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State Honoree

Danielle Shimotakahara

Oregon

waged a high-profile campaign in her town to remove violent coin-operated video games from public places where children congregate. Danielle felt that violent video games at pizza parlors, bowling alleys, skating rinks and other youth-oriented businesses were an extremely bad influence on impressionable young children, and on the day of the Columbine High School massacre, she decided that something should be done about them. “Kids as young as 3 years old can use mounted guns to shoot people to pieces and watch blood splatter on the screen,” she said. “Kids get points for killing people. I think it teaches them bad things.” Danielle researched the effects of violence on children, circulated a petition, sent letters to the editors of local newspapers and gave many presentations explaining why she thought video games were harmful to kids. Danielle collected thousands of signatures from both children and adults, including 29 state senators, and persuaded the Coos Bay City Council and a major church group to pass resolutions supporting her cause. She also was asked to testify at a U.S. Senate hearing on the effects of violent video games on children. Due to her efforts, several businesses in her town have removed or disconnected their video game machines, more parents are taking a closer look at the games their children are playing, and people throughout her community are more aware of the potentially harmful effects of these machines.