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Friday, January 05, 2007

Boris Johnson: Games Rot The Brain

It's the snarl that gives the game away. It's the sobbing and the shrieking and the horrible pleading -- that's how you know your children are undergoing a sudden narcotic withdrawal. As the strobing colours die away and the screen goes black, you listen to the wail of protest from the offspring and you know that you have just turned off their drug, and you know that, to a greater or lesser extent, they are addicts.

Some children have it bad. Some are miraculously unaffected. But millions of seven- to 15-year-olds are hooked, especially boys, and it is time someone had the guts to stand up, cross the room and just say no to Nintendo. It is time to garrotte the Game Boy and paralyse the PlayStation, and it is about time, as a society, that we admitted the catastrophic effect these blasted gizmos are having on the literacy and the prospects of young males.
-- Boris Johnson MP: Computer Games (via Next Gen)

Yeah, expect any statement which declares millions of kids to be addicted to video games which is in turn akin to crack cocaine to be a beacon of reasonable discourse. He goes on and on, bemoaning how computers are keeping kids from reading and being "properly programmed" for real life. Just in case you had mistaken the rant for something close to rational - he finishes by suggesting everyone take sledgehammer to their Christmas presents.

This will in turn, apparently, free us from our bla h bl snoooore. Oh sorry - I must have nodded off there for a bit. Yeesh, what a dope. My grandmother used the Atari 2600 to trick us kids into spending more time at her place. And get this - it worked. And we didn't play Pitfall all day ... we also spent time making pancakes and counting pennies. I've clocked lots of hours with my parents playing Intellivision games. And some folks these days, like Jeff Freeman, chum up with their kids over games.

Games are a tool - not a drug. It's up to parents to regulate their time with kids. To monitor what kinds of games and how much of them kids are spending playing with them. Yes, I think kids should read, skip, have imaginary friends and go play in the yard sometime.

I do not think a sledgehammer is a worthy replacement for good parenting.

Note to Boris: get a Wii and chill the hell out.

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