Are gaming and technology damaging society?

Computers, TV and gaming are yet again being blamed for teenage violence, casual sex and the breakdown of pretty much everything from the nuclear family through to the international financial system.

The Daily Mail has been quick to report that teen pregnancies and mental illness can all be easily blamed on "computer games, the internet and television for 'the lurch to more and more violence which we know can breed violence and increase mental illness'."

Family break-up and selfish behaviour by adults in their "aggressive pursuit of personal success" is linked to "the effects of long hours spent watching television, on the internet and playing computer games."

The report claims that overexposure to violent images on TV and in computer games is largely to blame for the breakdown of caring, welfare-concerned family units well-equipped to nurture and bring successful and responsible children into adulthood.

From Shakespeare to the gogglebox

The report asks for a blanket ban on all advertising aimed at children under 12 and an end to booze and junk food ads before the 9pm watershed.

On television, it claims, "the violence is both physical and psychological, and violent argument appears as a standard response to disagreement. To be sure, there is plenty of violence in Shakespeare and in the cinema. But people used to go to the cinema once a week, whereas our children now watch television for an average of 17 hours a week."

Interestingly, in almost direct opposition to the Daily Mail's line on the Children's Society's report, the Advertising Standards Authority claimed that over 99 per cent of videogame advertising was responsible and properly scheduled or placed this week.

It really is difficult to take a 'stance' on an argument in which both sides seem to have been made up by a bunch of so-called journalists with apparently little or no understanding of how families work in today's Britain.

Whatever your personal or party politics may be, to appear to blame the breakdown of the nuclear family, the increases in violent crime, the problems of teen pregnancy or the personal tragedies that are brought on by problems with mental illness on excessive use of technologies and videogaming amongst adults is an incredibly simplistic and overly moralistic generalisation.

It is, to put it simply, utter poppycock.

Adam Hartley