Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

UK publication Express turns to guest columnist Jo Frost (better known as the star of the TV show Super Nanny), for answers to what caused last week's riots in London. And a good thing too, because apparently Jo has a "plan to save" those out-of-control youngsters who burned, looted, and committed acts of violence (thanks to C&VG by way of our own Magic). But first, Jo describes the riots as she saw them:

"I felt for a moment as if we had stumbled into a real-life violent video game of the kind that so many of those involved are addicted to."

She then points the finger at what you'd expect her to blame for the reckless violence and destruction:

"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 fantasise they have the power of life and death, are so brutal they completely desensitise anyone taking part."

She then cites some research about how just 15 minutes of playtime can turn your little tot into an unholy terror:

"Research shows that within 15 minutes of playing one of these games young men become highly aggressive and lack empathy in normal situations. 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."

So now that she has properly.. framed .. the problem, what is Super Nanny's solution? Read on:

"Those horrific video games which I mentioned earlier must be brought under control. Their content should be subject to censorship and the age at which they can be bought tightly controlled," she writes. "Shopkeepers should demand proof of age and where they ignore this and break the law by selling them to children they should be fined."

Naturally, Super plugs her show on Channel 4 ("Extreme Parenting"), because parents need all the help they can get from her; after all, her advice has been excellent thus far in this Express article…

You can read the whole thing here. Computer & Video Games does a good job of making fun of her if that's what you are into. You can find that here.

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21 comments

  1. Vake Xeacons says:

    Wow. She's good. It's all there: Points for killing and maiming, photorealistic graphics, desensitising, addiction, stores selling to kids… she covers all her bases. Jo's a top anti-gamer! 

  2. hellfire7885 says:

    As I said, I've seen her show, and not once had I seen any of the kids as having video games be a problem. None of the kids she worked with even played them from what I saw.


  3. axiomatic says:

    Yeah this is surprising. I was under the impression Jo was intelligent as well. You immediately become idiotic when you hold one form of media to be more violent than others.

    I play games, a lot of them, and I can say unequivocally that books usually get my blood pumping more than anything but the difference is so slight as to almost be unnoticeable. Any medium can get you thinking, good or bad thoughts,  its asinine to assume that only games can do this.

  4. Shahab says:

    She has books on Amazon, when do the review bombs start? Or do we skip it because she is based in the UK and really, who cares?

    I did my part with a one star review. Also, who takes parenting advice from a barren, fat spinster?

  5. Cecil475 says:

    So, I guess all the news reports that I keep hearing about the riots happening because the police shot someone isn't true because this is either the second, or third story here that blames videogames on this.

    Stupor Nanny to the rescue. 😛 Yeah, right.

     – W


    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  6. Redmess says:

    What is perhaps most dissapointing is the ease with which she dismisses any other motivations the rioters might have had.

  7. Magic says:

    Well, and that is the 'other' perspective. And I'm sure it is what happened for at least some of the rioters, who just wanted to break and steal stuff. However, from where I am, I have not been able to find much of anything that offers a clear picture of what happened and why, so I really don't know what the deal is. But from what I have found, and what makes sense to me, I'd believe that at least some of the rioters were rebelling against a system they believe had failed them.

    From what I understand it's virtually all of the rioters – it began with a peaceful protest about the death of Mark Dugan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Mark_Duggan) and then exploded from there. I've looked far and wide for justification from the rioters and all I've read or heard is quotes like "We want jobs!!" and that the police have 'too much power' so they want to take it away. One person even said they set cars alight in the street as a message to the police that it was 'their' territory.

    There are plenty of reasons to be angry with the government at the moment (The expenses scandal, Rupert Murdoch and the phone hacking and especially the austerity cutbacks), but looting and destroying your own community is a pathetic reaction in my opinion. I'd say there's a difference between rebellion (of opposing a system and wanting change) and lashing out with violence alone.

    My point here was that I'm trying to reverse the common videogame blaming tactic — and to fully endorse that, I'd say games make the difference here, because they are interactive. While films, books and other non-interactive media may inspire, videogames actually suggest that you can be the protagonist; you can be the force of change, as opposed to 'someone else'.

    We see that opinion a lot, but some people dispute the difference – in fact I believe one member of the SCOTUS said that reading a book is actually still a form of interaction.

