By Nicholas Simonovski
It’s no surprise when I say that video games are often blamed for a whole host of societal issues. A mad-man shoots up a school? Blame the latest Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto game. A driver speeds and crashes his sports car? Blame the latest Need For Speed title. It seems that there is no behavior or problem that gaming isn’t responsible for. Recently, Gerry Harvey (CEO of Harvey Norman Holds Ltd.) went on television and discussed how computers and video games were a main cause for the health crisis within Australia. In the article below, I’d like to discuss just how ridiculous this all is.
In a recent interview with Ten Late News, Harvey made the following comment:
I think one of the great tragedies with youth is that they spend so much time playing games and crap on computers and they’re not outside. You’re not healthy and it’s a big problem in our society. If I could get rid of computers, all leisure computers for all of Australia I probably would. They can have them at school, but leisure time — no.
We’re talking about kids playing games mostly online and wasting their life away basically playing games online because they’re not getting any physical activity and their minds are screwed up on these games.
The stupidity and sheer ignorance of his comment (just in case it wasn’t obvious) is evident in the very first sentence. “One of the great tragedies with youth is that they spend so much time playing games and crap on computers.” Hmm. If you asked me -- and I’m not suggesting I’m an expert here -- what one of the biggest tragedies with youth is today, I’d probably reply back with the seemingly ongoing issue of binge drinking. Perhaps even the failing education system. Kids on computers... not really. Yes, people need to be more active, but that’s not gaming’s fault. I ask the question -- why doesn’t Gerry blame television as a whole? Why doesn’t Gerry blame films? By saying “crap on computers” and singling out video games, it all just sounds like a vendetta against gaming rather than focusing on a legitimate issue of people not getting out and being active.
This rubbish just continues with the rest of Harvey’s nonsensical ramblings. Saying things like, “crap on computers”, “all leisure computers” and suggesting that kids’ “minds are screwed up on these games” only makes Gerry sound like the ignorant geriatric that he seems to be. Reading that excerpt above makes me think about all the times my own father said that I should “put down those stupid games and do more homework.” Surprise, surprise, despite playing games I still managed to do well enough in high school to get into University and earn a degree. That showed him! I don’t mind people talking about video games, but to assume they are causing the obesity crisis or somehow destroying the mind of our youth … it’s a comment that can only be made by a complete idiot.
Harvey then continues to mention that he would “get rid of all leisure computers of Australia” if he could. Interesting. To begin, what exactly is a "leisure computer"? Can I purchase one at Harvey Norman? Is it sold in the same section as video games, the very same product he just slandered? It’s interesting that he doesn’t mind people using computers for work, doesn’t mind people using computers for school, but god-forbid should someone use a computer for fun and relaxation. Perhaps Harvey would like it better if people just stopped using computers entirely, stop going to work, stopped going to school and just spend all their time outside? A nation full of skinny, uneducated idiots is a lot better than a nation of smart, productive fatties, right? QUICK EVERYONE! ALL ABOARD THE TIME-MACHINE – WE’RE GOING BACK TO THE STONE AGE!
I won’t deny that Australia has an obesity crisis, but I won’t accept that gaming or computers are to blame. We can blame the government and the school system for not having more physical activities built into the curriculum, or for not spending more time teaching kids about being healthy and active. We can even blame the television networks for showing advertisements for junk food. Hell, we can even blame the fast food stores for selling it – but all this is just pointing fingers and shifting blame. The fact of the matter is, if you want to blame someone for the obesity crisis, blame yourself. If it’s kids we are talking about then look at the parents, but that’s really about as far as you should go. You can’t blame video games because kids aren’t exercising. You can’t blame computers because kids aren’t exercising. To be honest, you can’t blame anyone for kids not exercising other than the kid for not doing it, or the parents for not pushing it. Simple.
The audacity of Harvey to proclaim that he would ban all "leisure" computers is disgusting – and hypocritical considering his company sells them each and every day! It’s a shame that the most vocal voices in society are often the most stupid. Kind of ironic isn’t it, the owner of a company that sells computers knows absolutely nothing about them. Perhaps we should educate Gerry on video games and after that, the real reason why people are fat?