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Video Game Controversy: Playing with Violence

A popular video game hit the market this week and that has sparked debate about the influence of its graphic material.
JOPLIN, MO.--- "This is one of the most popular titles we've seen come out in the last few years," said Graham Starkweather, Vintage Stock Manager.

First day retail sales from "Grand Theft Auto 5" were the highest of any game released by its publisher Take Two Interactive, which means the violent game is in the hands of more people than ever before. 

"You can basically run around, you follow three different stories for three different characters, and all revolve around bank robbery. So, there is a lot of violence in it," said Starkweather. 

Because video games are so interactive, experts say this could result in more aggressive behavior for those who play them.

"There is certain research that shows that it's desensitizing and certainly could prompt someone to become more violent," said Del Camp, Ozark Center Vice President. 

Camp says according to some research, people started relating to the characters after playing a violent game.

"Those who played the more violent video games self-identified as being much less socially helpful and potentially described themselves in more violent terms," said Camp. 

Proponents of the game say it's actually a good way to release built up anger.

"You had a bad day at work, so you come home and get online with your friends and fight gangsters. Ya know, do something crazy, steal a car and drive it down the street, things that we'll never be able to do in the real world," said Starkweather.

Both agree parents should take warning labels into consideration when they buy a game for their kids.

"What parents really need to make a decision about is if you're going to be wrong, on which end of wrong do you want to be," said Camp.

"A 10 year old may not be able to handle the violence in video games as well as another child, ya know, maybe like 15 or so. But just pay attention to the warning labels and be aware," said Starkweather.

"Grand Theft Auto 5" is rated M for mature for intense violence and its content of blood and gore. It's recommended for people 17 and older.
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