A Connecticut community is to hold an amnesty of violent video games in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Newtown.
Organisers Southington SOS plan to offer gift certificates in exchange for donated games, which will be burned. The group, a coalition of local organisations, says its actions do not assert that video games were the cause of the killings in nearby Newtown, but argues that violent games and films desensitize children to “acts of violence”.
The video game amnesty will take place on 12 January in Southington, a 30-minute drive east from Newtown. The town of Southington has provided a dumpster, organisers said, where violent video games, CDs or DVDs will be collected.
The press release accompanying the announcement said that Southington SOS’s action should not be “construed as statement declaring that violent video games were the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on December 14”.
“Rather, Southington SOS 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 desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying.”
Overreaction much? Scapegoat? They claim violent video games, films and music wasn’t the cause of the shooting incident, yet they are organizing this event because of the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook. So clearly they do feel there must be some correlation.
However, studies have shown that there is no real correlation between violent video games and movies and violent behavior. Here’s one from Journal of Youth and Adolescence (PDF file).
Here’s an article from April on ScienceDaily on the issue, about a Swedish study on the subject. The leader of the study, Jonas Ivarsson is quoted saying “In a nutshell, we’re questioning the whole gaming and violence debate, since it’s not based on a real problem but rather on some hypothetical reasoning.”
Nothing like a good old fashioned book burning is there?
Note: This event is happening in the neighboring town of Southington and not in Newtown.
Tip: Ingeborg Senneset via Twitter