"Computer games rot the brain" : Response

Posted on: 18/03/2021

Dear Boris Johnson,

 I have recently read the article about computer games and here are my views: you are wrong. This isn’t coming from a place of blind hate but from meticulously researched and proven science, games are not rotting the brain. I will go into detail explaining why this is and try to justify my answer the best I can.

To begin with, your claim that we must admit that “it is about time, as a society, that we admitted the catastrophic effect these blasted gizmos are having on the literacy and the prospects of young males” is totally ignorant to the reality of the situation. The reality is that surveys done by major organisations (such as the National Literacy Trust)ComputerGames have reinforced the idea that in fact say that their literacy is actually improving. Over 4,600 people between the ages of 11 and 16 have been interviewed from across the UK and proved that more than a third (35.3%) of the children who play say they believe video games make them better readers -- with the vast majority (79.4%) saying they read materials related to gaming once a month. You say “It is a disaster, and I refuse to believe that these hypnotic little machines are innocent”, when in actuality they are, and you are the one who is entranced by your own delusions. They’re not the scourge of literacy or the destroyer of young minds just because you so desperately want them to be, throughout history there’s always been the scapegoat that the older generation has insisted “is ruining our society”. Its overplayed, and at one point even books were where video games are, “The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth…” (from a Letter in Town and Country magazine republished in Paris Fashion: A Cultural History - 1771).

Despite all my differing views to yours, I think I have found a middle ground with you somehow and that’s through agreeing on the negative effects that addiction can have on mental health and our youth. However, it is childish to say that video games alone are the cause of problem when in actuality it’s only 3 or 4% of gamers that are addicted (according to the World Health Organisation). It is terrible as you point out, “They become like blinking lizards, motionless, absorbed, only the twitching of their hands showing they are still conscious” but that very description could also be applied to alcohol or drugs or gambling addicts. Along with my other examples I have mentioned, this type of addiction can lead to significant impairment in personal and family relationships, educational and work opportunities, mental and physical health, and overall well-being. On the other hand, it can also be used for education (Mine Craft is being used in schools), improving cognitive and spatial-motor abilities and is a much-needed stress relief.

In conclusion, computer games are not rotting the brain but can be used as a tool to further boost the literacy of millions in our tech dominated world and keep us connected in a very socially restricted and perilous time. Boris, you are now the Prime Minister as I’m writing this and I believe you would go back on your word if you could see the utter boredom, loneliness and depression caused by the necessary regulations put in place to combat such a vile disease. Video games are an escape. Video games keep us reading. Video games let us keep our Viking hearts.


Eric C (Year 11)


Written by Pupil/ Student