Connecticut town plans to collect and destroy violent games

Phil Savage at

Set your eyes to maximum roll. Polygon reports that Southington, CT, a town around 30 miles from the site of the Newtown massacre, is organising a "Violent Video Games Return Program". Despite the name, the drive will be collecting violent games, DVDs and CDs, which will then be destroyed, most likely through incineration. Of course, there's no mention of books being collected. Only crazy people burn books.

Despite the rather symbolic gesture, the organisers of the event stress that they aren't making a link between violent games and the school shooting itself. Their statement explains, "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."

Ample evidence? Clearly they need to read our own investigation into the studies on violent media and aggression, because it found no such thing.

There's a worthy message at the heart of this drive, but it's likely to be lost in the inflammatory act. According to Joe Erardi, a member of the SOS group, the drive is aims to encourage parents to have a "real, sound conversation with their children about video games." That's absolutely something that should happen. The whole point of age ratings is to give parents the power to prevent children getting their hands on violent media, and their taking a more active interest in their child's hobby can only be a positive step. I'm not sure that burning things is a helpful way to promote that.

Still, participants to the program will receive a $25 gift voucher from the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce, which isn't a bad incentive. It's certainly a great excuse to get rid of some crap DVDs.