the internet stuff, it’s so violent… I have a very young son. I look at some of the things he is watching and I say ‘How is that possible?’ and I think you maybe have to take a look at it.”
Trump also admitted that it’s possible that consumption of violent media does have an effect on a growing child or teenager.
“Its hard to believe that for a percentage of children this doesn’t have an impact on their thought process.”
For what it’s worth, Trump did not give any specifics as to what sort of “violent” media his son consumes. Further, it bears noting that one person’s “violence” is another person’s “harmless slapstick,” so it may very well be that Barron Trump is consuming “violent” media that someone other than his parents may not consider violent.
As The Daily Mail reports, the topic of violent media playing a role in mass shootings was brought up by Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, who suggested that such violence could have an effect on kids, particularly those with mental health issues. Trump, in response, did appear to concede that a stronger ratings system for children’s media may be warranted.
“You rate movies for different things, maybe you have to also rate them for terror, for what they’re doing, for what they’re all about.”
The question of whether or not violent media contributes to violence in children, adolescents and teenagers is a complicated one that has been discussed for decades. As CNN reported last week, the consensus in the pediatrics industry appears to be that kids should be steered away from violent media. For example, in 2015 The American Psychological Association suggested a link “between violent video game use and both increases in aggressive behavior… and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy, and moral engagement.”
However, a 2008 study found zero connection between playing violent video games and later violent thoughts or actions in players. Further, says Christopher Ferguson, associate professor and co-chairman of the Department of Psychology at Stetson University, giving teenagers something to do that occupies their time – be it video games, sports, or other hobbies – is actually more beneficial to reducing violence because it keeps them busy and off the streets.