Judge Bans Teen From Violent Video Games After Shooting Threat

by Imran Khan on Mar 01, 2018 at 12:51 PM

After an Illinois 16 year-old made a threat on social media against his school while playing a video game, the judge in his felony disorderly conduct case took his phone and banned him from playing violent video games.

The youth, whose name has not been released as juvenile records are sealed, had apparently been annoyed by other school shooting threats shutting down Lake Park High School's campus for two days in a row in Roselle, a suburb of Chicago. Expressing this frustration, he posted a Snapchat video of himself playing an unidentified violent video game and captioning it with “Y’all need to shut up about school shootings or I’ll do one.”

After the video had been reported to authorities, the teen was brought in, questioned, and charged with specific charges that have not been officially released. A police search of his home revealed no weapons and his parents have said that they do not keep any at the home. At the hearing, the judge banned him from using social media or playing specifically violent video games. 

“You can play all the Mario Kart you want,” the judge told the teen. It is unclear how the court plans to enforce this ruling. It is similarly unclear in what way violent games contributed to the credibility of the threat.

The ban echoes an analogous claim from U.S. President Donald Trump in recent days, who has taken to blaming violent video games for violent actions. Yesterday, Trump has doubled-down on this claim by referencing his youngest son, saying "It's so incredible. I get to see things that you wouldn't be—you would be amazed at. I have a very young son who I look at some of the things he's watching and I say, 'How is that possible?'"

Trump did not indicate any sort of changes he would be making to his son's consumption of violent media during this statement.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]


Our Take
The data on violent video games has been long accessible and doesn't back up the side that violent games cause violent actions. The judge seemed to be making a symbolic ban, as the definition of "violent games" is pretty loose and a total ban on M-Rated games similarly makes little sense. If the court tried to enforce it, a larger discussion of what a violent video game actually means would pretty much have to occur. The traditional thought is that no one has ever lost credibility with constituents by attacking games and it feels like that's the thinking here, as well.