Daily Mail, you never fail to disappoint.
Let’s look at this first, from ‘REVEALED: THE VERY REAL DANGERS OF VIDEO GAMES’.
They also came as a British teacher said children as young as four were hitting classmates as they re-enact scenes from violent 18-rated computer games.
She claimed youngsters were struggling to separate reality from their experiences in the virtual world and then copied the scenes at school.
They were coming to lessons too tired to learn after staying up late playing computer games, and were often leading ‘solitary lives’.
Alison Sherratt, a reception class teacher at Riddlesden St Mary’s Church of England Primary in Keighley, West Yorkshire, outlined her concerns at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference earlier this month.
She said pupils regularly discussed playing games such as the Call Of Duty series, set in various war zones, and Grand Theft Auto – where players carry out robberies, muggings, killings, drug deals and beat prostitutes with baseball bats.
On one occasion, she saw pupils throwing themselves from a play car in slow motion and pretending blood was spurting out of them.
Her warning came after news that 14-year-old Daniel Bartlam killed his mother with a claw hammer after watching a wide range of violent video games, films and TV storylines.
Age limits exist for a reason. If you are going to give a child as young as four games like Grand Theft Auto, you are -asking- for trouble. Do you let toddlers play with knives? Do you give them bottles of whiskey instead of milk? Of course not. Media is no different, be it video game, film or book. It is a pet peeve of mine that people complain of violent behaviour in children when they are exposed to games and movies like this. Media like this provides role models for these children. Parents who exercise some restraint on their little darlings and not bowing to the ‘My friends have this!’ peer pressure may find that their children won’t obsess over this type of thing.
The attitude to video games needs to mature. A lot of people treat them distantly, as if they are weapons of mass destruction or some form of arcane art. They’re not. Film, literature and games all have differing works that try to attempt different things. Some are intellectual and try to tell a story. Some intend to offend. Some intend to inform. Some are difficult to understand (to watch, to read, to play). Some are simply terribad.
So it is perhaps saddening to hear refreshing clarity from Breivik, rather than reputable news sources. From The Guardian:
“WoW is only a fantasy game, which is not violent at all. It’s just fantasy. It’s a strategy game. You co-operate with a lot of others to overcome challenges. That’s why you do it. It’s a very social game. Half of the time you are connected in communication with others. It would be wrong to consider it an antisocial game.”
Very true. As a former player, I can attest to this. In fact, I have made some lifelong friends through World of Warcraft.
I also find myself agreeing with him about Call of Duty, insofar as it develops ‘target acquisition’. However, many games do this. Hell, even Duck Hunt manages this. It hones your ability to recognise and eliminate a target as quickly as possible. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to become a top soldier. It doesn’t even mean that you can handle a gun adequately. This is no excuse for shoddy reporting. From the Daily Mail:
In a chilling admission regarding the efficacy of the controversial computer game he added: ‘You could give it your grandmother and she would be able to become a super marksman!’
“If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it’s built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman. It’s designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you’ve practised using a simulator.”