Could a violent video game trade-in program help put an end to real-world violence?
According to the Boston times the issue of violent video games was brought to the attention of Mayor Dolan after a couple, Andrew and Tracey Hyams, accompanied by their 12 year old son, were appalled by an arcade style shooting game in a rest stop in Charlton on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Andrew Hyams described the event in a telephone interview Thursday. He explained that ’the youth was firing a machine gun replica at the screen, licking off simulated rounds with a rapid-fire rat-tat-tat that reverberated off the walls.’ he said “You could even hear it in the bathroom,”
Because the plaza is close to Newtown, Conn., Hyams said, a relative of one of the school shooting victims could have walked in and seen a player firing away, 10 days after the massacre that took the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults.
“People have the freedom to have whatever video games in their own homes that they want,” Hyams said “we were struck by walking into a [state-owned] rest stop within an hour’s drive of Newtown and seeing and hearing a life-sized, mounted machine gun on a video game.”
After receiving an e-mail from the Hyams, the Massachusetts agency removed nine violent games from service plazas in Charlton, Ludlow, Lee, and Beverly.
What happens from here?
Robert Dolan of Melrose said Thursday that the city is launching a violent game trade-in program aimed at persuading families to get rid of their violent video games, movies, and toys by offering coupons to residents who turn in those items at the city yard.
“I’m not saying people shouldn’t have [violent games and toys], but, at least in my house, things have changed since Connecticut,” -Mayor Dolan
Dolan, a father of two children 4 and 7 years old, said he felt compelled to start the violent game trade-in program called called New Year — New Direction following the Newtown shootings. He hopes to have it up and running by Feb. 1.
Under the initiative any residents who throw away items can retrieve a coupon sheet, which may include deals at local businesses and possibly a “get out of homework free” coupon, Dolan said.
“The child may be getting rid of something they like, but they are getting some value for it,” he said.
“In our small nook we can maybe foster some real discussion and some action on our violent society ’cause we know something’s broken.”
A similar program was to be held in Southington, Conn. last weekend, in which children could turn in violent video games for a $25 voucher good towards other forms of entertainment. The founding group, SouthingtonSOS, planned to break and burn the collected video games. The return program was canceled, although the group said they were happy with their efforts and felt they succeeded in their goal to “promote discussion of violent video games and media with children and with the families at the home.”
It will certainly be interesting to see how the program turns out.
What do you think? Are violent video games a cause of real life violence? Is this a good plan to combat a possibly growing issue? How would you feel if a violent game trade-in program came to your town? Parents and parental figures of all sorts: What do you think about the “get out of homework” coupon? Would you let your child turn in their games and toys in exchange for a homework free night/week/month?