SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –President Obama called the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre the worst moment of his tenure, and has since vowed to face the gun control issue head on. The president is calling on the video game industry to talk about policy proposals to curb gun violence.
But do the games have a negative impact on kids? “If turning something off causes your child to go into a tailspin, then that might be a sign that this isn’t such a good thing for them,” said Child Psychologist Dr. Jack Fanton.
He says violent video games do desensitize children, and has seen firsthand the effects of kids being too attached to them. These types of games have once again become the object of scrutiny since the horrifying events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dr. Fanton says there are many reasons why kids turn to video games, including parents separating, and living in unsafe neighborhoods.
However, he points out that getting too wrapped up in the games could be an early sign of socialization issues. “We’ve heard the stories of how it’s somewhat insidious. It never starts out with a huge addiction. There’s been research into whether video game addiction can be a distinct clinical entity or not.
Its games like Call of Duty that Game Hunters Manager Michael Valade says he wouldn’t even think of selling to someone underage. “If an 8 year old comes in, I’m going to show him an adventure game, a Lego game, a Mario Nintendo game; I’m not going to show him call of duty, a gears of war. That’s my kind of game.”
Yet Valade admits there are parents who are in the dark about the types of video games their kids are playing, or they just don’t care. “The parent should be watching and paying attention. Unfortunately I don’t see parents paying attention around here as much as I would like,” he said.
Until parents do, both Dr. Fanton and Michael Valade feel there will still be problems.
Later this week, Vice President Joe Biden is slated to meet with representatives from gun-ownership groups and the video game industry to see if they can come together on policy.