Thursday, July 31, 2008

Get Real

Discussions on the radio today about the age-rating of video games, though the idea that younger children won't get access to them from older brothers or friends seems absurd.

Apparently the TV psychologist Tanya Byron reported to the Government that children under 12 are unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. That is a staggeringly stupid generalisation.
Do children come down to breakfast on their twelfth birthday and announce: "Father Christmas doesn't exist. Eastenders isn't real. George Bush isn't President of America. Can I have my copy of Grand Theft Auto now?"
"Well, you got 2 out of 3, so here you are, dear. Don't spend all day on the computer."

As I've often said, one of the problems of censorship is that it leads people into fantasy-land itself, not to mention crazy inconsistencies.
When the DVD of Summer Heights High is released in Britain at the end of the year, it seems it will be given a 15 Certificate. This is no doubt because of the strong language. Yet this coming Saturday evening, a child of any age can watch it on BBC television at the relatively early time of 9.20 pm. And millions of kids have unsupervised access to TV in their bedrooms. Furthermore, they can watch a lot of it on the internet.

There's still a case for the 9pm watershed on TV because it's a wonderfully simple idea that everyone understands. But all the other apparatus of censorship is just pissing against the wind.


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