Monday, 26 March 2012

hand-wringing for headlines

Won't SOMEBODY think of the CHILDREN?

That's what the newest frantic attempt to raise a moral panic is, once again, aiming for. To quote the BBC article:

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers raises concerns about children spending hours a day playing inappropriate computer games.

ATL head Dr Mary Bousted acknowledged such activities could be difficult to police.

But added that parents needed reminding of their duties

Members of the union are due to debate a resolution at their annual conference in Manchester next week, which calls for tougher legislation with regard to such games.

Dr Bousted said some of these games were "very violent" and could have an effect on "tender young minds of children and young people".

And she was sure her conference would hear how parents are ignoring age restrictions of computer games.

Now, it's possible that the journalists are the liars here, as it's certainly not the first time journalists have gone out of their way to give the wrong impression. But it sure sounds like what's being said is "I don't have any actual evidence, but I'm sure it's a problem! And I know that nothing can actually be done about it, but we need new laws anyway! Pay attention to meeeeeee!"

And what does the BBC use as a graphic to accompany this story? An image of a little girl playing a Nintendo DS, the least violent games console in existence.

Then it rambles on about how kids playing computer games are 'not interacting' (A much more realistic problem is that many computer games ARE letting kids interact with each other, but in negative ways. Social culture in MMORPGs is often beyond toxic and little has been done about it. Approaching that problem in a positive direction might actually be useful, and thus is of no interest to her) and 'not exercising' (Fair point for computer games. Of course, many people use their Wiis entirely for exercise, and some portable games have mechanics based around going out and walking...) and 'not playing' (.... um. ma'am? I think you're having a problem with words here.)

It's just typical generic "kids are doing something different! society is collapsing!" panic. Sigh.

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