• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Blog, Gaming - Written by on Friday, February 8, 2013 15:21 - 42 Comments

    Video games “screw up” kids’ minds: Gerry Harvey

    blog Look, I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the mind of Gerry Harvey, but if you believe comments he made on Channel 10 last week, the Harvey Norman founder may be more out of touch with reality than any of us had previously realised (is that even possible?). According to Harvey (click here to watch the video interview, you select it from the menus on the right), one of “the great tragedies” of our modern age is that kids spend way too much time … you guessed it … playing video games. Shocker. Norman says:

    “If I could get rid of leisure computers in Australia, I probably would. They can have them at school, but leisure time, no. We’re talking about kids playing games online, and wasting their life away playing games. They’re not getting any physical activity. Their minds are screwed up in these games.”

    Honestly, I don’t think we need to seriously address these claims. The extensive role which video games have in our society in areas such as artistic works, entertainment, facilitating social interaction, health care and even in education is incredibly well-documented by now, and I think almost everyone who lives in Australia accepts that. I’m no kid; I’m 31 years of age, I’m a father myself, a small business owner and I’ve played video games my whole life. Contrary to Norman’s claims, I also exercise (Karate, the gym and so on) and I’m even married. Shocker. Seems like I turned out OK, and I think most of the billions of others who also enjoy video games are also pretty normal people.

    What these comments by Harvey demonstrate to me is that the executive really is quite out of step with modern society and even reality. For me personally, for Harvey to label video games as a blight on society is similar to a racist bemoaning multicultural Australia, a homophobic person sledging gay people or a chauvinist making offensive comments about women. Video games are a normal, basic part of Australian society, and if you don’t accept that, Gerry Harvey, it’s you whose mind is “screwed up” — not the other 99 percent of us.

    One last thing … we do so hope Harvey’s attitude towards video games changes fairly soon. We’d hate to see the Harvey Norman founder alienated in the expensive nursing home which, no doubt, isn’t too far away in his future … you know, the kind where the aged citizens are obsessed with playing Nintendo Wii?

    submit to reddit


    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

    1. George H
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If Gerry really thinks video games harms minds, he should put his money where his mouth is and pull said games off his shelves.

      • Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Does Harvey Norman even sell games? I haven’t been in there for about a decade, so I really have no idea what they sell any more. My mates and I used to refer to it as “Hardly Normal” because of the “Hardly Normal” prices.

        I still do go into JB Hi-Fi a fair bit, however. Perhaps Harvey Norman would be doing a little better if it focused on video games as much as JB does? My impression is that HN sells stuff that nobody really wants to buy … HP printers, for example? ADSL routers without Wi-Fi? That kind of thing.

        • Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Not only do they do games, they also do sofas and beds, thus allowing kids to slumber instead of doing some physical activity. Not to mention TVs that waste kids’ time without even exercising their fingers.
          Me, I applaud Dr Harvey and Mr Norman here for making me feel younger. I’m a kid again! Saving the galaxy has its benefits.

        • Posted 08/02/2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Don’t forget http://www.harveynormandirectimport.com/

        • Karl
          Posted 08/02/2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Of course they sell games, do you not remember http://www.harveynormandirectimport.com/ ? Quite the hypocrisy from Harvey.

        • Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

          Harvey Norman sells quite an extensive range of video games – http://harveynorman.com.au/gaming as well as computers, of course.

          It’s the height of hypocrisy to be happy to get rich in part by selling computers and video games, and then paint them as a blight on society. Gerry, to be consistent with your ‘principles’, clearly you must immediately pull all video games and consoles from sale, and institute a policy of requiring anyone purchasing a computer from you to sign an affidavit promising that the computer will only be used for ‘learnology’.

          Oh, and you’ll be donating all the profits derived from sales of video games and ‘recreational computers’ to date to an organisation that focuses on rehabilitating gamers and turning them into athletes, right?


    2. Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Your journalistic credentials are slipping, Renai. Answer the big questions that the public is dying to know!

      … what rank are you in Karate? :D

      • Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Green belt Shotokan … relatively lapsed for about a year since my daughter has been taking up way too much of my time ;)

        • George H
          Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Renai, I was there not too long ago buying a new dishwasher and washing machine (I know a guy that works there who got me a good deal), and saw a few overpriced games on the shelves to go along with their overpriced Xbox and PS3s.

