Ohio ó Since the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children at
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., mental
health experts, the media, bereavement counselors,
grieving parents and others have wondered what
wickedness lurked in the mind of Adam Lanza.
of the issues at the forefront is whether violent video
games, which the 20-year-old was reportedly addicted to,
could be the problem. But could the games alone have
caused Lanza to become so out of control that they made
him kill those children and seven adults, including his
mother? Or was it something much more sinister?
someone goes and shoots like that Ö thereís mental
illness and then thereís evil," offered Kathy
Royer, clinical nurse specialist at 4KidHelp ó Center
for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in North Canton,
Ohio. "When it comes to video games, there is some
research that says Ö kids playing video games can lead
to aggressive behaviors."
assigning blame solely to video games is a mistake,
on my own research Ö some of the information is more
conclusive that itís family issues ó and I hold to
that," she continued.
ever is just one thing. Itís always a combination of
evidence-based research about the effects of violent
video games is rare. Still, the Dayton Daily News
reported recently that a new Ohio State University study
shows that playing violent video games can make people
more aggressive over time, though itís impossible to
link such games to violent criminal behavior like the
Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
month, President Barack Obama asked for $10 million to
allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and
other agencies to research the causes of gun violence,
specifying "research into the effects that violent
video games have on young minds."
Vice President Joe Biden said during a "PBS News
Hour" "Fireside Hangout" on Google Plus
that there is no hard data to prove that excessively
violent video games can cause people to engage in
behavior that is anti-social, including using guns.
the CDC, let the National Institute of Health, let these
people go out and look at the pathology thatís behind
this ó if there is a pathology related to gun
violence. We shouldnít be afraid of the facts,"
all of that though, back in 2011, the Supreme Court
ruled that states could not ban the sale or rental of
super violent games ó noting it violated young peopleís
First Amendment rights and left it up to parents and the
gaming industry to determine what children could
learn what local young people think about the influence
of violent video games on such crimes, we asked the
Beacon Journalís young readers group, our go-to source
when it comes to issues involving children and
Sparhawk, 18, a senior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High
School, agrees that video games arenít the solitary
reason for violent acts, though they do help to
desensitize kids to violence.
"can contribute to a personís tendency for
violent acts because, to them, it is something normal to
do that has no repercussions, because that is what they
are used to in their video games," Isabella said.
of the most violent games is "Call of Duty," a
wartime role-playing game that Lanza reportedly played
in the basement of his motherís home. Some are even
suggesting that games such as this one be banned.
do believe that there should be stricter regulations on
who has access to these games," said Jeanette
Lansigner, a Tallmadge High School freshman. "If
there were (over time) we could see if there is a
decrease in gun-violence tragedy."
Book, 20, of Barberton, Ohio, said a ban might be going
too far ó punishing those who would never take a leap
from playing a video game to murder.
think people who do violent acts are sick and need to
get Ö help," said the University of Mount Union
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finding help can be a problem.
a lack of providers (therapists, psychiatrists),"
Royer said. "For instance, 4 KidHelp is the only
true child and adolescent psychiatry practice in Stark
County. And when we go to Dover once a week to see
clients, we are the only provider in a five-county
area" south of Stark County.
need more providers and a safe place for the mentally
ill," she said. "Places like halfway houses or
Viningre, a 15-year-old Springfield High School student,
notes that if video games do contribute to violence, itís
because parents are not teaching their children the
difference between whatís real and whatís fantasy.
need to pay attention to what their children are doing
and step up when something seems amiss, Royer said. And
if a game is too violent, parents need to get rid of it
ó even if it angers the kids.
it has gotten to the point, she added, that some parents
are fearful of their childís reactions.
talk to a lot of parents and they are afraid to
discipline their kids Ö" she said. "I have
never seen so many kids who are disrespectful, and
mouthy, and nasty.
my job ends up being a cheerleader and support, saying
ĎGo ahead and be a parent. Discipline your child. Quit
being afraid of your kids.í"