By Ed Harris
SouthingtonSOS believes it was successful in encouraging families to discuss the type of videogames played within the households, a dialogue the group hopes continues.
Earlier this month the group announced a local violent videogame return initiative that garnered national attention. Yesterday, the group canceled the program, saying that it had already met the goals of the initiative.
“I look at it as the event not being canceled, but completed,” said Southington School Supt. Dr. Joseph Erardi, a member of SouthingtonSOS. “It was our belief that it was mission accomplished.”
SouthingtonSOS, a community based, action-oriented task force comprised of members representing agencies, businesses, town officials and other Southington residents, was formed by YMCA Executive Director John Myers after Katrina. The group gathers only in times of emergency and Myers called the group into action following the Newtown tragedy to do what it could to help.
Myers said the response to the violent videogame initiative went above and beyond what the group had originally thought.
“I’ve seen it first hand here at the YMCA,” Myers said about the discussions over the media content. “Parents are seeing what their kids are into.”
To help continue the conversation over violent media, SouthingtonSOS has released the following tips for parents on how best to discuss the issue with their children.
Always remember that having a conversation with your child means listening as well as talking.
Set clear rules about media use in your home from a young age. This should include what can be played and watched, when, and for how long.
The best conversations happen when you are doing the activity with your child. That means while you are watching the movie, TV show or playing the video game, strike up a conversation. This is also the best way for you to see your child’s reaction to games, TV or movies, when you are right there beside them.
Talk about what you see. Ask your child what they see, how might they handle the situations you are viewing differently. Let them know what disturbs you. Ask them what disturbs them.
Talk about real consequences for the actions you are seeing. What would happen to this person in real life? Who would be affected by his actions? In real life, people don’t get away with violent behavior.
SouthingtonSOS also urges parents to know what the ratings mean on the media you are watching, movies, TV and video games. Use those as guidelines in choosing what is right for your children.
The group also suggests that parent rent a video game before buying it for your child and preview a movie before they watch it. Have the space where your children play their games in a public area of the house. Playing in isolation is not a good idea.