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US community launches violent video game initiative

By
Mortal Kombat
Violent video games have been targeted by a community in Southington, Connecticut.

The newly-formed SouthingtonSOS, which includes town officials, local clergy, the fire department and the board of education, has launched the Violent Video Games Return Programme in response to the recent Sandy Hook Elementary shootings.

Members of the public are encouraged to hand over violent media, including music, films and video games, in return for a $25 gift certificate.

"The group's action is not intended to be construed as a statement declaring that violent video games were the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on 14th December," reads a SouthingtonSOS statement.

"Rather, SouthingtonSOS is saying is that there is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitising our children to acts of violence including bullying."

Southington School superintendent Joe Erardi told Polygon that parents need to have a "real, sound conversation with their children about video games".

"There are youngsters who appear to be consumed with violent video games. I'm not certain if that's a good thing. If this encourages one courageous conversation with a parent and their child, then it's a success.

"We're suggesting that for parents who have a child or children who play violent video games, to first of all view the games.

"We're asking parents to better understand what their child is doing. Have a conversation about next steps. If parents are comfortable [with their child's gaming habits], we're comfortable," he added.

Violent video games were singled out by the NRA in the aftermath of the shootings, and have previously been linked to knife crime in Sydney.

Id Software's John Carmack, meanwhile, once claimed that playing violent video games could help curb real-life aggression, claiming that they can be cathartic.

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