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'We shouldn't be afraid of the facts,' says Vice President Biden on violent video game research

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged citizens, lawmakers and special interest groups to not "be afraid of the facts" when it comes to researching the effects of violent media.

In a "fireside hangout" on reducing gun violence in the United States conducted through Google Plus, Biden fielded a question from entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki about the pervasiveness of special interest group lobbying in Congress.

"How did it come to this point where special interests seems to control Congress," Kawasaki asked, "even to the point of what research can be done?"

"Part of the interest group population out there ... are afraid of facts," Biden said. "Let the facts lead where they will. Let the research be done. That's one of the things the president and I believe very strongly: Let the facts work, including with regard to the entertainment industry.

"There is no hard data as to 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 [by] The American Academy of Pediatrics," Biden continued. "They said if [kids] watch three to six hours of video games, and a lot of kids do that, [it] can lead to aggressive behavior. They didn't make the next connection saying that leads to violent behavior. But there's no studies done. So I recommended to the president that we do significant research. Let CDC, let the National Institute of Health, let these people go out and look at the pathology that's behind this, if there is a pathology related to gun violence. We shouldn't be afraid of the facts."

Biden recently met with stakeholders in the entertainment industry, including high level members of the video game industry, as part of an effort to address gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting at a Newtown elementary school. Following the tragedy, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with forming a task force to examine how to decrease violence in America.

In a Presidential Memorandum, Obama called for Congress to provide $10 million for the CDC to conduct new research, including investigating the relationship between video games, "media images" and violence.

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