The blame games and student behaviour

Ray Douglas

Saturday, 15 June 2019

"We can curse the darkness or shine a light"

A Headteacher once said to me she knew when a new video game had been released because there was a spike in absences and lateness the day after!

Interesting thought really especially as both teachers and parents alike currently glaze over when they hear the word fortnight; to the extent that one primary school recently banned any mention of it in the classroom.


But the reality is there is no turning back now from a multi-billion pound industry that creates games that capture the imagination of young people all over the world whether the “shoot em up “ type or the new ‘pay as you grow’ model adopted by fortnight.

In his 2007 book ‘Remotely Controlled ‘ Dr Aric Sigman has long argued about the effects of screen time on children however there is a deeper conversation to be had whether the games affect the moral compass, social justice and world view of a young person especially in relation to violence, misogyny and stereotypes which is prevalent in the 17+ games although our research tells us most children are playing them from primary school age anyway .

So what’s the solution?

Well in terms of our work around reducing youth violence approximately 10 years ago we created a behaviour management module called murder media which explored the effects of music games and films on young people.

games 2

The unique thing about murder media is it allowed young people to express themselves in relation to how they used games as escapism with most of them saying that although they disagreed with the majority of the content in the games it was something everybody played and therefore felt left out if they didn’t participate.

So my theory is instead of us constantly slating technology how about we utilise these games as a hook to explore some of the social ills and challenges that pupils face and use those teachable moments in order to seek solutions……after all, you are reading this in the palm of your hand, right?


About our Community Expert

Raymond Douglas
Community Expert

Raymond Douglas is one of the UK’s leading thinkers and “doers” around working with at-risk pupils and young people. A prolific trainer and curriculum developer he has created numerous intervention programs tackling youth conflict & violence aiming to reduce the number of those at risk of life-threatening behaviour involving guns, gangs, knife crime & extremism.

Ray has been an approved trainer for governmental departments and currently delivers within schools colleges, universities and prisons. Ray has spoken at TEDx and has worked nationally and internationally training & advising schools and local authorities around reducing systemic youth violence.

Today his Minus Violence program reaches over 10,000 young people & pupils per year and 2019 see the release of his first book Gangs Kitchen.

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