Videogames blamed for violence in schools, shoddy parenting ignored


It’s been a while since videogames have been blamed for all the ills besetting our corrupt, decadent society, and with everything else going on in the world you’d think the media would have better things to cover. Nope! Out come the hatchets, knives, pitchforks and torches for another round of “what can we blame on videogames today?” This week it’s the unprecedented issue of kids being violent little bastards to each other in the playground, which simply never happened ever back in the good old days of caning, scrumping, catapults and other misty-eyed guff straight out of a Just William story. Happier times before the sinister bleeping SonyNintendobox infiltrated our homes, like a burglar or a paedophile, to sink its black silicon tendrils of sin into the pure and innocent hearts of our sweet darling children.

According to some concerned teachers at the Association of Teachers and Lecturer’s (ATL) annual conference, a “growing number” of proto-adults are acting out violent scenes from adult computer games in the playground. They’re so concerned about the “negative effects some computer games are having on the very young” that they’ve raised a motion calling on UK government ministers to bring about “stringent legislation” to counter it. Some primary school teachers trotted out the same tired old wank about games making kids aggressive and how the little mites are apparently too stupid to separate fantasy worlds from reality. If that were the only complaint I’d just yawn and move on. But wait, there’s more!

This article in The Grauniad – illustrated with a charming picture of a freckle-faced girl with pigtails and braces playing on a PS3 – explains teacher’s concerns that videogames are also responsible for “obesity, social exclusion and loneliness”, as well as that old chestnut “aggression”. Teachers also fear videogames cause kids to become anti-social and slow to develop speaking and listening skills, and claim many kiddywinks come to school exhausted from having played games until the early hours of the morning. Blimey, you’d think some authority figure in their home lives wasn’t supervising them properly.

One teacher at a Church of England primary school in West Yorkshire explained how her four- and five-year-old pupils pretended to “throw themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion”, making exaggerated blood-spurt motions like enthusiastic mimes with a macabre sense of humour. Back in my schooldays we just bodyslammed each other like the wrestlers on WWF, or pretended to kill each other with ninja weapons like in Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. We weren’t allowed to call them ninjas back then.

“We all expect to see rough and tumble,” she said, “but I have seen little ones acting out quite graphic scenes in the playground and there is a lot more hitting, hurting and thumping in the classroom for no particular reason.” She went on to claim her pupils actually believed the violence games was real and tried to recreate it in play, because kids are dumb. That’s why they all believe Teletubby land is a real place, Dora the Explorer actually has a talking monkey and Bob the Builder is a bona fide accredited construction worker. Look, kids can believe some stupid things but I credit them with some intelligence. The little scrotes can be downright Machiavellian when they put their under-developed minds to it.

As sensationalist as all this is I’m not going to go and stick my heavy boot in to teachers over this. They get enough stick as it is and all their worried hand-wringing at this conference of theirs, hysterical it may be, actually has a legitimate point. According to ATL general secretary Mary Bousted, “It’s about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can’t do it alone.” That’s far too polite a reminder for my liking so I’ll give it to you straight. Shitty parents are ignoring age restrictions on games and letting the little tykes stay up til fuck-knows-o’clock in the morning playing them. All these problems can be reduced or outright eliminated if parents actually did their fucking jobs properly and y’know, parented. Yep! I just went there.

A teacher’s job is to teach kids basic life skills like reading, writing, mathematics and finger painting. It is not a teacher’s job to ensure kids aren’t being exposed to material they’re too young for or getting a proper night’s sleep. I may have poured a cupful of scorn on their concerns earlier but apart from that I’m completely with them on this one. If you have children and let them play the likes of GTA or Modern Warfare all day and night, unsupervised, then congratulations on being a shitty parent! Please step up to accept your medal for parental incompetence sculpted from baked dog faeces. It’s the very least you deserve for being so absolutely fucking inept about raising your children.

If that offends you then here’s a fun fact, since I like facts nearly as much as I like being condescending towards fuckwits. Some games sold in the UK, particularly ones with violent or sexual content, are given age ratings from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Under UK law these ratings are legally binding so if you buy or rent an 18-rated movie for a child under that age you are breaking the law and can be fined up to £5000 (that’s around $8000 USD to my Yankee chums). The same rules apply 18-rated games. Buy an 18-rated game for your kid and you’re breaking the fucking law. Don’t believe me? You can ask the BBFC themselves.

The sooner shoddy parents actually take responsibility for raising their kids correctly – by limiting their exposure to violent games or not using an Xbox as a substitute child minder – the sooner we won’t have to put up with hysterical anti-videogame stuff like this. Once that’s all sorted we can get back to blaming television, subversive literature, rock music and the lack of compulsory national military service.

Source: The Guardian


About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.