A 16-year-old from Roselle, Illinois was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct Monday after he allegedly made a threat to shoot up a local high school, Roselle police announced on their Facebook page.
His punishment? To start, home detention – and a judge’s order order barring him from playing violent video games.
The Chicago Tribune reports that prosecutors said the teen became “annoyed” with talk about a previous threat to the school that had closed the building the previous Friday, and posted a clip on Snapchat saying “Y’all need to shut up about school shootings or I’ll do one.”
The post was reported to a school resource officer, who worked with other officers and officials to take the student into custody, after which he was sent to a youth detention facility, police said.
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Public defenders said the boy’s post was a joke made in poor taste but not a genuine threat, and a search of his home turned up no weapons, the Chicago Tribune reported.
He was charged with two counts of felony disorderly conduct, and on Tuesday a judge ordered him to be confined to his home until at least March 12, according to a release.
The judge also ordered him turn over his phone, stay away from social media and to have no access to violent video games, telling the boy, “You can play all the Mario Kart you want,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
A spokesperson for the state’s attorney told Ars Technica the judge chastised the boy’s parents for not “keeping him off those games,” and said the ban was not a punishment “per se” but an “extra precaution” to make sure he had no contact with other players in the games.
“With fear in our classrooms, teachers can’t teach and students can’t learn,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said in a statement. “The case against this student epitomizes the need for parents to be involved and to monitor their children’s social media use.”
The incident comes about two weeks after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly took an AR-15 rifle into a Parkland, Fla., high school and opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring another 15.
The shooting shocked the nation, made some surviving students overnight gun-control activists and led to a wave of investigations against potential threats to other schools, many of them baseless.
The judge’s decision to bar the student from playing violent games also comes after several lawmakers and officials, including Kentucky governor Matt Bevin and President Donald Trump, argued that violent video games and movies were at least partially to blame for mass shootings.
“We have to look at the internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed,” Trump said, according to The New York Times. “We have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it. And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”
The research on that connection is shaky, however. Courts - including the U.S. Supreme Court – have not been convinced by arguments that video games promote or lead to violent behavior.
And although some groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggest a “significant” link between violent media and aggressive thoughts and behavior, other studies have found no such link. Some studies, including one released in February 2016, even found that violent crimes decreased following the release of popular video games.