In his remarks on Wednesday morning, Obama set a January deadline for the task force, and he specifically mentioned several possible legislative steps including a renewed ban on assault weapons and wider background checks for gun owners.
But his citing of "culture" raises the prospect violence in videogames, movies and TV shows would come under scrutiny, as well as marketing of such content to children and teens.
"This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reform now," Obama said.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced legislation to study the impact of violent content, including video games and video programming on children. The study would be done by the National Academy of Sciences.
"Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it," Rockefeller said in a statement. "They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process."
He also said that he will call on the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission to "expand" their work in this area.
"Changes in technology now allow kids to access violent content on-line with less parental involvement," Rockefeller said. "It is time for these two agencies to take a fresh look at these issues."
Rockefeller said that the study "would examine whether violent video games/programming cause kids to act aggressively or otherwise hurt their wellbeing, and whether that effect is distinguishable from other types of media. It also would look at the direct and long-lasting impact of violent content on a child’s well-being."
Obama signaled that gun control measures would be the focus of the task force, as he said, "the fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence."