I’ve just noticed that the complete transcript of my House of Lords committee debate with Susan Greenfield on ‘What is the potential impact of technology, such as computer gaming, on the brain?’ is now online as a pdf file.
The debate was for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Scientific Research in Learning and Education and, handily, the transcript has all the slides included next to the relevant text.
As with all direct transcripts it has the fluency of frozen mud: “And we saw a thing from the newspaper there and this was based on a report by Childwise” (clearly hitting one of my rhetorical highs at this point).
You can draw your own conclusions from the debate, however, what stands out for me, and what struck me at the time, is Greenfield’s completely unwillingness to engage with any of the scientific studies on the topic.
There’s also an interesting typo in the transcript. When talking about the research on video game violence during the questions I’m quoted as saying “There is a very good discussion about this in the Binary report”.
What I actually mentioned was the Byron report – a wide-ranging review commissioned by the UK government entitled ‘Safer Children in a Digital World’.
It is probably one of the best scientific reviews on the impact of computers on the well-being and behaviour of children. Interestingly, I met no-one in parliament who had read it and drew blanks whenever I mentioned it. Joined up government in action, I presume.
pdf of ‘impact of technology on the brain’ debate transcript.