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Should kids be banned from videogames? New 'study' claims they should be

10:01 PM on 01.12.2008 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

It's that time of the day, boys and girls, time for another bit of "research" that tells us all how mentally unhealthy videogames are. Today's slice of alarm-flavored study pie suggests that children under the age of seven should be banned from games because it can "damage their attention spans," and is leading to a rise in attention deficit-disorder which has nothing to do with the over-diagnosis of kids who act like kids.

Jane Healy, in a talk at the Consumer Electronics Show, declared that because most games provide only a "fight or flight" stimulus, and do nothing for the brain's ability for higher reason, they are surely dangerous and should be swept away from a child's range of playthings. Banning things makes everything alright.

I am vehemently against the false belief that it is the responsibility of any form of entertainment to educate children, which is why I'm calling this statement out on its bullsh*t. Back in the day, cartoons, television and games were about fun. I fail to see the educational merit in Tom & Jerry, for example. Nowadays, however, it seems everyone expects every single kid's TV show to be educational or steeped in morality. As usual, parental responsibility is not mentioned once, despite the fact that it's their job, not a videogame's, to help their child's mind develop. While games can have higher purposes, and I'd like more to aspire to intellectual challenges, not every title needs to be mentally stimulating. Old fashioned fun, a chance to switch off, is just as important.

It's rather sad that a so-called expert seems to believe that just because something may not have a positive effect on one aspect of the human brain, it MUST therefore have a detrimental effect. Who wrote that particular biological law? I don't remember learning that in school (where minds are supposed to develop, in theory). I want to see evidence of this so-called damage games are doing before I believe such a flawed and unfounded theory.

In short, Jane must have played a lot of videogames in her time, because I see very little reason behind what she claims.




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Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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