[Update: They called it off]
A group of citizens of the town of Southington, Connecticut have organized and created a program whose sole mission is to rid their town of violent video games. In a previous article, I referenced how various organizations had been flirting with the idea that video games were the cause of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, however, that idea has now taken form into the country’s first “Violent Video Game Return Program.”
Yes, I wish I was kidding. Southington is a town roughly 30 miles away from Newtown, where the massacre took place, and its citizens are more concerned than ever. The aforementioned group is calling itself SouthingtonSOS. Most members consist of parents who are frightened that violent media will desensitize their children, however whether or not that is a bad thing is another debate entirely. The group’s goal at hand is simple: destroy all forms of violent media in Southington, Connecticut.
On the town website, you may access the flyer advertising an upcoming drive of theirs stating the following:
The Town of Southington will have a dumpster there for the collection of Violent Video Games, CDs and DVDs. As people arrive in their cars to turn in their games of violence, they will be offered a gift certificate donated by a member of the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce as a token of appreciation for their action of responsible citizenship. Violent games turned in will be destroyed and placed in the town dumpster for appropriate permanent disposal.
SouthingtonSOS would like to note, however, that they do not wish their objective be interpreted as a claim that violent video games were indeed the cause of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, as opposed to other forms of violence among their children such as bullying. They wish to point out that the stream of violent media is making their children aggressive, fearful, and anxious in the presence of violence and killing. They state they have “ample evidence” of all of this, yet as has been mentioned before, that is yet to actually be found. Research has still not provided solid evidence that video games turn children into murderers and thieves. Desensitization is not always as malicious as it might seem.
Additionally, it goes without saying that most children would still be anxious when the recent tragedy is still raw. Here, one could bring up the argument that violent media has been around for decades now and this course of action is not necessary nor relevant, yet this is nothing that has not been said before. When this coalition has been formed so close to the allegations of violent video games towards the massacre, their true beliefs are debatable. Regardless of the reason this group has been formed, their permanent disposal and destruction of violent video games is an excessively direct action that is likely to send mixed signals to the children of Southington as it is, ironically enough, an aggressive action on its own.
While it is understandable for these people to be freaked out by what happened just weeks ago in Newtown, in my opinion, this only seems to be running away from the problem, proving nothing in the long-run when these children are raised with an altered, sugar-coated, perception of the world. By no means should murder and mayhem be exposed to them relentlessly, but there is such a thing as moderation. Only time will tell whether this program follows through and brings them the results they want.
You can read more about the group’s recent declaration here.
For more on the effects of media violence on children, click here.