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Vaz calls for discussion on "harmful" video games

MP wants House Of Commons debate during Christmas shopping season

MP Keith Vaz has asked that the House Of Commons hold a debate over the effects of video games, supporting the move with a recently published study showing that games can physically affect the brain.

"Could we have a debate next week about the harmful effects of violent video games?" he requested.

"Last week, the university of Indiana published research that showed that regularly playing those games resulted in physical changes in the brain."

Vaz was referring to a study by the University of Indiana's School Of Medicine which used MRI scan to track changes in the activity of adult males exposed to violent video games.

According to DailyTech the study was funded by The Center for Successful Parenting, an organisation that describes its mission as "changing our culture to protect children from unhealthy media in all formats," and is broadly anti video games.

"At a time when parents are thinking of purchasing video games for Christmas, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it is important to hold a debate on this matter?" asked Vaz.

"This is not about censorship - it is about protecting our children."

Vaz is known for his strong anti-games stance, and in the past has called for a ban on Rockstar's Bully, supported the ban of Manhunt 2, and recently criticised Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for its controversial London bombing scene.

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Latest comments (16)

So a study funded by an anti-games organisation finds games harmful? Quelle surprise.

Who votes for this guy?
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Joe Deuchar Technical Artist, Rare4 years ago
After a quick Google on the guy, he's been involved in a string of controversies.

[link url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Vaz
]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Vaz
[/link]

Im not even sure how / why hes still an MP.


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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments4 years ago
It's not a "recently published study" - Mr. Vax is apparently basing this on a press release about a conference piece. So interesting info, but not "published" in the academic sense, and certainly nothing to be setting government policy based on.

Worth noting that the Mr. Vaz's request for a debate was declined, which isn't mentioned here - I believe he was advised to raise the matter at home office questions instead.
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Show all comments (16)
Luke Stephenson QA Technician, Codemasters4 years ago
So, on the back of a single study that, to my knowledge, has yet to be peer-reviewed and whose conclusions were, to put it mildly, somewhat ambiguous; this guy wants to open the subject up for political debate?

Maybe if the study had found that "Video games increase bloodlust in young children by a factor of a million" he'd have a point, but it didn't. All it said were 'video games have a measurable physical effect on certain areas of the brain'. Kind of like everything else that we do in life.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments4 years ago
Here we go: [link url=http://communications.medicine.iu.edu/newsroom/stories/2011/violent-video-games-alter-brain-function-in-young-men/
]http://communications.medicine.iu.edu/ne...[/link]

Note it's indiana university, rather than university of indiana.

Also, the word "physical" does not appear - the changes recorded were in electrical activity.
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Phil Hindle Technical Director, FreeStyleGames4 years ago
If I read a book, and learn something, it affects my brain.
If I watch the news, it affects my brain.
If I listen to some music it affects my brain.

Ban all brain affecting media now!!!
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I think these folks dont understand - the study does not show games (violent or non violent) show a link to how our brains work or a direct link to violent behaviour. It just shows that it activates different brain areas. In addition, a study to be showing a strong relationship requires a LARGE multi national centre trial. This study is just the begining of a potentially larger study, and is no proof or indication or anything.

To put it another way, the use of mobile phones will most likely have a effect on the developing brain and predispose to cancer. As of yet, we do not have conclusive proof it does (because one needs multiple large scale population studies spanning over many many years to generate the data)

Likewise, having a debate on games is...waffle piffle waffle.
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Colin McBride Studying MA in 3D Design for Virtual Worlds, Glasgow Caledonian University4 years ago
This guy is an idiot. Basically he's picking on games because they're a convenient straw man to pick for cheap political point-scoring. Quite handy for garnering headlines without actually doing anything useful about, say, unemployment, the dismantling of the health service, the eurocrisis etc.

As @Tom Pickard says above, maybe if they started supporting the games industry instead of taking potshots at it, we wouldn't be in this situation of over-reliance on the financial sector and be in a better shape all round...

Care to table a debate on that, Keith?
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Paul Shirley Programmers 4 years ago
@Colin McBride: Vaz is definitely NOT an idiot, he's actually the worst sort of professional politician. He says what he thinks influential members of his predominantly asian constituency want to hear. If that creates disproportionate publicity that's a nice bonus for his career (though I think he's mistaken about it being a good thing).

Does he believe any of the crap he spouts? I personally don't believe it and if he ever gets the idea his younger voters are wavering I think he'd swap sides in an eyeblink. And find some other made up stuff to shout about.
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James Verity4 years ago
as Tom Pickard, has said, its not the game industry that needs to be changed, its the dumb idiot parents... parents need to learn the 18 cert. is there for a reason and stop giving their children these titles to watch and play, and give them titles more suited to their age group...
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Tony Johns4 years ago
Sadly what Vaz does not realize is that every person who says "We must protect our children" IS talking about censorship even though they say it isn't.

Also have we not already have been though these studies and how the Byron Review already said that there is evidence of blatant biased research done by many of these US universities from extreme religious places around america that try to distort the facts on this sort of research?

All the research has done is just recording the impulses of the brain but they don't always reflect violent thoughts or violent feelings.

Vaz is just trying to attack games again but this time in a parliament with a fair few people who know he is nothing but bull.
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Tony Johns4 years ago
Also we already have BBFC or PEGI or ESRB or USK ratings on games....

Enough said, they may not be there to protect the children but they are there to inform parents about the content of any game or DVD or movie at the cinemas.

That is all the communication we need to allow parents to make up their own mind.
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Can we have a special rating for MPs please?

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
I propose the following rating scheme for politicians:

FM: Fearmonger
AS: Attention Seeker
NC: Nationalist Crackpot
MP: Merkel's Pet
TH: Treehugger
C: Communist


In the spirit of politics, all ratings are, as is any public description of a politician, derogatory. The body determining will be called Center for Rating All Politicians, or C.R.A.P.
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Now, that would be such a beautiful leading article : New C.R.A.P. rating for politicians or MPs get C.R.A.P. ratings!
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
So far in my 31 years of life, I can say that politicians had a lot more negative effect in my life than videogames.
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