Gerry Harvey Would Ban 'Leisure Computers', Thinks Kids' Minds Are 'Screwed Up On Games'

Despite the fact he set-up an offshore retail service, providing import games for Australian consumers, and despite the fact he stocks consoles and video games in his stores nationwide, Gerry Harvey went on a televised rant last night on computer games, claiming that kids today are "screwed up on games". Harvey also said that, if he could, he would ban all "leisure computers".

We can only assume that, by leisure computers, he is talking about consoles.

In an interview with Ten Late News regarding the state of Australian retail, Harvey went on a largely unprovoked rant, sharing the kind of language and ideas I assumed went out with the ice age.

I think one of the great tragedies with youth is that they spend so much time playing games and crap on computers and they’re not outside. You’re not healthy and it’s a big problem in our society. If I could get rid of computers, all leisure computers for all of Australia I probably would. They can have them at school, but leisure time — no.
We’re talking about kids playing games mostly online and wasting their life away basically playing games online because they’re not getting any physical activity and their minds are screwed up on these games.

Is this real life? Is this the same man who sells import games via his online store? Is this the same man selling the consoles he wants to ban in his stores?

Wow. Gerry's said some pretty crazy things in the past, including a claim that online retail doesn't work, but this takes the cake. Actually, I think my favourite part is where he calls consoles 'leisure computers'. Gold Jerry, gold.

You can watch the full interview here. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Thanks Matt H


    Let's all just forget that it was my interest in 'leisure computers' that led me to study computer science -_-

      Ditto. It was trying to get a copy of Dawn of War working on a mates old computer that made me realise how much I wanted to know more about them.

      Last edited 06/02/13 11:09 am

      I have played 'leisure games' since a kid. Was playing FPS's with a clan when I was in Year 11, 12, blah blah. I am definitely a hardcore gamer. I studied a Certificate IV in Fitness and worked at a gym. So I think I cover the "not healthy" side of it well, and you cover the "big problem" side of it well.

      I think us gamers are doing well.

    He needs to be taken out back and shot.

      And leave us to miss out on such nuggets of comedy gold in the future? No way!

      Dude I think you just proved him right...

    Here's your answer, Harvs.

    Just for the sake of objectivity, there is a disturbingly high amount of people addicted to video games. It's a bit of a stretch, but he's not a complete idiot.

      He is selling games. He is either stupid, a hypocrite or both.

        So hypothetically, if I work at a store that sells cigarettes and I also believe cigarettes are bad for your health, that makes me stupid/hypocritical?

          yes. If you are against cigarettes and you work somewhere that sells them you are a hypocrite.

          Cigarettes are 100% detrimental to one's health.

          The amount of 'problem gamers' in proportion to normal gamers is low.

          If you owned a chain of stores that sold cigarettes and believed they were bad, then yes, you would be.

          Maybe instead of stocking those evil cigarettes, you should sell Chewley's Gum (tm).


            And here comes the speech about how he is just doing his job by following orders!

            And you're stirring up all this anti-smoking sentiment to what? Sell more gum?

            And you lot, you ought be ashamed of yourselves. Try thinking for yourselves before you pelt an innocent man with cigarettes. Bunch of easily led automatons, go commute!

            On topic, don't ever change Gerry! I'll still never spend a cent at your stores, but goddamn do you make me laugh! Irrelevant old fool.

          Yes, it does make you hypocritical. How does it not make you hypocritical? I can't think of a more perfect example of hypocrisy.
          And if you sell cigarettes and then go on tv to say how bad cigarettes are for you, you are stupid. Why would you sabotage your own business like that?

          No, if you owned a nation-wide network of stores that sold cigarettes, it would make you hypocritical.

          Just for the sake of objectivity? WTF - HE IS A COMPLETE IDIOT. As are you! Where is your evidence of this 'disturbing high' amount? C'mon where is this 'objective' empirical evidence of high rates of addiction?

            lol. I'm glad you're emotionally involved in this discussion

              Lol. Im glad that you make idotic shit up just like Gerry Harvey.

                lol. I'm glad that you referenced his joke in your post.

          I disagree, but perhaps my views are a little askew. If you run an electronics store, naturally supply and demand would dictate that you provide games as well. It doesn't mean you have to like them.
          This argument reminds me a lot of religion. I don't like christianity because of how people have abused it, but the people who shout out against it are equally ignorant and abrasive.

            It is hypocritical to denounce something and profit from it. He has no obligation or duty to sell "leisure computers", he does so simply because his stores happen to have an overlapping market.

              Games bring people to stores. People bring money. Gerry likes money. Gerry likes money more than he doesn't like people playing games. Gerry 'might' be stupid, but he still hasnt forfeitted his right to an opinion.

