U.K. Paper Blames Videogames For Declining Literacy

U.K. Paper Blames Videogames For Declining Literacy

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U.K. tabloid The Sun has published an article that claims the advent of videogames is responsible for a decline in the country's primary school literacy levels.

A 41-country study found that U.K. primary school students had slipped from third to 15th in the rankings over a span of five years, which put them behind students from nations such as Russia, Latvia and Bulgaria. The study indicated that U.K. school students spend far less time reading than children in other countries, but far more time playing videogames: A third of 10-year-olds in the study spent three hours or more each day on game consoles after school.

U.K. Secretary of Schools Ed Balls pledged a $10 million boost to libraries for programs to give books away to local nurseries, and urged parents to encourage more reading at home. "Today's youngsters have more choice in than 2001 about how they spend their time," he said. "Most of them have their own TVs and mobiles, and 37 percent are playing computer games for three hours a day. We all need to help our children of all ages to see that reading can bring fun to their lives."

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This is The Sun we're talking about. About as trustworthy and reliable as The Onion.

*sigh* this is the paper that has topless models and.... a sports page!

Meh, I played games and read Calvin and Hobbes more than I ever read "real" books. That's how I came to be the way I am, and I'm fully literate, and have been above grade level since I learned how to read.
But then again, Calvin and Hobbes isn't such a simple read, and I mostly played RPG's with lots of text, so that might have something to do with it.

(Although I do understand the unreliable nature of tabloids, I'm just making a different point.)

boobz

No, seriously, I know this is The Sun we're talking about, but their boobs are valid. The survey did boobs that kids in the UK are boobs from a lower rate of boobs than kids in other boobs, although obviously the boobs drew their own conclusions about boobs. But isn't it boobs that videogames are at least boobs responsible for boobs change, since boobs are more boobs than boobs even boobs years ago? Personally, I boobs that boobs in kids' boobs are a boobs part of the boobs, and if I ever boobs boobs, there won't boobs any boobs in their boobs.

boobs? have I heard boobs? because I think I've heard someone saying boobs.

and yes, the Sun as as realiable as 100 monkeys typewriting news. with 100% more boobs on page 3, and sports on the back cover!

Actually, pretty much all British papers, regardless of quality, have Sports pages.
However, only the Sun, the Daily Star and News of the World sink to the lowest pits in order to dredge their news.
My point is effectively... well. In Wikipedian:
[[CITATION NEEDED]]

lol ive been playing games since i was about 6...and love them...used to play abit too much but thats not the point. im not the cleverist person but i managed to get 2 B's on english loads of over gcses and an IT practitioner qualification without being a constantly revising studyier, and alot of my imaginativity and creativity id say i owe to games...infact come to think of it... arent most heavy gamerers (sterotypicaly) the nerdy clever school and college kids? just saying...

..you got two B's with spelling like that?

David Cat:
..you got two B's with spelling like that?

yes i can explain that...to put simply im a bit too high most of the time nowdays (looking after family members can be VERY boring - not promoting it though lol) so to sum it up for better for worse im just not very good at being overly coherent in typing nowdays...also my keyboards dying and cant afford new one)

I do think it has more to do with irresponsible parents letting their children get too addicted to videogames (and starting them to early perhaps? I've heard little cs-kids go absolutely insane when they parents come to fetch them from a netcafé, throwing things at them and everything).

Games themselves are not to blame however. My english was better than all my classmates' english throughout all my school years, and the only thing different between me and... well, most of them was that I regularly played RPGs (the kind with storylines and not simply an endless grind).

I guess puzzle games is a positive game-type too, but CS? Doubt it.

kids get the same way over alot of things though dont they? i mean there favroite tv show, a plastic toy...i completley agree with what you said, in my view though too much of anything is bad (if i had kids i dont know if id want them doing nothing but studying and reading all day as id fear they wouldnt develop any social skills on the other hand i wouldnt want them doing nothing but socialising all day) i dont have kids though so i cant really have a valid view on it as i dont really understand whats its really like to have them.

