We had to double check this to make sure we weren't reading it wrong. Newspaper The Guardian has published a piece defending video games, stating that children denied access to games are "deprived" of a "rich and magical experience". It's all gone a bit hippy-ish over here.
"Dr Tanya Byron's eminently sensible report last month on children and new technology emphasized the many opportunities for fun and learning that games provide," says Alderman. "But the media coverage focused on the usual fears and worries.
"Byron said that we need to move away from talking about computer games 'causing harm'; in response, TV and newspapers showed stills from games with titles like Manhunt and God of War. Byron said children need to be 'empowered to keep themselves safe'; newspapers said computers and televisions should be kept in communal spaces in the home."
"The world of Grand Theft Auto does contain violence and misogyny; but then, so does The Godfather, or Goodfellas," the article continues. "GTA3 is set in a tough, dangerous world. Johnson is trying to clean up his neighbourhood. But as a dispossessed, orphaned young black man, he has no option but to re-form his neighbourhood gang to do so. The makers of this game, like the makers of any movie about gangland, can stand squarely behind the art they have created and say: this represents reality. If it offends you, don't criticise the art, but take action to improve the world around you."
The Guardian piece also puts some blame on parents themselves, calling on them - like the Byron report - to try and understand what their kids are playing.
"Clearly, these themes [in GTA] are not suitable for young children. But just as a responsible parent wouldn't hand their child a copy of American Psycho or sit them down in front of Marathon Man without any further discussion or comment, games can and should be part of the ongoing conversation between parents and children about the world."
"The gaming world isn't filled only with violence and depravity. In fact, it's mostly enchanting," the article continues. "Computer games can be works of art and literature - they're still developing. The stories they can tell, and the experiences they provide, are increasingly sophisticated and glorious. And that, of course, is the point."
"The world that today's 10-year-olds grow into will offer so many rich experiences via video games: the real neglect would be to deny our children the opportunity to understand and enjoy them."
We're going back to re-read this now. Did she definitely not say Bully should be banned?
Apr 11, 2008