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

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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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?

        • 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 ™.

          • 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?

        • 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?

        • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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?


  • 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!

    • 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).

  • 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 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. 😀

  • 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!

  • Another wise statement from Gerry Hypocrite.. we should all pay attention to everything this great man says and does.

  • Ok, I won’t argue that kids need to get out and exercise, but that comes down to parents monitoring things. As for minds are screwed up on these games., there have been studies that show quite the opposite. Cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier did a TED talk a little while ago about the study of video games and the effect they have on your brain.
    Its long, but worth watching, and goes a long way to dispel the notion that games are having a negative mental effect.
    As a side note, by Gerry’s logic, should not TV’s be banned? And iPads/Tables, even smart phones for that matter.

  • Why is it that everyone’s automatic solution to a problem is to just Ban It???

    It’s not the technology’s fault that kids are addicted or sitting on it all day, most of the time its the parents fault. You want your kids to get out more then stop depending on technology to Baby Sit them and actually monitor what their doing and take action to make sure your kid isn’t just dependent on Technology

    I really hate this whole idea of “let’s use everything else as a scape goat to shy away from what the real problems are”…it ain’t the technology’s that kids are addicted…I point my finger directly at the parents…be a parent and stop relying on the Xbox or PS3 to Babysit them all the time

  • He always comes across like a grumpy grandpa, especially when things don’t look good for his business (and pretends to care about other business)

  • And that’s fine…if he feels that strongly about Leisure Computing then I simply suggest to stop selling games in your stores Gerry. Hey its not like I ever buy stuff from his rip off merchant stores as it is.

    So if you feel that strongly Gerry then live by your words and stop being a hypocrite and just stop selling anything to do with the gaming industry

  • Can someone please photoshop Gerry Harvey sitting at a 70s mainframe with the title ‘The latest in Leisure computers – available now at Harvey Norman’. That would be gold.

  • while he is wrong a fair amount, he does have one good point and that is that alot of kids now would rather stay inside and watch tv/use a console or pc than go and play outside

    • “alot of kids now would rather stay inside and watch tv/use a console or pc than go and play outside”

      Firstly, that is a generalization that I have found to be fueled by mainstream media with the target audience of the aging population in an attempt to diagnose the misguided youth. Such a mindset is encouraged to this aging population in programs such as ‘Today Tonight’ and ‘A Current Affair’. This same aging population is the target demographic for these type of programs.

      Secondly, it is this target audience that merely sees technology as a ‘play-thing’. The Internet has connected us on a global scale and allowed such discussion as this to occur. It has raised awareness of global events and encouraged global collaboration. These are just a couple of examples that are not seen within the narrow mindset of the aging population.

      Thirdly, there is an assumption that just because people use computers it means they don’t socialize outdoors. There has always, always been those that preferred indoor activities to outdoor activities. That doesn’t change, the tools they use do.

    • “alot of kids now would rather stay inside and watch tv/use a console or pc than go and play outside”

      Firstly, that is a generalization that I have found to be fueled by mainstream media with the target audience of the aging population in an attempt to diagnose the misguided youth. Such a mindset is encouraged to this aging population in programs such as ‘Today Tonight’ and ‘A Current Affair’. This same aging population is the target demographic for these type of programs.

      Secondly, it is this target audience that merely sees technology as a ‘play-thing’. The Internet has connected us on a global scale and allowed such discussion as this to occur. It has raised awareness of global events and encouraged global collaboration. These are just a couple of examples that are not seen within the narrow mindset of the aging population.

      Thirdly, there is an assumption that just because people use computers it means they don’t socialize outdoors. There has always, always been those that preferred indoor activities to outdoor activities. That doesn’t change, the tools they use do.

    • Violence and crime also play a role in why kids can’t go outside.
      When I was young we could go to the park now you go to the park and get molested, robbed or bashed.

  • I’m more concerned about the fact he’d have “leisure computers” at school. Shouldn’t kids be… I dunno… learning stuff at school instead of playing video games?

  • So I guess.he would ban films, books, music and any other kind of non-physical entertainment and hobby? Nah just another old fart who has some sort of pathological issue with.”leisure computers” LOL.

    Oh Gerry, not only are you fat and theiunhealthy yourself, but did you know your stores sell leisure computers and all accessories?

    He’s always been a total twit, but it really makes me wonder if he has an undiagnosed mental issue. Surely a healthly minded person couldnt say these things with a straight face.

  • if by “leasure computers” he means gaming computers then most stores dont sell them (they do however sell computers capable of lplaying some games)

    if he means consoles then….yeah no

  • Funny would he say the same thing about his interest free TV’s or surround sound systems or couches and chairs he’s sold for decades? One would argue TV’s and couches are far less involving than leisure computers in relation to exercise or being outside as he put it.

  • If we are banning “leisure computers” we should also ban “leisure tv” since they also “prevent” people from going outside.

    I love it how when people make statements such as this, they seem to forget that its more beneficial for ones health to play games than watch tv. You mind is a lot more active while playing computer games (in particular puzzle/word games).

    Also by playing games, you are actually burning “energy” and can also help fight off diseases such as alzheimer’s

  • I agree, nothing wrong with admitting that it was created social problems despite it’s benefits. Just sad that many will deny it and brush it off.

  • Paraphrase Gerry, “I am scared of the future, I don’t understand it, and suck at making money from it, it must be broken… lazy kids make fun of me… have you seen my pill bottle… can we… what was I saying?”

  • No wonder kids are so obsessed with games – if someone told you about something called a leisure computer, how could you resist?

  • Guys/girls,

    Yes, Gerry Harvey is a jackass who in his comments sounds like the kind of person who, when asked about the hip new thing in popular entertainment, would probably refer to those ‘pesky Nintendo Video Games Tapes’. Yes, this guy will try to extract as much cash from his customers as possible and is a terrible hypocrite. Neither of these things surprise me.

    However, as much as he sounds like a self-interested, out of touch fogey (and as much as I personally dislike him for his socially reactionary views on everything from immigrants to the homeless), he’s actually got a point, here. There are only so many hours in the day and if kids are playing games or on the web, they aren’t doing something else. Games are awesome but, like everything else, should be enjoyed in moderation.

    I’m sorry, but if your kids are spending more time playing video games (which should be instead of, not on top of TV) than imaginative or outdoor play, then there’s something going wrong. It’s not a simple case of “childhood is different these days, get with the times” as one poster suggested, we’re mammals who need exercise and non-authored entertainment (yes, video games may exercise the imagination, but they are still an authored medium – even Minecraft is) for healthy physical and mental development.

    Yes, this is ranty. But the fact is that shut-ins who spend more time looking at a screen than the world (excepting those that don’t have a choice in the matter) are not in the long-term best interests of video games as a cultural medium or gaming as a respectable sub culture in the same way that people who get drunk and glass people before dying early of cirrosis (sp.?) are not in the best interest of those who want to enjoy a beer without being slugged with sin taxes or harassed by bouncers and law enforcement every time they go out.

    That comparison might be going a bit far, but you get the point.

    And no, I’m not trying to troll, I just feel very passionate about this.

  • We are all hypocrites – he’s just old enough to not think its a big deal and pragmatic enough not to kill his business based upon an ideal he has. I’m amazed at his age he’s still able to be idealistic.

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