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Violence levels in video games available to help buy Christmas giftsGoshen, IN - Now you can find out how to choose video games that contain less violence and are in keeping with your faith during this holiday season of peace and joy. Parents, friends, and family who buy games for children and teens can consult the Web sites of MMA, the Mennonite Association of Retired Persons, or Mennonite Church USA for help in avoiding violent games.
"We are encouraging adults who give gifts to children and teenagers to be aware of violent content and the social impact of video games during the holiday season," says Mark Regier, MMA's stewardship investing services manager.
During the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, when the industry makes much of its profit, video games with extreme violence are heavily marketed. Even though studies in behavioral science show that children and adolescents who play violent video games are at increased risk for aggressive behavior, these games are bestsellers sold by most retailers, and often directly to minors.
Violent video games have sophisticated graphics and technology like "first person shooter" and "virtual reality." Not only do these games seem more real, they also reward players for violence and brutality against women, police officers, and encourage racially motivated violent acts.
The information offered by MMA, MARP, and Mennonite Church USA is from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, which explains how games are rated, what content descriptors mean, and a retailer comparison chart that lists sales policies to minors.
"We wanted to respond to the needs of care givers, and especially grandparents, who are often out of the loop on the latest in electronics, and are very concerned about their grandchildren being exposed to inappropriate material," says Jay Roth, executive director of MARP. "We believe it's important that grandparents and care givers have the information they need to make responsible purchases of video games."
Fortunately, not all video games are violent. Wholesome games do exist. For example, there's Electronic Arts' best-selling SimCity Societies helps players build global communities to the benefit of all.
"We are encouraging responsible adults to give toys to children that provide true fun and skills that will be useful as they grow up," says Susan Mark Landis, peace advocate of Mennonite Church USA. "In this way we take a stand for peace and show that violence is not the only option; there is another way - the way of Jesus' love."
MARP's website (http://www.marp.mennonite.net)
Mennonite Church USA's Peace and Justice Support Network (PJSN) website (http://www.MennoniteUSA.org/peace) and its review of wholesome video games ( http://peace.mennolink.org/cgi-bin/blog/10.cgi?view=17)
MMA's website (http://www.mma-online.org)
National Institute on Media and the Family's annual list of most violent video games (http://www.mediafamily.org)
Entertainment Software Ratings Board video game rating system (http://www.esrb.org/ratings/index.jsp)
Impact of violent video games on children from the America Psychological Association: (http://www.psychologymatters.org/videogames.html)
David Walsh's annual study of the most violent video games (pending - Wednesday)
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