Here we go again. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is the latest to brand video games the work of the devil. They have a "corrosive" effect on youngsters, according to Clegg, and so parents should restrict how long kids play them for, the Mirror reports.
Clegg was speaking on his weekly radio show on the cabbies station of choice, LBC. One caller asked for his opinions about the man mugged for his copy of GTA V, and the Washington Navy Yard gunman's obsession with Call of Duty. Apparently the shooter, Aaron Alexis, heard voices in his head after playing it for 18 hours a day. But surely if you do anything for 18 hours a day you're going to start to lose your grip on reality. Clegg responded, and the gloves were off.
"Clearly these games can have an incredibly powerful, and I suspect in some cases corrosive, effect on someone's behaviour, someone's outlook," he said. "They get shut off, they don't talk to other people, they just stay in their living room, their bedroom, hunkered down in front of their computer.
"They occupy a sort of hermetically sealed world really of their own, and that can have a very detrimental effect."
Parents have a "heavy responsibility" to keep a check on which games youngsters are playing, and what they're doing online, Clegg said. And they should "try and ration it as well," he added.
Fair enough, I think parents should be aware of what their kids are playing, and monitor who they contact online. But to suggest kids don't know the difference between make-believe and reality is a little patronising, to say the least. And I think blaming games just dodges the real causes of violent and anti-social behaviour, and gives armchair pundits like Clegg an easy scapegoat.
Thoughts? Let me know what you reckon in the comments, or over on our completely law-abiding Facebook page.