Tanya Byron Interview

2 11 2007

Tanya Byron

MCV have interviewed Tanya Byron, and she comes across and a woman who is reasonable and working to understand the games industry. She steps very far away from anti-games rhetoric, even revealing that her entire family are gamers:

I’m a parent, I’ve got a nine-year-old and a 12-year old child and we all play video games in my house – my husband and I included. Playing video games with our kids is the same as reading them a bedtime story for us. It’s part of what we do as a family. It’s part of education, literacy and bonding. I’m also a realist. This is part of the landscape of society. It’s how kids spent their leisure time and this is important in terms of development.

Fundamentally, the people responsible for stopping children getting access to these materials and having these experiences are parents. But the truth is that many parents don’t even understand that an ‘18’ rating on Grand Theft Auto is the same as an ‘18’ on Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They see the word ‘game’ and have a totally different mentality.

A major problem is that parents understand this technology, in the main, less than the children who are using it. And it’s difficult for parents to say “I don’t really understand it” to their kids.

Adults need to play catch up with these new technologies. In the same way there comes a point when parents can say, “right, you can go to the shop and get some sweets on your own, because I trust you”, we’ve taught them how to cross the road, be safe and not talk to strangers. They understand and manage risk. When children enter a virtual landscape, the trust and skills needed are more like those for letting them outside the door than letting them watch TV.

The full interview is here, and worth reading.

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