That's as valid a point as you're going to find. There's always going to be something distracting kids from reading, schoolwork and so forth, because there's always going to be something more fun and entertaining than reading, schoolwork and so forth. I don't like to admit it because it's so horribly mundane, but in my schoolboy youth I watched insane amounts of television, more than I would ever let my own (hypothetical) kids watch. Farting around with frivolous, brain-clotting nonsense is part of being a kid.

the only problem with kids being unable to spell is that the teachers (and parents) don't take their responsibility. I mean come on teachers you're raising the next generation here, start acting like it.

and to all parents the only games i can see that have an impact on kids language skills are games like CS and WoW but still that isn't sufficient to dumb someone down to the level of a damn eggplant. But hey what do I know I'm just speculating from personal experience.

FYI. Hate people who can't take in all the facts before forming an oppinion.

How can people who can't read possibly play video or computer games? I just cannot comprehend this statement. How do they understand the HUD? The Story? The instruction manual? Do they just work it out through trial and error? I have never seen a game that holds your hand and speaks the controls to you- there is always reading involved.
I call BS.
Then again, the only thing that kept me from schoolwork in primary and high school more than games WAS reading. Yes, you heard me- more than games. Terry Pratchett FTW!

"How do they understand the HUD? The Story? The instruction manual? Do they just work it out through trial and error?"

Yes.

To be sure, tv-shows were nowhere as addictive to me as games. I've done some things I'm embarrassed of now because of them. It could be just me of course, but it doesn't seem that way.

Obviously I'm here, at a gaming site so I'm not exactly anti-games : ) I do however think the debate needs to be between two parties talking to each other, not covering their ears and going lALALALALALAL!

Isnt this the same paper that keeps saying the apocalypse is coming. Correct me if Im wrong.

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jimmythenoob:

yes i can explain that...to put simply im a bit too high most of the time nowdays (looking after family members can be VERY boring - not promoting it though lol) so to sum it up for better for worse im just not very good at being overly coherent in typing nowdays...also my keyboards dying and cant afford new one)

If you want to stick around, you're going to need to fix at least some portion of this situation. For future reference: "LOL smoke weed evrydaaaaay" isn't an excuse to shit up the forums.

I'm not one for stick up for Murdoch newspapers but I think saying that the paper is blaming videogames is pushing it a little bit. Government ministers are blaming videogames, not The Sun, obnoxious rag that it is.

They've probably got a point too. Kids would rather play games than read books. There's no-one to blame but the parents but unfortunately, as the article points out, you can't point the finger of blame at the parents because they whinge, then vote for the other guy during election time.

Personally I think we teach kids to read far too early. Focussing their attention on creative play should be priority in the first eight to ten years. Kids taught this way tend to be brighter.

That's an interesting thought. My response to your point that kids would rather play games than read - which I agree with - is that we're not teaching them to read soon enough. Instilling literacy, and the importance of literacy, in kids at a very young age, I think, would be a far more effective way of combating their lack of interest in it later in life.

Malygris:
boobz

No, seriously, I know this is The Sun we're talking about, but their boobs are valid. The survey did boobs that kids in the UK are boobs from a lower rate of boobs than kids in other boobs, although obviously the boobs drew their own conclusions about boobs. But isn't it boobs that videogames are at least boobs responsible for boobs change, since boobs are more boobs than boobs even boobs years ago? Personally, I boobs that boobs in kids' boobs are a boobs part of the boobs, and if I ever boobs boobs, there won't boobs any boobs in their boobs.

Bosoms, melons, milk factories, busts, funbags, knockers, boobies, jugs, nipples, jugglies, stonking great tits![/yahtzee]

Bah, I played games on damn Commodore when I was five... When I played my first PC game, Dune (the first RPG/RTS one, not the kinda sucky Dune II) I then went out, at age 10, and started reading the damn novels. Then I discovered Asimov, then Orson Scott Card, then Arthur C, then... and after that I got into mainstream literature too and then I started reading philosophy and then I made that (reading and philosophy) my carer path, then I changed over to political philosophy and then I became a political consultant...

