“A former Sun editor worried about violent games yet to be invented!”
stories are reported on by someone with little interest or knowledge – let alone expertise – on the subject.
On Panorama, the more clue-in reporter Rafael Rowe looked at the problem of gaming addiction. He didn’t find much evidence to support a trend in Britain, but warned that South Korea’s game culture has led to widespread addiction. He looked at three young British game addicts and a horrific case of a pair of mentally ill parents in Korea who let their child die while they played videogames.
I had several problems with the programme. It repeatedly implied that games were just for kids, even though, according to the BBC’s own website, the average age of UK gamers is 28. Panorama also suggested that these cases of game addiction, rather than highly unusual, were indicative of a rising trend. Indeed, some moments seemed to come straight out of the old Channel 4 spoof Brass Eye, such as the English mother who didn’t realise her son’s gaming was problematic even when he was playing for 16 consecutive hours.
Earlier this year, Alan Titchmarsh had a gamerelated discussion on his daytime ITV show, asking “Are games corrupting the nation’s kids?” The host didn’t know that games had different age certs, and one panellist (actress Julie Peasgood) decried game violence, despite the fact that she had once done voicework for a violent game herself.
CVG editor Tim Ingham defended gaming calmly and articulately, despite some bizarre accusations levelled against the medium, including concerns from former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, who worried about violent games yet to be invented!
Much of the gaming debate relates to abdicating parental responsibility. Parents have control over whether their children play violent games, and how long they spend on their consoles and PCs. As Julia Hardy, presenter of Bravo’s Gameface, said in a recent BBC radio interview “If your kid wanted to watch TV for eight hours, you would say ‘no’!”