          I wouldn’t say that they are really focused on video games or consoles, at least to the level that JB Hifi are. People probably shop there because they don’t know any better. It’s pretty obvious Gerry sells the stuff he has on his shelves, because that stuff sells and Gerry loves a quick buck. Case in point: iPods and accessories.

    3. Daniel
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Harvey doesn’t know anything about ‘kids’ or ‘gaming’.

      I’ve been playing Video Games since DOS games, Games like, 11th Hour, Doom, Heretic, RTS Games like Warcraft, Dune, and so forth.

      Hasn’t “screwed me up” one bit, if anything it probably taught me more about Big Business and Politics lol and how pathetic they can get.

    4. Mark M
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I have been playing computer games for a looooooooong time and I am no more screwed than I was when I started.

    5. Glenn
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      People spending large amounts of time playing games to relax are screwed up… so what does that make people who spend their lives building a corporate empire whos purpose is to screw those people.

      • TechinBris
        Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Well in a Game, you might be a Tyrant in virtual. But in the real world, you can really be a Tyrant. Guess which one can really hurt others. Says it all really.

        • Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Being a tyrant in the real world can be quite fun. I rather enjoy being the Supreme Overlord of Delimiter, although unfortunately I didn’t get many magical powers along with the role, unlike in some fantasy games I have played *sigh*

    6. Paul Thompson
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if Harvey’s luddite attitude also explains why his store has been so bad at embracing the new paradigm of online shopping?

      It may be that his unfounded and irresponsible attitude has been the achille’s heel of his empire. With a more balanced individual at the helm, they may be prospering instead of sitting back and complaining.

    7. Ferretzor
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I have played video games for years, and I don’t think I have turned out too badly.

      Hmm anyone else wonder what Gerry Harvey would drop?

      • Murdoch
        Posted 08/02/2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

        A broken IWIN button.

      • jasmcd
        Posted 08/02/2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

        A Koopa Shell

      • stoffs
        Posted 11/02/2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink | Reply

        vendor trash …

    8. Dominik
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      People that play games aren’t taking that time away from running around the park and exercising, they’re taking it away from sitting inactively in front of the TV.

      If Harvey wants to blame something for obesity and inactivity he should blame TV’s and the broadcast industry. Then let’s see if he wants to stop selling TV’s and other passive entertainment devices at his stores.

    9. Murdoch
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry Renai, I know this doesn’t add much to the discussion, but I just had a dreadful case of recognition ….

      Look at Gerry in the picture.

      Look closely.

      Now look at this link. See the resemblence?



      P.S. Apologies, I have too much time on my hands today but it just kind of lept out at me.

    10. Psychaotix
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I posted this up on WP as a response.

      Well, bashed it out in between getting my jobs done and organising a conveyancer.


      h jeez. I wish he would keep his mouth SHUT!

      Okay, so he’s fine with computers in schools… So what does the student do when they’re told to complete the assignment at home? Do they print out more paper, hand write on it, then waste time at school merging those changes into their file at school? Are they made to write out the document by hand each time they want to work on it at home?

      And so what if kids are playing games on their off time. In many ways, playing games is a great stress relief, as well as being a valuable education tool. Take the iPad (and I’m sure there’s similar/identical games available on Android as well.) A child can use them for learning, and with the new lockdown features, parents can restrict the device to that app unless a passcode is entered. The child could be playing a game that encourages them to learn to write, or read, or solve problems, all in an interactive environment, which encourages learning.

      And then there’s people like me. I’m playing Darksiders 1 at the moment, on my computer. It’s an adult game, but there’s also a fair bit of problem solving involved, making me think outside the box to find a solution. It might be really obvious, or it might take multiple steps to complete. It still involves working the brain to find a solution (be it violent or otherwise!)

      Oh, and lets not mention those people that rely on computers or tablet devices to communicate! Wouldn’t it be something else if those people were able to “talk” through a computer to get their needs across, rather than being forced into “Blink once for yes, twice for no” Statements with yes or No questions. EG, that same game that’s teaching kids to produce sentences can easily be re-purposed to provide a list of words that someone with even minimal hand control can use to create a sentence, and then use the device to say it.

      So yeah, computers are in homes now, and they have made a niche for themselves. Like them or not, they’re here to stay.

      So I say to Gerry… If you don’t want people to have home computers, game consoles or tablets, then take them off the shelves at your stores. Whilst you’re at it, you might as well take off all DVD/BD players and Smart TV’s as well, since kids are happy to sit down and watch a DVD all day. Just don’t blame the consumer if they decide that they’re gonna spend their money elsewhere.

    11. Woolfe
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m a gamer, have been since my c64. (Which I had at 4 years old)

      IMO Harvey is nuts when it comes to games screwing with our minds.


      He is right that we spend too much time playing games. Our kids do need to get out and do some physical stuff.

      My son(6) only gets to play games in the late afternoon, and generally not 2 days running. He is also only allowed to play for a short time on weekends. Honestly at this age I am not worried about it too much. But I know what I was like and I am going to push for my boy(and my daughter) to do at least some sort of sport as he ages, mostly to ensure there is some exercise happening, but also to ensure at least a modicum of physical social activity.

      I am really looking forward to playing games with him as he ages though :-) No doubt he will be “schooling” me in no time

    12. jim
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I started playing games waaaaaay back, they have not screwed me up, if anything they have saved my sanity by giving me an escape which requires no self medication – try playing after are few beers, fail guaranteed – but the reason I take exception to the claim is that my teenagers actually learn some pretty valuable lessons from playing games like Minecraft etc, creating their own game mods and even building the PCs they run on ( that’s a hint Gerry, your stores are irrelevant to teenagers so you’re stuffed, bye bye Gerry)

    13. NPSF3000
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I just love the fact that people are trying to defend themselves due to something Gerry said.

      Really… he’s still got that much power?

    14. Kevin Cobley
      Posted 09/02/2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      Can’t understand why this guy’s not bankrupt I can do better anywhere buying anything!
      He’s senile!

    15. Goddy
      Posted 09/02/2013 at 2:57 am | Permalink | Reply

      Is this old Gerrys final stubborn concession that his videogames arm isn’t earning a quid anymore after years of rorting?

    16. PeterA
      Posted 09/02/2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      Old Man says comment about kids these days.. News at 11.

    17. andyrob
      Posted 09/02/2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink | Reply

      I find it amusing that for a man that has probably made Millions out of selling the bloody things, would come out with this. Can’t see myself walking into one of his shops again

    18. Tinman_au
      Posted 09/02/2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think you’d find most large corporations executives would have this attitude, for them the only real game in town is “the business” and money is just used to keep score. I mean, seriously, why bother once your personal wealth crosses the billion mark otherwise…personally I’d move on to something else (like Bill Gates/Dick Smith did).

    19. stoffs
      Posted 11/02/2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink | Reply

      what next…. a drug boss coming out saying that drugs are killing our kids? ronald mcdonald blaming take away food for kids getting fat… MT claiming that copper to the house is a sufficient internet platform for us ?

      Honestly, i think games have saved more lives … if i didn’t get to go home over the last 20 years and take someone apart with a BFG ingame … i could have gone postal at work! :P

    20. Posted 11/02/2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      This coming from the man who ‘doesn’t get the internet’…sorry Gerry, out of touch old man…

    21. Brendan
      Posted 11/02/2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Gerry needs to remember which market he is in.

      It’s the one that sells a bunch of overpriced sh*t (they don’t need) to people consuming time that could otherwise be used to take a walk, got to the gym, cycle, or whatever other physical movement happens to be acceptable.

      People have all manner of reasons to play computer games, and to lump all usage patterns together is a pretty lazy approach, showing quite an alarming lack of understanding of the thing he’s commenting on.

    22. Stephen H
      Posted 11/02/2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      He hasn’t looked at where his profits are coming from lately, has he? Or does he think people watching his overpriced TVs is better, and they won’t see any violence or (gasp) sex there, would they?

      If you don’t like it don’t push it.

    23. Stephen H
      Posted 11/02/2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I just mentioned this story to my wife, who said “he just wants media time, doesn’t he?”

      No, she’s not a gamer. Maybe she’s a little cynical, though.

    24. Marc G
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Gerry’s comments are reflecting a general societal view of video games, have a read of this Gerry http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html.

    25. brad cann
      Posted 13/02/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      i think its more likely that harvey is worried that kids will be on computers, which have net access and access to better pricing then his “hardly normal” pricing, thus depriving him of income

      Boo freaking hoo.

    Leave a Comment


  • Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:

    Follow us on social media

    Use your RSS reader to subscribe to our articles feed or to our comments feed.

  • Most Popular Content

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT

    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications

    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry

    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights