With a handful of kids and some videogames, Supernanny Jo Frost hopes to prove our children are being desensitized to violence.
Frost, known to American audiences for her show Supernanny, revealed in her UK show Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance the result of an experiment in which she gathered 40 boys, split them up, and had 20 play a football game and 20 play an FPS. She then showed them a clip of a particularly violent news story, monitoring their heart rate. The heart rates of the boys who had played the football game increased more than the heart rates of those who played the FPS. With this, Frost hoped to demonstrate the desensitization our children are undergoing at the hands of violent videogames, but her methodology is suspect.
“I’m no neuroscientist, but with the biological stress response recently engaged, surely it’s no surprise that in the few minutes after violent gameplay, test subjects react differently to violent stimuli?” author Keith Stuart said in a rebuttal to the experiment.
Frost said the results indicated a desensitization and lack of empathy caused by violent games. Later in the show she invited them back for an interview, where she knocked over some pencils. Of the boys who played the football game, 80 percent helped her pick them up, as opposed to 40 percent of the boys who played the shooters. That would seem to say more about manners than desensitization, but who are we to argue with Supernanny?