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Mark of Cain
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Joined: 2008-01-25

Another anti-games piece from The Times
[QUOTE][B]Video games: I'll never buy one
I like wind, rain, tents, mountains, fresh air. That's why my children won't get Nintendos[/B]
Giles Whittell
Scene 1. Gatwick South Terminal, spring 2008, early morning. Shafts of limpid sunlight. Nicely shampooed family of four in pastel Boden (not my own) step gateward on to airside travelator. Hols start now. Low-fare Europe beckons. Whither these lucky bourgeois paragons on such a blessed morn? Val T? Nicosia? Palermo? Like the kids could give a s***. They've got their noses in their matching pink and blue Nintendos, thumbs a-tremble, and they'd sooner get eaten by the travelator and spat out as mince than look up and take the slightest bit of interest in reality.

Scene 2. Later that week, elsewhere in Europe. Your notebooker is tired after lashings of fresh air and exercise and dinner with friends. Tired and a little emotional.

He says: “I will never buy my children a Nintendo. Never.”

The friends laugh.

Scene 3. The Times newsroom, March 27, 2008. Dr Tanya Byron's “Safer Children in a Digital World” report is out. Its premise: video games and the net are good for kids as long as said kids can be protected from Grand Theft Auto, paedophiles and websites advocating murder and suicide.

Your notebooker: “I don't care what Dr Byron says. I will never buy my children a Nintendo. Or anything like it. Ever.”

The Times education editor: “Yes you will.”

Me: “You mean I have to give in?”

Her: “You have to give in. They'll hate you if you don't. This stuff is all part of their world and you should know about it. Don't worry. A lot of it is great.”

By the end of Scene 3, which our education editor concurs transpired more or less as above, I was more depressed than I can ever remember being. It was a sudden Marianas Trench of depression from which I knew I had to come out snarling or get stuck there. Hence this.

I hate video games, on or offline. I hate the way they suck real people into fake worlds and hold on to them for decades at a time. I hate being made to feel hateful for saying so, and I hate being told to immerse myself in them before passing judgment, because it feels like being told to immerse myself in smack and teenage pregnancy before passing judgment on them.

This is not because of anything wrong or bad about video games or heroin or teenage parents. It's not even because of game-induced homicide or web-grooming of little girls by perverts - serious problems, but statistically low-risk. It's because, compared with everything else on offer in a kid's life, video games and heroin and teenage pregnancy are a colossal waste of time.

Dr Byron says a third of ten-year-olds in England spend more than three hours per school day playing video games. In England, maybe. In my house, only when I'm dead. Meanwhile, I want my kids to overdose on wind, rain, mud, gravy, tents, mountains and overcooked bacon. (Oh, and do their homework.) Why is that suddenly so weird?[/QUOTE]

I love how he likens playing video games before before judging them to being a drug addict before judging drugs.

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