In a recent column over at the The Times online, a guest contributor named Giles Whittell wrote one of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read on the subject of video games. And while he may be entitled to his opinion, his belief that video games are the root of all evil and on par with "heroin and teenage parents" is not only sickening, but ludicrous.
In his piece entitled, "Video games: I'll never buy one", Whittell outlines his hatred for video games and his utter lack of knowledge about what the form of entertainment really means to children and society.
"I hate video games, on or offline," he spewed. "I hate the way they suck real people into fake worlds and hold on to them for decades at a time. I hate being made to feel hateful for saying so, and I hate being told to immerse myself in them before passing judgment, because it feels like being told to immerse myself in smack and teenage pregnancy before passing judgment on them."
Whoa. Calm down, Giles. Smack and teenage pregnancy? That's a new one. Not too sure about you, but where I come from, smack usually involves a nose or a syringe. Oh and pregnancy, yeah, that usually involves something a bit more intimate than pressing buttons on a piece of plastic.
But I digress. What is wrong with this character? Obviously this is a man that's both misguided and misinformed about what's really going on in the world of video games.
Instead of regurgitating the usual hysteria found so commonly in discussions on video games, Giles takes a new tack--"compared with everything else on offer in a kid's life, video games and heroin and teenage pregnancy are a colossal waste of time."
Really? Then surely Giles hasn't taken the time to "immerse" himself in such popular games as Brain Age, Puzzle Quest, or even this study reported on by the BBC that suggests video games actually stimulate learning, right?
According to Giles, he would rather watch children "overdose on wind, rain, mud, gravy, tents, mountains and overcooked bacon. (Oh, and do their homework.)"
Let me get this straight--playing video games, which have actually become a tool of education and fitness for children, is more of a time waste than overcooked bacon?
Sure, there are some titles that promote violence and killing and others that allow you to buy prostitution services, but did Giles forget to check this site, which describes 10 free educational games for children? Surely, he can't believe that only Grand Theft Auto and Halo are the only video games available to children today.
But don't take my word for it. Take it from an educator that has used video games in the classroom to promote education and good behavior.
If nothing else, The Times column tells you everything you need to know about those people who hate video games. Instead of researching for the truth, these people paint the picture that video games are the root of all evil with no facts to back up their claim. Instead of deciding what's truly best for children as they enter this new world, the haters choose overcooked bacon over Brain Age and tents over Wii Fit.
But perhaps more than anything else, it shows you just how naive Giles really is. Instead of applying logic to child rearing, he wants to make you believe that kids won't go to their friend's house more often to play the latest Gears of War or purchase titles without his knowledge. Let's face it, Giles, you can't watch your kids 24 hours a day. Every now and then, you'll need to sleep and that's when they'll buy some hookers in Grand Theft Auto.
Whatever happened to applying logic to life's questions? What ever happened to making rational decisions? What ever happened to all those people who hated movies when they first came out and TVs when they were first released? What ever happened to all those people?
Oh, that's right, they loved movies and purchased TVs. They quickly realized that by applying a previous generation's logic to a current-generation issue made no sense and they moved on.
How long do you think it'll take for our good friend Giles Whittell to join the party?