I can’t believe the Tonight with Trevor McDonald television show this evening, it’s the third time I’ve watched the show and the third time I’ve been struck with the poor, ill informed, biased, sensationalised and downright idiotic reporting. Strangely tonights show was about videogames, and one of the previous shows that made me feel like this was about…yes…videogames, with the same reporter (in front of the camera more times than she should have been) trying to coax something dramatic out of a non-existent story.
Tonight’s show had the following blurb from RadioTimes:
Linda Duberley investigates alarming evidence that suggests increasing numbers of children are becoming dangerously addicted to playing computer games. She meets parents whose children spend up to 14 hours each day locked in a virtual world and reports on new methods aimed at weaning them away from their consoles.
You can already see the level the show was going for as it took children from various homes and plonked them in front of a computer with unlimited access and a new game they loved. Amazingly they played it as much as they could – surprise! I’ve seen that happen with a Thomas the Tank Engine video – quick, Thomas the Tank Engine videos can kill your children!
There were as many connections made between kids who had killed themselves or simply retreated into their own world and videogames as possible, when there was no attempt to try and discover if there was something wrong with the kids already. One psychologist, who’s screen time was shorter than one of the reporters concerned looks to camera, managed to point out that there is something wrong with these children beforehand and that games are just a symptom because there are there. Needless to say he wasn’t shown for long and it was back to the SHOCK! HORROR! stories of our world being destroyed by videogames.
The last show I saw of hers on this entertainment programme (joking aside it does have a Day Today feel about it) was the one where they attempted to show that “violent” videogames made children shoot people to death and that the videogames were to blame. This was hilarious as all the kids she interviewed and coaxed to be negative were saying such things as “it’s not real life, we know that” or “it’s just a game”.
The examples she picked out to show the evil of videogames were where children had access to loaded weaponry in the parents house – is that the videogame fault? Could we find instances of people who have committed murder within a few hours of watching a Thomas the Tank Engine video, or eating fish and chips? Does that make those evil?