California Program Offers Free Ice Cream In Exchange For Violent Games

A program in Marin County, California lets gamers trade in their violent video games in exchange for ice cream.

The program was conceptualized by district attorney Ed Berberian in partnership with Center for Domestic Peace and renowned ice cream company Ben & Jerry's, the Marin County Independent Journal reported.

Aside from video games, residents are also encouraged to turn in toy guns to get free ice cream.

The program will run on all Saturdays of October. Participants can bring their violence-related items in selected drop-off points.

According to Berberian, the program aims to protect children from the effects of violent situations. Doing this while they're young can minimize their chances of exhibiting violent behavior as adults.

"As we know domestic violence incidents almost always have children present and these children develop over time imprinted images of the family violence," Berberian said.

"These children then carry those experiences into their adult lives and often repeat the pattern of violence in their own family units," he continued.

The district attorney added that taking away toy guns and violent games ensures a "chance to change today's modeling patterns." He also believes that shielding children from the subject of violence can "alter how one later addresses conflict situations."

For Marla Hedlund, Center for Domestic Peace's development and community relations manager, Berberian's program is a way to inform people about the damaging impact of violence on children, according to IGN.

"Children reflect the culture they live in," she said. "This is really all about having a conversation with our community and our children about the culture of violence."

"We're trying to inspire people to become part of the movement to create peace in a violence-free environment," she added.

Berberian's anti-violence program follows the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Sonoma County, California.

In Oct. 22, 2013, deputy Erick Gelhaus saw Lopez walking around with an airsoft replica of an AK-47 assault rifle, CNN reported. Gelhaus mistook the toy gun for a real firearm and opened fire on the teen. No charges were filed against Gelhaus.  

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