The video game - desensitization link ... was it a factor?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Russ Jones,Jody Brown (

An expert on the influence of violent video games believes such alleged "entertainment" may have played a role in last Friday's massacre of children and adults at a Connecticut school.

Adam Lanza killed 20 kindergartners at Sandy Hook Elementary School and six adults last week in Newtown, then turned his gun on himself. He was thought to have been a fan of warfare video games.

Al Menconi, a Southern California-based family advocate who lectures on the influence of media, believes there is significant relationship between violent gaming and aggressive behavior.


"When did you ever think that the most popular game is killing people?" he asks. "You can't point at video gaming and say video gaming made my child pull that trigger -- no, you can't ... and I'm not saying that.

"But I can say this, and research has backed me up: it has desensitized a whole generation of young people."

Menconi points to research that reveals a direct physiological occurrence during a first-person shooter game and the gamer.

"There's a little thrill that goes with the fact of killing -- and in fact, it hits the same mental synapse of the child as actual killing," he explains. "And after it is done over and over and over and over and over, that little rush needs a bigger rush. It's kind of like drugs."

Al Menconi Ministries also focuses on the negative influence of anti-biblical values portrayed in music and, in contrast, the positive effect Christian music can have. His "Christian Music Diet" -- which encourages individuals to listen exclusively to Christian music for 30 days -- kicks off January 1, 2013.

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121912'No moral conscience'

Dr. Ted Baehr, a Hollywood-based media expert and family and child advocate, concurs with Menconi on the impact of violent video games on behavior.

"We are breeding a generation of murderers with no moral conscience and no self-control," he states in a press release. He cites a recent study from Ohio State University that found "the negative effects of playing violent video games" are cumulative.

Baehr, Ted (Movieguide)Baehr, who is founder and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, observes that reports indicate the perpetrators of past massacres at Columbine (Colorado) High School in 1999 and, more recently, at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, were frequent video game players.

"None of these evil killers went to church or synagogue on a regular basis," he says. "Modern society's rejection of Christian, biblical faith and values clearly leads to social chaos and mass murder."

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also wonders about the negative influence of video gaming. He said Sunday on CNN that "violent video games and a 'culture of violence' found in the media could be contributing factors to mass shootings."

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