Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Nablopomo and other aliens: Day 10

I was watching BBC Breakfast this morning before I trundled off to work, saw a report on Call of Duty: Black Ops and have spent my spare minutes today trying to find the names of the guests.

It turns out my faith in the internet ("no, I won't need to find a pen to write this down, it will be on the internet later" munch munch sugar puffs munch coffee slurp slurp etc) was misplaced, and I can find neither the names of the guests nor any direct quotations.

It's no great loss. Nothing that the mimsy lady in question said about children and violent video games said was anything we haven't heard before. She clearly hadn't played the game (yawn), but then neither did she say anything abominably misinformed. She had just been dutifully wheeled out by the BBC in order to provide an alternative viewpoint to the "games are ok in small doses" stance of the mother of two who sat on the other side of the sofa. BBC Breakfast television. It's no Today Programme.

She did assert (in hushed tones) that the reason the games industry was growing faster than the film and music was that games are addictive and provide a "hit" akin to a street drug. I might suggest that the way the the cost of individual units and the difficulty of pirating video games for consoles are more likely reasons why the games industry is an inherently more profitable one than the film and music industries are today, but who am I to criticise the concerned flappings of the editor of Fretful Mother magazine?*

No, there wasn't anything too bile-raising about the discussion. The general consensus of a) the BBC breakfast team (pictured toothily above) b) the mimsy lady c) the pragmatic mother of two was that children probably shouldn't be playing 18-rated video games.

What did intregue me was the discussion of disturbing content, and how children consume it. The pragmatic mother was accompanied by her offspring, a 13-year old boy and a 12-year old girl. Although the girl favoured "animal" games and the boy favoured "action" games, both pointed out that they had witnessed disturbing content at some points in their lives, whether at home or at friends' houses. They said that they preferred being armed with experience to being left in the dark, and that this made them less disturbed when they inevitably did end up watching violent games or films.

Mimsy lady wasted no time in informing them that this was because they had been "traumatised" by the disturbing content they had seen, and that the "desensitisation" alone was reason enough for keeping children away from graphic or shocking images.

Tomorrow (I'm sorry about pulling a cliffhanger on you), I'm going to pick this apart, because whilst I think Mimsy McFretful might have a point, she might be missing some things out.

*I might have made that last bit up.

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