Video games. The current whipping boy of misinformed old school media outlets, fuelled by the Trump administration, the World Health Organisation and the purely ignorant. Years of study as to whether video games are inherently bad for us drew a blank. They don't increase violence, no more so than films do. They aren't any more addictive than television. Despite this, one study to the contrary and the WHO making 'gaming disorder' a recognised illness has caused problems and Fortnite, being the most popular game in the world, has become a target.
As a gamer, my opinion is a biased one. Despite that, it is also (big-headedly) a rational and sensible one. Hearing someone argue that kids shouldn't be 'killing each other' in a digital world triggers so many argumentative bones in my body. Multiplayer gaming isn't a new concept. World of Warcraft has been out for over a decade and the first Player Vs Player game was Neverwinter Nights in 1991, 27 years ago! When watching Teletubbies, would you be outraged that these creatures, who clearly shouldn't be allowed near electrical appliances, have no carer and are teaching kids to just bumble through life and 'figure it out'? Is it healthy for kids to be around football? With shouting and screaming and profanity and slurs plaguing every other match?
If you have an addictive personality then anything that you can enjoy, even to small degrees, can become addictive. That's how it works. A lot of the news articles I've seen are blaming video games for making kids as young as 7 or 8 play from twenty hours a week onward. First of all, think how much your family watch TV. At least the kids are doing something interactive, not passive. Secondly, why aren't these parents parenting? If you don't like how long your children are doing something for then stop then. If they kick off, take it away, make it a reward. Don't just give up because actually doing something is just too hard.
Video games have been made public enemy number one by the Trump Administration who tried to use them as a scape-goat for gun violence in America (because the accessibility of guns was clearly too on the nose to the people in the pocket of the NRA). In a further move to deface the credibility of the industry, I have a feeling (and this is conspiracy territory) that supporters of the Administration leaned on the WHO for the gaming disorder diagnosis. Now on face value it may seem like I am being the worst person in the world. Angrily arguing how this article in my header should be ignored when a child 'was drawn to suicide', but that's not the case and I'll tell you why.
The writer of this article, Matthew Barbour, has blatant history of fabricating stories, as does the Daily Mirror (which it is from). Would you like proof? Please see the Twitter thread from Chris Bratt, ex-editor of Eurogamer:
This is clear evidence in my opinion that the lions share of the article is fabricated as he clearly tries to lead Chris Bratt to tell a version of a story that doesn't exist. The headline is intended to be inflammatory and to work off of the current overwhelming trend of snubbing video game hobbies as something to be ashamed of, which for how far we have come with mainstreaming nerd culture, this current wave is deeply concerning. In response to Chris' tweets and the headline, The Mirror online writer Ryan Brown, who works for the company, had this to say:
What you think about this headline, this story and video games is entirely up to you and something you will have to read up on and inform yourself about, as there is a lot of misinformation on the topic and I have had family members weigh in on the anti-gaming side having learnt nothing but what they see on the news about children out of control and playing for a hundred hours a week, completely forgetting Uncle Daz spends four hours a night at the Red Lion and cousin Jill gets back from a seven hour bender every weekend and can't remember half of it. Clearly much healthier hobbies that aren't linked to an increase in violence at all. Maybe video games are just a hobby people enjoy alone or with friends, like drawing or writing, but that's just me. Comment below or tweet us @ghoulishent.
Founder and Writer