For perhaps the first time in a long while, parents had a listening ear at the White House in a discussion of the impact of violent video games on children's behavior.
In the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting, President Trump hosted a White House meeting on graphic video game violence Thursday. "We have to look at the Internet," he shared at the table, "because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds [which] are being formed. We have to do something about what they're seeing and how they're seeing it.
"I'm [also] hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," the president continued. "And then you go the further step, and that's the movies."
Executives from the video game industry were on hand, among them two CEOs of video game publishers and representatives of the Entertainment Software Association and the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Also present were some critics of the industry, including Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council. In a conference call with reporters after the meeting, Henson said some clips of violent games were played at the start of the meeting.
Henson, the mother of a nine-year-old, noted that the industry representatives were quick to defend the gruesome content by explaining that the games were meant for mature audiences and not for youngsters to see it. But she had a rebuttal.
"I had to say that that's not true; it's just not true," she shared. "I think that they know that kids are playing these games and [that] children do have ready access to violent video games.
"[And I think they know] that whatever the video game industry thinks that they are doing to limit kids' access is not enough, because kids are able to see these violent images and get these violent video games into their hands without much difficulty at all."
Still, she was pleased that this meeting included the voices of parents.
"The last time there was a meeting about video games during the Obama administration, I'm not aware that groups like ours had a seat at the table," she said. "So I'm glad that there was an opportunity for parents to be represented and have their concerns heard."
Henson's not sure what the next step is following the White House meeting, but she's under the impression that there will be further conversations on the topic.