  8. kagirinai says:

    "I wouldn't say it was a means of protesting, it was opportunism and anarchy…"

    Well, and that is the 'other' perspective. And I'm sure it is what happened for at least some of the rioters, who just wanted to break and steal stuff. However, from where I am, I have not been able to find much of anything that offers a clear picture of what happened and why, so I really don't know what the deal is. But from what I have found, and what makes sense to me, I'd believe that at least some of the rioters were rebelling against a system they believe had failed them.

    "I suppose you could say the same for any media"

    My point here was that I'm trying to reverse the common videogame blaming tactic — and to fully endorse that, I'd say games make the difference here, because they are interactive. While films, books and other non-interactive media may inspire, videogames actually suggest that you can be the protagonist; you can be the force of change, as opposed to 'someone else'.

  9. roflskates says:

    Has she cited any studies?

    Who's research is she using?

    Lastly, What exactly qualifies her to blame video games? 

     

  10. Hevach says:

    That fact never factored in, even before this. My wife stopped watching the show a few months ago when video games were mentioned on an episode in which she was dealing with just that kind of kid. Bombardment by violence in video games is making your kid bad. He doesn't have video games. What about when he sees his father. He doesn't see his father. But they're everywhere, he most certainly has been exposed to them by friends nonetheless. But he doesn't have any friends. But surely… And so on until the kid's mother even became convinced, even though she seemed to have a pretty good grasp on the reasons to begin with and was simply unable to handle the problem.

    My wife is very fond of her shows. Even when one jumps its third or fourth shark or takes a left turn towards looneyville and she stops even liking it, she's usually loathe to let go for some reason. But even she's come to feel that Frost is more out to beat her drum than to help. And that's just from the late night reruns she can catch on her work schedule.

    Things like this interview should really drive that home. Despite the fact that she should have known better to begin with, despite the fact that her job should have shown her better if she didn't, despite any evidence to the contrary whether specific to the case or in general, she will still cheapen a person's plight to beat that drum.

  11. hellfire7885 says:

    She really should fucking know better than this. Most of the problem kids I'd seen her deal with had never touched a video game.

    And the points thing, again!?!?


  12. Magic says:

    Your point of view on this topic definitely depends on whether or not you believe the rioters to be in the wrong.

    I think it's hard to sympathize with them as I wouldn't say it was a means of protesting, it was opportunism and anarchy. Smashing down the doors of an electronics store to steal 42" plasma TVs, attacking people on the streets (See the footage of Malaysian student incident or the moped rider being set upon) and burning down businesses is not justifiable. So yes, I would say they are in the wrong.

    What if videogames are responsible for these riots, because they've empowered young people? Because they've taught the last few generations that, if you're up against the whole world, you can stand a chance and turn things around?

    I wonder if anyone would popularize that perspective?

    I suppose you could say the same for any media, from books like Animal Farm to movies like The Matrix and Equilibrium as they each have some form of violence against an overseeing system. From the way new forms of media have been criticised in the past, I bet they've been blamed for large-scale violence by one person or another.

  13. kagirinai says:

    Your point of view on this topic definitely depends on whether or not you believe the rioters to be in the wrong. As a young professional Canadian, I've been in a much better spot than many other similar people in other western countries, and I've been jerked around quiet badly by the recession and it's fallout, and the more recent waves of nonsense conservatism and encrouching governmental practices. So I can empathize with people who might feel compelled to lash out.

    That said, let's take a perspective counter point. Maybe videogames are to blame here, but not because they're violent?

    What if videogames are responsible for these riots, because they've empowered young people? Because they've taught the last few generations that, if you're up against the whole world, you can stand a chance and turn things around?

    I wonder if anyone would popularize that perspective?

  14. Aurontsubaki says:

    I don't blame video games for these riots… no no no I blame Rupert Murdoch for these riots. Enough said!

  15. Kal says:

    Yeah, it's totally not the near-police state nature of the UK, or that the rich are being spared from austerity measures at the expense of everyone else, or any other kind of deep-seated social issue or anything. It's definitely the video games.

  16. DorthLous says:

    So, the poorer section of London stealing game consoles have played too MANY video games and that's why they riot? Fiew, good thing we keep the richer kids away from those… Oh wait…

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