                He has stated an opinion not based on any evidence. He has stated an opinion that is clearly hypocritical.

                He hasn't forfeited his right to an opinion but it's important to realise that just because someone has an opinion doesn't mean that it can't be immediately dismissed. An opinion that cannot be justified is worthless. His opinion cannot be justified. His opinion is worthless.

                The right to an opinion means nothing.

                  You've chosen to immediately dismiss what he has to say and that's fine. I've chosen to give it some thought and try and find some reason. I don't agree with him completely but that isn't to say I completely disagree with him. Ultimately, neither of us are going to agree so there's little point to this.

                  His argument boils down to "kids these days are acting differently than kids back in my day. I don't like that, therefore we should take drastic actions."

                  Until he comes up with an actual point based on showing that the actions kids are doing are detrimental to them, he should be immediately dismissed. We should not encourage this sort of discourse because it does not go anywhere. It encourages emotional arguments instead of fact based ones and it does not offer real solutions because they fail to identify real problems.

                  People have been whinging about 'kids these days' since the 8th Century BCE. The arguments today are almost exactly the same as they were nearly 3000 years ago. The only thing that's changed is the idiotic mouthpiece.

                  @Zico - giving some thought to moronic opinions is attempting to give validity to them. Idiots deserve none. Having a right to voice an opinion needs to come with a responsibility to provide an intelligent opinion. People need to hold morons like Harvey accountable for his/her opinions and deride them appropriately, not attempt to validate them.

            No. If you shout out against the abuses of religion it does not make you a hypocrite. Unless you also abuse through religion. In fact assuming that someone is ignorant and abrasive because they merely shout out against religious abuses makes YOU ignorant and a hypocrite

            Horrible example. Makes me wonder about all the crusades I must have missed which were started by athiests.

          No. In this case it would be if you RAN the store that sold cigarettes and also believed that cigarettes should be entirely banned, that would make you stupid/hypocritical.

          It would make you a hypocrite if you believe they should be banned.

          Yes. Flat out yes. However its ones choice to smoke.

      I think it may be disturbingly high but as an overall percentage of the gaming population, its tiny.
      something like 90% of households own a console these days, and yet somehow society manages to push on.

      Too true. I think he's a bit of a racist and a twat but I agree young children are way too exposed to computers early on. A neighbour's 9-year old kid spends all day (if possible) on youtube or playing minecraft and that makes him a massively spoiled brat at times. Too much of anything is bad. I see books and TV the same. That seems to be his thinking just not his way of expressing it. He's just arrogant.

        That's what I was attempting to state. An arrogant and misinformed opinion can still have some validity.

        Gotta watch out for those evil books. You do know reading is exercise for your brain and helps it to keep working in your old age.

        Last edited 06/02/13 9:55 am

          I'm not saying I don't ever read. I do. A lot.

          I also think that when I'm older I will try and stave off dementia, MS, Alzheimer's, etc. by exercising my brain. I've met a few people with those disorders and the effect that they have on relations in particular is heartwrenching. I may not exercise it by reading but by studying, playing chess, or whatever. It doesn't matter.

          I was just saying that not moderating the amount of time you spend on an action will likely cause you to develop an attachment to it that will damage your relationships or even mental stability. I know this from experience. Reading books can do this just as doing anything else can.

        Then your argument is with the parents, not the technology. Your neighbour's kid's shit behavior is the fault of his parents, not technology, books, or TV.

          His parent (seperated) has to work. And study. It's tough to be a medical professional in a foreign country.

          But anyway, that's sort of what I was saying. I don't think we should ban consoles. Nor books or TV. I just think we shouldn't encourage going on computers so much at an early age.

      Gaming is not addictive, it is not a recognised nor accepted "illness" and it should stay that way. Claiming your addicted to gaming or even labelling someone as such is a massive damn cop out and is an insult to people who have real addictions.

      Gerry is either a absolute brain dead twit or has actually gone senile.

        Gaming addiction will almost certainly be recognised as an addiction in the next DSM, because it is addictive. A lot of games use the reward ratios they use in poker machines to keep people playing.

          This is true. DSM V has included it. After studying it last year in psych its interesting how the brain works with gaming. With some people it reacts in a manner similair to smoking. Look it up

            @ Weresmurf
            No the DSM haven't, It was proposed and the shot down, it may eventually happen but i hope it never does because gaming gets a bad enough rep (falsely i might add) as it stands and I honestly don't care to give ignorant and stupid people more reason to besmirch my favourite past time.

            Its also worth noteing Gambling isn't even classified as an addiction because it isn't. The APA has it as an impulse control disorder which is exactly what it is. People lack the ability to control themselves, its not the video games causing addiction its people with problems already, useing anything as a crutch, be it gambling, video games, internet and everything else.

