Video Games and Moral Panic

My bro sends along word that the Brits are considering a crack-down on video games. It’s For The Children™, of course!

The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister in response to a growing moral panic about video games, will conclude that they can harm the development of children’s beliefs and value systems and desensitise them to violence. It will also recommend that retailers who sell video games to anyone under the age rating on the box should face a hefty fine or up to five years in prison, The Times has learnt.The report, written by Tanya Byron, the clinical psychologist and television parenting guru, is also expected to address the dangers of children’s use of the internet.

“Moral panic,” as far as I knew, was a generally negative term for a group of people getting carried away by a distorted understanding of something they consider morally deviant. How lucky that a report commissioned to respond to British moral panic over video games has turned out to reinforce their beliefs!

Ms. Byron is suggesting video games be forced to carry cigarette-style health warnings (for example, like this one), which have been so very, very successful at keeping folks from smoking. She also says that parents need to be made aware of the prevalence of pornography online–because there are people out there who don’t know!

My brother writes:

Better put labels on politicians, (political) scientists (and I mean those scientists that are driven to conclusions due to politics), and “holy” men. I think they can harm the beliefs and value systems of more than just the children.

But I think the best response is in the comments to that Times article, from one Stuart in London:

If we were just simply to chop childrens hands off at birth. That way we don’t have to worry about these evil games and them shovelling fast food into their mouths… problem solved

Word.

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~ by Gabriel Malor on March 28, 2008.

 
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