Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

August 17, 2011 -

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.


Comments

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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! 

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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?

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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. :P Yeah, right.

 - W

Consumer responsibility is just as important as Corporate responsibility. So, be responsible consumers.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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?

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

"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'.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

Especially those who gain to lose something from people feeling empowered by media.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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

What we got here is failure to communicate!

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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...

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

Has she cited any studies?

Who's research is she using?

Lastly, What exactly qualifies her to blame video games? 

 

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

Lastly, What exactly qualifies her to blame video games?

 

She has a TV show.

--
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

What a spaz.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

I have watched maybe 5 minutes total of her Super Nanny show and I found her obnoxious to the core. I would never seriously consider any advice given by her. I definitely would never consider her advice on what causes crime.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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!?!?

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

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.

Re: Super Nanny Discusses London Riots, Blames Video Games

Oh, my . . .

Jo, I used to like you. Opinion subverted.

 
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NeenekoJust look at how interviews are handled. Media tends to pit someone who is at best a journalist, but usually entertainer, against an expert, and it is presented and percieved as if they are equals.10/25/2014 - 7:38am
Neeneko@MC - Focusing on perpetrator does nothing for prevention, the media and public lack the domain knowledge and event details to draw any useful conclusions. All we get are armchair risk experts.10/25/2014 - 7:36am
Neeneko@AE - no name or picture, I like it.10/25/2014 - 7:34am
PHX Corp@MW and AE The news media needs to stop promoting the Shooters. period10/25/2014 - 7:16am
Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
 

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