“A for­mer Sun edi­tor wor­ried about vi­o­lent games yet to be in­vented!”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Gamingreviews -

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’!”

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