And to think I owe all that to Dune the game...

http://www.freedom-in-education.co.uk/Steiner.htm#definition

I went to Glastonbury with someone that was waxing lyrical about one of her relatives who sent their kids to a school that has adopted this method. These kids and their schoolfriends were, in her words, astonishing. When they do learn to read, they pick it up very quickly and to a much higher standard.

Whether public schools will pick up, or benefit from, such reform would have to be seen.

Well, yeah. Videogames do harm literacy in kids. If it was the latest craze to take up glass-blowing, then glass-blowing would be harming literacy in kids. What exactly is the point they're trying to make? Humans will always find things they'd rather do than study.

Malygris:
That's an interesting thought. My response to your point that kids would rather play games than read - which I agree with - is that we're not teaching them to read soon enough. Instilling literacy, and the importance of literacy, in kids at a very young age, I think, would be a far more effective way of combating their lack of interest in it later in life.

That is true, I know plenty of people at work that are shocked that I actually read books and what are in my mind 'decent' papers like The Times, The Independent etc.

I honestly think that for some reason there is a group in British society that has fallen out of the concept of reading good, well written books, and this is something which is going to hurt us in the future.

The problem thus lies with parents, they are (in my mind) often too lazy to teach their children that reading is good and will be helpful in the future. As such if children are not reading at home from a young age, and being taught to read in primary school, then obviously literacy levels will decline.

This is just one of many inherent problems in todays society I am afraid.

I saw the title and thought "Its either the mail or the sun" I was right. This is a paper that should be ignored as it lives on scaremongering and page 3, but sadly the hysterical masses seem to love them.

Archaeology Hat:
I saw the title and thought "Its either the mail or the sun" I was right. This is a paper that should be ignored as it lives on scaremongering and page 3, but sadly the hysterical masses seem to love them.

Is it worth me pointing out the The Sun did not carry out the report, but that it was made by an independent organisation? Or that it was the British secretary for schools who made the comment about video games, not the newspaper?

And I know a politics lecturer who is adamant that The Sun's global affairs and politics pages are actually pretty good, for a red-top tabloid. It's the celeb gossip and front-page muckraking that you have to be wary of. And the reports about (insert name of B-list celeb) appearing in Doctor Who.

Still - as ever, correlation is not the same as causation. That said, I don't see anything inherently ridiculous in the idea that kids are more inclined to play video games than read books.

My greatest grievance with modern society is this movement toward blame shifting, and refusal of responsibility. The trend of the individual shirking his obligations is one that I find very unsettling, and is creating a lot of unjust witches to hunt.

We see this in a lot of situations regarding the games industry, for example the industry as a whole takes a lot of flak for violence in videogames. While the industry may be responsible for the production of violent video games, it's the responsibility of parents not only to regulate what media their children are exposed to, but also the quantities and different types of media. For example when I was young (up until about 8-10), my parents allowed me to play video games, but would never let me play in excess of one or two hours a day, and encouraged reading, through providing me with a great choice of interesting novels and other books.

Realistically, it is pretentious to target the games industry for falling literacy rates, as the industry is not responsible for the manner in which children consume media. It is the responsibility of our parents to regulate what we are exposed to before we are capable.

and on a final note: Hilary, quit blaming the games industry for your upper middle class parents buying their eight year old children games like GTA. (one of many complaints regarding Hilary Clinton's crusade against the games industry)

Too bad nobody with any kind of authority position is willing to tell them that.

firemonk3y:
My greatest grievance with modern society is this movement toward blame shifting, and refusal of responsibility.

Oh, sure. Blame SOCIETY.

I learnt two new languages playing video games, especially CRPGs.
I am French and I learnt English(O my perfect Engrish) and Spanish so blame something else fagbag paper.

 

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