Massachusetts town to launch rewards program for turning in violent media and toys

Mayor Robert Dolan of Melrose, Mass. is planning to launch a program that will reward children who turn in violent media with gift certificates and nights without homework, reports The Boston Globe.

Dolan was compelled to start the program, called "New Year New Direction," in the wake of the Newtown shootings, and hopes to have it running by Feb. 1. Under the program, Melrose residents who discard violent video games, movies, music and toys will receive a sheet of coupons including deals with local businesses and even special "get out of homework free" coupons, Dolan said.

"The child may be getting rid of something they like, but they are getting some value for it," he said.

"In our small nook, we can maybe foster some real discussion and some action on our violent society 'cause we know something's broken."

A similar program was to be held in Southington, Conn. last weekend, in which children could turn in violent video games for a $25 voucher good towards other forms of entertainment. The founding group, SouthingtonSOS, planned to break and burn the collected video games. The return program was canceled, although the group said they were happy with their efforts and felt they succeeded in their goal to "promote discussion of violent video games and media with children and with the families at the home."

"If they were to take away all of these things, it'd still be bad people doing bad things," Dolan told Fox News Radio. "But in our small nook, we can maybe foster some real discussion and some action on our violent society 'cause we know something's broken."

Late last week, Vice President Joe Biden met with several groups to discuss violent video games and come up with concrete proposals on addressing gun violence, including White House Cabinet members and National Rifle Association officials, video game developers and publishers, retail executives and researchers. Attendees told Polygon their meetings with Biden were more focused on exploring current games research and brainstorming how the industry can take more positive steps towards improving its image to non-gamers.

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