There is something deliciously hypocritical about the announcement that TV psychologist Dr Tanya Byron is to head a study into the effect of violent computer games on children.
Dr Byron is the star of such delightful programmes as the BBC’s House of Tiny Tearaways, not to mention a handy spin-off book.
This is car crash television of the worst kind. It makes dubious entertainment out of dysfunctional families and allows unruly children to revel in their own ghastliness – their parents are often setting the worse kind of example.
Whether such families or individuals are “helped” by this process is irrelevant. It is not quite the “bear pit” reality television of the recently criticised Jeremy Kyle Show over on ITV, but that is mainly due to the lack of a live audience.
The fact that Dr Byron has now quit such programmes is also irrelevant.
She was happy enough to jump on the shock TV bandwagon in the first place and is now being invited by the Government to do the same over the alleged impact of violent computer games.
The games industry’s association Elspa (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers’ Association), has agreed to co-operate with the inquiry. But it has quite rightly complained that it is too often being blamed for society’s ills.
It smacks yet again of the Government going after an obvious and easy target, rather than addressing the far more pressing problems and issues that are impacting on today’s younger generation.
I’d be far happier to see an inquiry into the impact of reality TV, from the aforementioned Mr Kyle and his brand of confrontational entertainment through the likes of House of Tiny Tearaways, Wife Swap, Big Brother and The X Factor, plus a myriad other troubling programmes.
Such mass market programming surely has a much more damaging and long-term impact on viewers – not just on children, but on all ages.
In a society where ignorance is worn as a badge of honour, common courtesy is seen as a sign of weakness, arrogance is celebrated and encouraged and the younger generation are demonised at every opportunity, this review is completely misguided and helping to deflect attention from those areas no government or politicians ever appears willing or able to confront.