Home » Forums » Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) » ECA in the News

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Dennis McCauley
Joined: 2006-09-30


Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has taken issue with a study recently released by Save the Children, a British non-profit.

The organization surveyed teachers, more than 70% of whom worried that video games were causing children to become socially isolated. One-third felt that kids were experiencing lonliness and had difficulty in making new friends. Save the Children representative Lorna Redden said:

This research is showing that use of Internet chatrooms, mobile phone games and that kind of technology is making it harder for children to interact with each other.

What children do outside school does have an impact. If you’re just sitting in front of a computer screen when you go home from school, it is not going to help you interact with friends when you go to school.

But the ECA’s Halpin isn’t buying the group’s conclusions. In an interview with IGN, Halpin said:

This is another example of real world anecdotal evidence consistently flying in the face of pseudo-research. If that’s the case here, I’ve seen my son play DS with his cousins just as I’ve seen my daughter play hop-scotch with friends. Both sets of kids were having fun and communicating. Both were interacting and being social. One could even argue that the DS group was doing so in multiple channels more than the physical-only crowd.

Hearing about social isolation stories makes me wonder where the parent — or in this case, perhaps the parent and the teacher — has failed the child, not how the technology or media choices that he/she uses to pass their clearly lonely time has made them so…

I’m sure pointing fingers and laying blame elsewhere makes some adults feel better, but it just isn’t reality.

UPDATE: GP reader Dave Hammill e-mailed Lorna Redden who responded. We’ve posted Dave’s letter as well as Lorna’s response on the Letters to GP page.


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