The Daily Mail’s coverage of Talk Talk hacker places the blame on videogames, obviously

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The UK tabloids haven’t changed their minds about the relationship between videogames and crime – or if they have, it’s only as far as extending the causality of a broader range of crimes to Call Of Duty et al. Daily Mail’s coverage of the teenage hacker who accessed private data of comms giant Talk Talk points the finger squarely at his gaming habit, painting the 15-year-old as a “violent videogame addict.”

The un-named teen, currently under arrest for the Talk Talk cyber attack, aspired to become a professional Call Of Duty player and went by the handle ‘Vicious,’ the Mail reveals.

The publication also extrapolates from the boy’s blog activity that he is “obsessed with violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto.”

“From the age of ten,” the article continues, “the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has spent hours playing violent video games such as Call of Duty, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto – all of which are unsuitable for young children because of their graphic nature.”

One element the Mail does not introduce, however, is that of parental responsibility. The games in question didn’t materialise in the house by sheer chance, nor did the games industry will them into that home. It also seems unlikely that a boy of ten would have been sold the games if he turned up at a shop and slapped them down on a counter. The subject of how the hacker gained access to those games is one the article doesn’t touch on.

The piece makes numerous references to the boy being reclusive, and rarely spotted outdoors or with other, informed largely by statements from neighbours.

It describes Call Of Duty – the entire franchise, rather than a specific title – using the words “Ghoulish violence,” and uses “criminal mayhem” to describe Grand Theft Auto. Again, the entire franchise, rather than any game in particular. Firstly, that’s a bit like me referring to The Daily Mail as simply ‘tabloid press.’ Secondly, please feel free to assure everyone that you’ve played the games you offer such strong editorial comment on, Daily Mail.

The interesting thing about The Mail’s coverage of this story is that it extends the usual ‘violent criminal was obsessed with videogames” narrative to simply “criminal was obsessed with videogames.” Previously the implied argument was that the individual in question was in some way mimicking the violent acts they perpetrated in violent games – that argument becomes a lot less clear in the case of the Talk Talk hacker.

Original story: Mail Online.