The Violent Video Games Return Program is a community initiative started by representatives from Southington, CT which will allow residents to trade-in their violent games for $25 a gift certificate donated by the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce.
Games, along with movie and music discs, which are turned in will be broken up before being incinerated by city employees on January 12.
The collective, known as SouthingtonSOS, is made up of members representing the local Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, the board of education, the Southington fire department, various city officials, the United Way and local clergy members.
“What happened in our community, very similar to communities across the world, is everyone wanted to do something for Newtown,” Southington School superintendent Joe Erardi told Polygon. “The SOS convened and we looked at how do we continue to pray and support Newtown and how do we do something perhaps meaningful for Newtown and our own community.
“There are youngsters who appear to be consumed with violent video games. I’m not certain if that’s a good thing. If this encourages one courageous conversation with a parent and their child, then it’s a success. We’re suggesting that for parents who have a child or children who play violent video games, to first of all view the games. We’re asking parents to better understand what their child is doing. Have a conversation about next steps. If parents are comfortable (with their child’s gaming habits), we’re comfortable.”
A further statement from SouthingtonSOS said the return program doesn’t suggest “that violent video games were the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on December 14,” but is instead a means to bring awareness to “violent media of all kinds, including TV and Movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing,” and how it contributes to “increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and [the] desensitization of our children.”
The town is located approximately 30 miles from Newtown, CT where a school shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14.