QCS Senior Writer
Two Tucumcari Middle School students will advocate for parental diligence to combat the dangers of video game and television violence for teens at Saturday’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) district competition in Clovis.
“We have chosen to demonstrate how teens are being over-exposed to violent content in video games, social media and TV,” said eighth-grader Sydney Goldston.
“The goal of our presentation is to appeal to the parents to be mindful of what shows and games their children are watching and playing,” said Christopher Arellano, also an eighth grader.
Goldston and Arellano chose to relay their messages to the judges of the contest using an advocacy style. They will plead and argue their cause in favor of moderating exposure of today’s youth to video game and TV violence.
Goldston said the students are not asking that parents take away video games and not allow teens to watch television altogether. She said instead, they want to make the parents aware of the dangers of overlooking how much violence their children are exposed to on a regular basis.
Arellano said reports indicate that Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary school slayings in Newton Conn., played violent video games. Arellano said this may not have been the overall cause for Lanza’s actions, but the video games, violent television shows and even videos of other school shootings provided a means for him to act out, plan and ultimately the construct to carry out his plan.
Arellano said the students’ research for this project included news reports and journal articles about incidents in which teens acted out violent scenarios they saw on television or in a video game. He said he plays violent video games and knows how one can lose themselves in the open and free format.
Goldston said she doesn’t play video games but would watch the television show COPS with her mother and cousin, and would see many acts of violence on the show. She said once her cousin was watching the show and blurted out a violent comment.
“I was shocked when my cousin started screaming,” Goldston said. “When I asked her where that outburst came from she couldn’t give me an answer other than I was just going along with the show.”
Goldston said that during the competition their target audience will be the judges themselves. The judges, she said, will be teachers and adults who have children and grandchildren of their own. She said by advocating the need to moderate and monitor the amount of violence children are exposed to might influence them to evaluate their own children’s media habits and spread the idea to other parents.
Arellano said living in Tucumcari used to limit the amount of violent content a teenager was exposed too. There are video games available for purchase but many would have to travel out of town to purchases games with high violence content. He said many of those games have to be purchased by parents, and that makes wonder if parents are aware of the content they are buying for their children.
Goldston said with satellite and cable company expansions over the years, there is now a limitless supply of violent content, all in high-definition, available to the public. She said it’s important that parents monitor, limit and even restrict the amount and type of violent programs their children are watching.