Very interesting article here, in which MIT professor Henry Jenkins argues that China’s concern over the impact of games centres on addiction as opposed to the western political obsession with morality and violence.
“The Chinese had little interest in the argument that games violence causing real world violence,” he said, speaking from the International Games and Learning Forum in Shanghai. “Rather, the incident was read in terms of concerns about the breakdown of traditional community life and the loss of the moral influence of the extended family in Chinese culture, both of which were seen as a consequence of rapid cultural, technological, and economic changes. The incident was also read partially in relation to a focus on ‘games and internet addiction.’”
Jenkins further argues that the authorities are using the argument that gaming and web “addiction” are damaging traditional life in China as an excuse to censor internet access among the young.
“To some degree, the Chinese government is using a rhetoric of addiction to rationalize their periodic crackdowns on young people’s digital access, knowing that concern about media effects is more likely to be accepted by western governments,” he says. “In that sense, addiction rhetoric does some of the same work that the Firewall does in terms of restricting youth participation in the online world.”
Nice brain fodder for a Sunday afternoon.