            Its the exact same thing as this media bullshit about violent games making people violent, its the same damn thing. It has nothing to do with the games and 100% to do with these mentally ill people who are already violent being attracted to said games. So please dont come here spouting bullshit like "its a recognised addiction", when in fact it isn't.

              Be very careful about what you label as facts. You're not a professional. The DSM V comes out May this year, as far as internet and gaming addiction, though you may be right and it may not include gaming addiction and internet addiction as a mental disease yet, I can guarantee you at some point it inevitably will.

              The fact is, that studies are consistently showing an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of internet users are thought to be addicted on average.

              For the study, published in the Jan. 11 issue of PLoS One, researchers studied 17 men and women who were diagnosed with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) and compared scans of their brains to scans of 16 healthy people who weren't addicted to the web. Study participants were between the ages of 14 and 21 and lived in China. Video Game-Obsessed Mom Neglects Kids, Starves Dogs Are social networking sites turning teens into substance abusers? The researchers found more patterns of "abnormal white matter" on brain scans of Internet addicts, compared with scans of non-addicts. White matter areas in the brain contain nerve fibers that transmit signals to other parts of the brain. These changes showed evidence of disrupting pathways related to emotions, decision-making, and self control. The researchers said earlier studies have found similar white matter changes in the brain scans of people addicted to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, meth, and ketamine (also known as "Special K"). "The results also suggest that IAD may share psychological and neural mechanisms with other types of substance addiction and impulse control disorders," the researchers wrote in the study. Professor Gunter Schumann, chair in biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London, told BBC News that he's come across similar findings in brain scans of video game addicts. "For the first time two studies show changes in the neuronal connections between brain areas as well as changes in brain function in people who are frequently using the Internet or video games," he said. Dr. Henrietta Bowden Jones, consultant psychiatrist at Imperial College in London, who runs the U.K.'s only clinic for Internet addicts, said hardcore gamers are more likely to be addicted to the Internet.

              Now. While I do not believe EVERY gamer out there is an addict, I do believe that it is possible for a certain subset of people to be easily addicted TO gaming because of the risk v reward nature of gaming, thus like poker machines etc. To deny this is flat out foolish. Any activity can be potentially addictive, to deny that something like gaming can be addictive, is to live in ignorance of reality.

              Last edited 06/02/13 1:11 pm

                Very interesting. Although I will say that a study with 33 people in the sample is quite small considering the minimum for a statistically significant sample is 30

                  In no way would I use that study alone as the basis for gospel truth. I just thought it brought about an interesting idea. Using it as a springboard to do further research into the topic as such. Personally I DO NOT believe the majority of gamers out there become addicted to videogames in the way Fox News etc describe, contrary to Kingpotatos possible belief, I do actually believe that there must be an underlying issue already at play. Usually one does find this in addictive personalities, either in chemical imbalances etc (which, to be honest, is the root of *all* addictions given we are all made of chemicals in the first place, but I digress), however, I do believe that like I said before, a subset of gamers are more likely to become addicted to playing games (Im not going to piss into the wind over the terminology) than others due to these factors.

                  Where the hell did the 'minimum of 30' come from? The minimum can be two if the effect size is large enough.

                Anything in the world can be "addictive" to a sub set of people in the sense you are talking about, which in a sense is true. But what im saying is that is not real addiction, chemical addictions are real addictions, where as behavioural ones should be classified as something else (like gambling currently is) because they in themselves are not addictive. It is this specific subset of people that get addicted to anything, it doesnt matter if its gambling gaming the internet or rolling around in a field of flows.

                a TRUE thing which is addictive is something that will 100% make anybody who does/uses it for an extended period or reaches a certain limit will become addicted, i.e all chemical addictions like painkillers other illict drug and booze.

                You will find however that probably not even 95% of people can even become "gaming addicts" no matter how much they play there by proving gaming itself is not addictive. The reason for the addiction lies within the individual person themselves (you would very likely find they all have some kind impulse control disorder), its the reason once an addict always an addict is a saying. A booze addict should never gamble or do drugs because they are many many times more susceptible.

                So the only conclusion that can be drawn from that, is that while some people may become addicted to gaming or the internet neither of them are actually addictive by them selves so they should not be labelled as such. If either of them where addictive the rate of addiction would be through the roof compared to the absolute tiny tiny subset which is "believed" to exist currently.

                Now i could be wrong, but i think that is highly unlikely. So i guess my point is that its possible for people to get "addicted" to gaming but addicted is the wrong word entirely, it is some other kind of disorder at play and by saying gaming or the internet makes addicts or is addictive does a heck of alot more harm than it does good because of the hugely negative connotations the words addictive and addiction have in society.

