Games = Illiteracy, Says British Conservative

Say no to Nintendo… garrotte the Game Boy… paralyse the PlayStation…

So says Boris Johnson, a Conservative member of the British Parliament, in an anti-game rant on his personal website. Johnson, who draws upon a background as a journalist, is apparently of the Bill O’Reilly school when it comes to games. His comments include:

Millions of seven- to 15-year-olds are hooked, especially boys, and it is time… as a society, that we admitted the catastrophic effect these blasted gizmos are having on the literacy and the prospects of young males.

in the six years following 1997, the numbers of young children who said that they didn’t like reading rose from 23 per cent to 35 per cent… I refuse to believe that these hypnotic little machines are innocent…

These machines teach (children) nothing. They stimulate no ratiocination, discovery or feat of memory – though some of them may cunningly pretend to be educational. I have just watched an 11-year-old play a game that looked fairly historical, on the packet. Your average guilt-ridden parent might assume that it taught the child something about the Vikings and medieval siege warfare.

Phooey! The red soldiers robotically slaughtered the white soldiers, and then they did it again, that was it. Everything was programmed, spoon-fed, immediate…

Huge numbers are still leaving primary school in a state of functional illiteracy, with 44 per cent unable either to read, write or do basic sums. By the age of 14, there are still 40 per cent whose literacy or numeracy is not up to the expected standard…

For more on Boris Johnson, check his Wikipedia entry.

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