It has emerged that UK newspaper The Daily Mail “completely fabricated” quotes used in a story linking gaming to a new generation of “zombie children”.
Today’s story leads with the headline “Stoned with tiredness: Generation of children are becoming zombies because of late-night gaming sessions, claims charity”.
It then goes on to quote charity worker Robert Hart-Fletcher of Kids and Media as saying: “Gaming is a phenomenon that’s been around quite a while. Now we are starting to see the effects in behaviour of young people.
“In the past people had genuine relationships with empathy and compassion which has been replaced by this virtual relationship where they are not necessarily having to show empathy or compassion. That’s starting perhaps to change the way they interact on a day to day basis.”
However, Hart-Fletcher has confirmed to Beefjack that he never said the quotes attributed to him in the story, and even provided an MP3 of the interview as proof.
“Our stance is that gaming, being in constant contact with friends and playing with other gamers around the world, is good for most kids most of the time,” Hart-Fletcher stated.
“While people can over-use games or smartphones, they can over-use anything – and that’s no reflection of the value of the activity.”
UPDATE: It appears that the BBC not only used the exact same quotes, but was surprisingly the originator of the story.