Connecticut Town Holds Drive to Collect and Destroy Violent Video Games
In light of the Newtown massacre, Southington, a small Connecticut community, is organizing a voluntary “Violent Video Games Return Program” aimed at collecting violent games, music, and movies from families and destroying them — potentially with fire.
Families can trade in their violent media on January 12th in exchange for a $25 gift voucher intended to be used for non-violent forms of entertainment. The collected items will then be snapped, tossed into a town dumpster and likely later incinerated, according to Southington School superintendent Joe Erardi.
The event is being organized by the SouthingtonSOS, a collective of representatives of Southington community organizations that includes the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, board of education, fire department, town officials, United Way and local clergy. Speaking with Polygon, Erardi stressed that the heart of the matter is getting parents to have a “real, sound conversation with their children about video games.”
“There are youngsters who appear to be consumed with violent video games,” he said. “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.”
According to a statement from the organization:
“The group’s action is not intended to be construed as statement declaring that violent video games were the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on December 14th. 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 desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying. Social and political commentators, as well as elected officials including the president, are attributing violent crime to many factors including inadequate gun control laws, a culture of violence and a recreational culture of violence.”
What are your thoughts? Erardi’s message about opening a conversation between parents and children, as well as getting parents to better understand the games their kids play, is one few people could argue with — but doesn’t the image of a giant, burning pile of shattered discs strike you as somewhat… disturbing?