While many jurisdictions have tried (and failed) to create legal barriers to prevent children from buying or playing violent video games, California’s Marin County is taking a different tack, asking families to voluntarily trade in their violent video games for ice cream and raffle tickets.
The Marin Independent Journal has a report on the county’s efforts for domestic violence awareness month, which offers weekly opportunities to trade violent video games or toy guns. According to the report, the contestants receive ice cream from the local Ben & Jerry’s store, and the contestants’ parents enter a raffle for further prizes.
The toy and game drive is led by District Attorney Ed Berberian and the Center for Domestic Peace, who jointly organized a firearms buyback program that saw more than 850 guns seized two years ago. Why should you move from real gun collecting to fake gun collecting and fake gun games?
“Children reflect the culture they live in,” Marla Hedlund, development and community relations manager at the Center for Domestic Peace, told the Independent Journal. “This is really all about having a conversation with our community and our children about the culture of violence. We’re trying to inspire people to be part of the movement to create peace in a violence-free environment.”
Many scientific studies have shown that playing violent video games does not actually increase violence in children, although there are still those who dispute these findings. A study has shown that challenging games can lead to more “aggression” in the real world right after playing, whether they’re violent or not, which should be obvious to anyone who’s thrown a controller against a wall in frustration.
Early last year, President Obama included funding for CDC research on the effects of violent video games in a national speech on how to stop mass shootings.