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Mormon Media Observer: Drop the violent video games

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

You are probably wiser than I am about what this could mean — and more research needs to be done here.

But as I ponder the remarkable result in this study, I think about how our consciences are sensitive things. Overloading this delicate instrument as might happen in a game seems sure to cause confusion and frustration as we try to develop our senses of self and as we try learn right from wrong.

Here is what The American Psychological Association said, quite boldly, about violence in the media — including video games: "After 40+ years of research, one might think that debate about media violence effects would be over. An historical examination of the research reveals that debate concerning whether such exposure is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior should have been over years ago."

I don't wish to be a scold nor am I perfect. Heaven knows, far from it. I am also aware that some studies don't see such strong links between aggression and video games. I am aware of the limitations of science.

But can I issue a gentle call to the young men in my ward and to you? Cut some of the violence in your lives. Like the Lamanites of old, bury your weapons of virtual war deep in the ground and commit to never return to them.

(And by the way, if that's hard to do, you might recognize that as a sign of addiction, a worry of a different sort.)

It's time to do things that are more real, as Elder Bednar has said. Time to do things that last.

I implore you: Cut the violent video games from your life.

Lane Williams teaches journalism and communication at BYU-Idaho. He is a former journalist whose scholarly interests include Mormon portrayals in the media, media and religion, and religion and politics.

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