28.10.07

Tanya Byron on Kids and Games

"I used to run medium secure units for kids who were a risk to themselves or other people. There were some very angry, disenfranchised, vulnerable, isolated, sometimes abused children for whom these games could be a factor - as part of a number of factors - that impact on them in a way that could offer role models that might reinforce and validate their anger, but may not actually be very healthy. I'm not saying, therefore, put that kid in front of that game and they will shoot someone, but what I'm saying is we can't go down the "it's not going to affect anybody" [road]. There are some very vulnerable kids who will be affected by any factor that keys into their vulnerabilities."
Psychologist Tanya Byron is analysing the effect of gaming on children in a remarkably sensible and educated manner. When you hear about reports into this area of leisure technology, very often it's coming from the right wing, where video games are evil and should be banned forever. Instead, she's looking at role models, responsibilities and the positive effects that various games can provide. Hooray, finally. It's just a shame it takes an investigation to conclude what seems so obvious.