Debate Over Violent Video Games

North Central College senior Mike Tworek and his roommates are among the thousands of Americans who play “Call of Duty” for some friendly competition.

“You can play against multiple people so that kind of helps out with the competitiveness you’re not just paying against robots the entire time,” said Tworek. “It just gives us more to be competitive about.

The recent senseless acts of violence, like the Colorado movie massacre and the Newtown school shooting, have people around the country asking “Why?”

In searching for answers, a number of issues have arisen, including violent video games. Over the past few weeks, politicians have taken aim at this sort of entertainment, claiming it contributed to recent mass murders. President Obama is even commissioning congress to use $10 million towards researching violent video games.

“Congress should study the effects that violent video games have on young minds,” said President Obama. “We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.”

Utah Congressman Jim Matheson has also proposed a bill banning the sales of video games with a mature rating to minors.

“Let’s say they pass laws that try to limit video games. Okay, you’re still going to have all the other risk factors – drug use, gangs, poverty, high unemployment,” said Adam Russo, Chairman and CEO of Edgewood Clinical Services. “These all things that are going to contribute to violence so just controlling video games is a sliver of the pie.”

As a psychologist Russo sees a number of children who become addicted to video games, often causing them to lose sleep or even struggle socially. But do violent games breed violent behavior?

“Yes, but not in a causal way that a lot of people think it does. If people are playing violent video games is it going to lead to violent behavior itself, no? If there are other risk factors involved then yes, maybe… so violent video games can have an impact but the level and extent to which it does is debated.

And that’s certainly evident among the general population.

“I do think they lead to violent behavior although I don’t think they should be regulated,” said Oswego resident Steve Franczek. “I think that should be in the hands of the parent and not the government.”

“I don’t think they cause violent behavior but I think it could desensitize some people to it,” said Jennifer Canzano of Chicago.

“We play “Call of Duty” all the time,” said Cori O’Connel, Naperville mother of a seven year-old and a 11 year-old. “As long as you tell the kids, this is not real, this is just a game, they’re okay with it.

The question is: Is the government okay with it?

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