Do computer games leave children with 'dementia'?

Daily Mail headline: ‘Computer games leave children with ‘dementia’ warns top neurologist’. The first two paragraphs of the article:

Children’s brains could be left damaged and they could suffer temporary ‘dementia’ by playing computer games, a leading scientist has warned.

Eminent neurologist Baroness Susan Greenfield said yesterday that spending time online gaming and browsing internet sites such as Facebook could pose problems for millions of youngsters.

Three paragraphs from further on in the same article:

However, she did not reveal any research that had made a connection between screen technologies and brain degeneration.

Professor Mark Griffiths, a psychologist and Directory of Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit, said he knew of no scientific evidence that such a link existed.

He said: ‘If anything the fact computer games are arousing can aid education by keeping children engaged.’

So, basically she is speculating that constantly being at a computer screen could damage your brain (for example, if you spend too much time on the Mail website) but she fails to provide any evidence to support her hypothesis. The Daily Mail chooses to ignore that and prefers to instead publish a headline that clearly implies the claim is based on evidence – i.e. if they accurately reported what the neurologist had said the headline would read: ‘Computer games could leave children with ‘dementia’ warns top neurologist’ rather than: ‘Computer games leave children with ‘dementia’ warns top neurologist’.

Paul Dacre doesn’t seem to realise that there is a lot more to bad journalism than just phone hacking and that tougher regulation isn’t just a result of that one crime, but rather the fact that the vast majority of newspapers publish bullshit every single day.

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