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How influential are violent video games?

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ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

The debate of how influential a violent video game may be is playing out in our area too. WBTV's David Whisenant sat down with four students from South Rowan High School in Landis. All four say they do regularly play video games.

Some of the most popular games are also some of the most violent.

"I play like Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, SIMS, Mario games, stuff like that," said Olivia Wallace, 15.

"I play Call of Duty often, but not as much as basketball and football," said Tvavis Wesley, 18.

Violent video games have been drawn into the national discussion about gun violence, with some saying the graphic images played out in games can carry over into real life.

"I do because the more you play it, the more the mindset is, you get used to killing people on video games," Wesley added.

"I think it is a big influence on people to act out because I think they want to do what's in the game, and some other people know it's just fake," said Josh Medlin, 17.

"I think it depends on the person," said Sarah Crawley, 17. "Some people are unable to bridge the gap between what is reality and what is fantasy, and if they can't do that then they could go out into the world and do what they characters in the video games do."

Olivia Wallace says not so fast. "I don't think video games make people violent as much as they make people reclusive," Wallace told WBTV. "And I don't think anything needs to be done about it in a violent way."

What should parents do? The gamers I talked to said that's where the real responsibility is. Games carrying ratings for violent and sexual content, but that is sometimes ignored.

"They always say put an age limit on it, but parents just don't care, if that's what their kid wants then they'll go get it for them," Wesley said.

Paying attention to the ratings is one step.

"I just think parents should be more strict about what they buy for their kids," added Medlin.

Another option, they say, could be encouraging a child to at least consider games that aren't so explicit. Sarah

Crawley plays a fantasy game called legend of Zelda. There is violence, but it isn't graphic like that found in other games.

"There's no blood or gore in it," Crawley said.

And all four students agreed that parents should be the ultimate authority when it comes to what games a child should play. And when they have a child of their own what would they do?

"As much violence as there is in this world, I would explain to them why you shouldn't play this game," Wesley added.

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