'Children of Four' Acting out TV Games Violence

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH EVANS

VIOLENT and addictive computer games are making children more aggressive and luring youngsters into a fantasy world, it has been suggested.

Pupils as young as four and five are acting out graphic scenes of violence in the playground and lashing out in the classroom after watching or playing inappropriate games, according to the junior vice-president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Alison Sherratt warned that the addictive quality of video games can separate children from reality and leaves many at risk of social exclusion, obesity and living sedentary, solitary lives.

Many youngsters are watching material unsupervised that is inappropriate for their age, she added.

Ms Sherratt this week proposed a motion to ATL's annual conference in Manchester raising concerns that some computer games have a negative effect on very young children.

It called for ATL's executive to commission research which would allow it to lobby government for the introduction of "stringent legislation" on computer games.

In her speech, Ms Sherratt told delegates that she was inspired to put forward the resolution after watching her class in the playground "throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies".

Most of her class of four and five-year-olds have TVs and laptops in their bedrooms, she said, and many have access to or own games consoles.

Ms Sherratt said that there had been a "marked increase" in aggression in general over the last few years.

She added: "We all expect to see rough and tumble but I have seen little ones acting out quite graphic scenes in the playground and there is a lot more hitting, hurting, thumping, etc, in the classroom for no particular reason."

She said that she has found evidence which shows that violent virtual games played extensively by teenagers can make them more aggressive.

"The games encourage aggressive behaviour because of the violent acts depicted in them," she said.

"Obesity, social exclusion, loneliness, physical fitness, sedentary, solitary lives - these are all descriptions of children who are already hooked to games, so we are aspiring to my current class achieving this unenviable target? …