According to Jo "Super Nanny" Frost, video games are to blame for the London Riots. Super Nanny is well known for her ability to discipline wayward youth, but the zaftig British television presenter also has some thoughts on the riots that rocked London last week.
In a recent column on London's Express, Supes pinned the blame on:
"These horrific games where points are given for burning, shooting and killing, where the graphics are so realistic you believe that they’re real scenes of carnage, where those who play fantasies they have the power of life and death, are so brutal they completely desensitize anyone taking part."
"It is not too fanciful to suggest it’s a short step from being immersed in this war-like world to taking that nightmare mindset on to the streets with all the consequences of anarchy and violence we saw rip apart cities."
Interestingly, once you dig past the sensationalistic lead of "GAMES ARE TO BLAME," Super Nanny goes on to suggest maybe bad parenting/weak families are actually to blame. Surprise!
Super Nanny, of course, is full of crap. People don't riot because their games are violent -- I've hung out for years in cons with huge gatherings of violent game freaks, and never have I witnessed anything violent. In fact, gamers are generally the most polite, least dangerous people alive.
In reality, riots are a symptom of deep socio-cultural problems that can't be summed up or solved by quick sound-bites or cure-all newspaper columns. Riots have always appeared at stress points in cultures, and while individual rioters are no doubt scoundrels, you can't look at a riot itself and say, "Those people are scum!" because "those people," ultimately, are all of us.
In other words: Riots are real things. Video games are pretend things. Let's try to keep this distinction in mind. Also: Shut up, Super Nanny!