                /end rant

                  Except the body can produce the same pleasure chemical as drugs, and poker machines have been designed to engage those pleasure centres. The dichotomy between chemical and behavioural addiction is blurred at best, and arguably not a thing.

        Technically anything can be addictive, but I would say cases of actual computer, gaming, or internet addiction are probably rare. I'm sure most people considered "addicted" to such entertainment vices are simply lazy or unmotivated to do other things. If you're at the level where you lose your job because you skipped work to raid in WoW, or sneak off to the bathroom 40 times a day for a quick round of Angry Birds on your phone, then we'd have to acknowledge you have a problem.

        Are kids generally staying indoors to play video games instead of going outside and playing sports? Yes, absolutely. I know that was my preference as a kid, and that was back before home PCs and gaming consoles were common. Through my teenage years I'd rather sit in the library and read or play D&D with friends instead of cricket or handball or volleyball.

        Parents need to motivate their kids to enjoy outdoor activities, and this means getting involved. You want your kid to play soccer, you need to be driving them to practice twice a week and getting up early to get them to the game on Saturday morning, maybe set up some goal posts in the backyard and let them practice shooting goals.

        If "leisure computers" are a detriment to children's health it's because parents find it easier to sleep in on Saturdays because the kid can amuse himself with the Xbox for a few hours.

    I think I'll keep my sanity and not click the link.
    There is more than enough stupid floating around I don't need Harvey adding to it.

    OH deary me, I seem to have misplaced my leisure computer, cheerio!

      Awfully sorry to hear that, old chap! Have you checked the trunk of your Oldsmobile, good sir? If I were you I should investigate the possibility of it residing within that locality forthwith.

      Last edited 06/02/13 9:34 am

    Gerry, you do realise Harvey Norman have a whole department devoted to these "leisure computers"?

    I infer that, ideally, you want people to buy "leisure computers" but not use them?


    If you can't beat them, ban them?

      If you can't ban them, complain about them (while still selling them and making money from them...).

    He looks and sounds just like my old boss that owned a computer store. Completely ignorant to advances in technology and how society interacts with it. I can't wait for this deluded generation to retire so the people who aren't terrified of the internet can take over. It mustn't be long now!

    Its time to go Harvey go.

    I've shopped at Harvey Norman once in the last decade and it was an absolute ordeal.

      I bought a computer from there about 8 years ago. It was an overpriced piece of junk. Maybe it was all part of Gerry's plan to stop me using computers!

      Well he certainly stopped me shopping for computers (at his stores).

    god this guy shits me... he lives in the stone age yet some how his business is still going...

      Many of his customers also live in that age.

    I'm going to quote Hank Hill (King of the Hill) here Gerry:
    "Just when I think you've said the dumbest thing ever... you go right on talking..."

    Hey you kids, get of my lawn!

    Still, a little more outside time would not be a step backwards or of detriment to the health of those kids in the "90%" of homes with consoles, or tablets, or DS's, or kids laptops.... I say that as a father of two young'uns. Yeah? Anyone? Hello? tumbleweeds.

    The best gem in that interview was that he believes Hardly Normal will dominate online retail in Australia in the next few years....

      i assume this is a reference to his previous comments that online retail was a bad idea or whatever stupid crap came out of his mouth?

    I believe kids should go outside and play more. However, the media likes to portray that there are pedophiles around every corner! You can't win!!

      One would think with all the violent video games kids play these days they would be well equipped with how to deal with pedophiles. Video games are murder simulators after all. :D

    Like, yeah man, i was like trying to score some the other night & like, the dude said like, he couldnt sell the stuff too me cause it was like, bad for me or something man...bummer.

    I don't think he is being hypocritical just more along the lines that he prefers money over his convictions.

    Ok, those people with the statements about 'disturbingly' large numbers of people addicted to games - where are your figures? anecdotal?
    Addiction is not people choosing to do something a lot - otherwise there is disturbingly large number of people addicted to making comments on the internet BAN SOMETHING NOW!

    I would ban 'Gerry Harvey', as I think consumers are being 'ripped off in his stores'.

    Reading what he said it seems like he's talk about all computers outside of work/school not just console

    I say that we should now start using the term Leisure Computer instead of console.

      One better, we should go into all his stored and replace the word "Console" with "Leisure Computer", in face I'm going to start doing it at my place probably the best thing to come out of Harvey Norman ever...

        Or just walk into a Harvey Norman store and ask a salesperson "Excuse me but where do you keep your Leisure Computers?"

          The leisure computers are on our floating pleasure barges above you sir!

          Than you get guided to where they are located and notice they are still the same RRP they were at in 2006 and yell out 'God damn that is expensive' and leave.

          Oh man, If I were still working there I would totally have started referring to them as such. And if someone came and asked for one, it would have made my day.

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