SPECIAL REPORT: Do violent video games lead to violence?

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – “First person shooters, RPGs, games that do have a lot of violence in them.”

17-year-old James Wilson loves to play video games.

“I know he plays Call of Duty, I know he plays Modern Warfare, I just don't want to see it,” his mom, Kim Wilson, says.

In the gaming world, it's all about the thrill of the kill. But does on screen violence lead to real-world aggression?

“In the wrong kind of environment, with no understanding of how the real world works, definitely. They can see something on the video games and say hey I want to do that and recreate those in real life,” James says.

Dr. Joseph Zanga, Chief of Pediatrics at the Medical Center, agrees. “Children become immune to some of the horror they are seeing. And so it increases the likelihood they will approach a situation in the same violent way that they have seen it in a video game.”

Possibly what happened with accused Newtown shooter, Adam Lazna. A documentary airing Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on PBS called “Raising Adam Lanza” asks the question, what role did violent video games play in his life?

A Hartford Courant and Frontline investigation shows police uncovered thousands of dollars worth of video games in the 20-year-old's home after the shooting.

“Children's brains don't fully mature until they are in their mid-20's and how can you think they can understand all these things that they are seeing and rationalize it,” Zanga says.

Investigators believe Lanza may have been inspired by video games for the attack because he changed magazines more frequently than necessary.

“People that tend to do violent acts after they play a violent video game are stuck in this delusional mind set where they think they are stuck in the game basically,” James says.

James has been playing violent games for years, but leaves the violence on screen. His mom says she thinks parents need to make their own call when it comes to video games, based on their children.

“If you raise your kids right, if you instill them with those moral values, it doesn't matter what they play, they will still make the right choices when it comes to life,” Kim Wilson says.


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