The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this week asked the Institute of Medicine in conjunction with the National Research Council to form a committee that will look at the influence of video games and other media on real-life violence. The IOM is part of the federally funded National Academy of Sciences. It will also focus on gun violence – something it has not been allowed to do since Congress put a stop to such research from being allowed way back in 1993. The report, found here, outlines what the CDC hopes to accomplish in its research:
"To help identify important research topics, the CDC and the CDC Foundation asked the Institute of Medicine, in collaboration with the National Research Council, to convene a committee tasked with developing a potential research agenda that focuses on the causes of, possible interventions to, and strategies to minimize the burden of firearm-related violence. The committee’s proposed research agenda—designed to produce results in 3 to 5 years— focuses on the characteristics of firearm violence, risk and protective factors, interventions and strategies, the impact of gun safety technology, and the influence of video games and other media."
The call for more research on the link between violent media and gun violence began in January in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting. During that time the President issued 23 executive orders directing federal agencies to improve knowledge of the causes of firearm violence, study measures to prevent it, and how to "minimize its burden on public health."
President Obama said during a January press conference that he planned to ask Congress for $10 million to fund a study by the CDC on violence and media related to gun violence. He urged the CDC to "conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, including links between video games, media images, and violence."
In a section of the report entitled "Video Games and Other Media" outlines the CDC's focus of the research:
"While the vast majority of research on the effects of violence in media has focused on violence portrayed in television and movies, more recent research has expanded to include music, video games, social media, and the Internet—outlets that consume more and more of young people’s days. However, in more than 50 years of research, no study has focused on firearm violence as a specific outcome of violence in media. As a result, a direct relationship between violence in media and real-life firearm violence has not been established and will require additional research."