Daily Mail keen to portray TalkTalk hacker as ‘violent games addict’

There are many things to note about the 15-year-old who was yesterday arrested and subsequently bailed for the TalkTalk security breach.

For instance, he is an ADHD sufferer and struggles with learning disabilities and other non-specified behavioural problems. There’s also the question of how much responsibility his parent should be taking for his activities.

All of this has been relegated to the background in much of the media’s coverage today, however, with most of the attention instead turning to the fact that he also happened to play video games.

Huge credit goes to Eurogamer, which has searched through lots of UK press coverage this morning.

The chief offender appears to be The Daily Mail, the front page of which refers to the lad as "a baby-faced loner who rarely leaves his bedroom" and a "violent video game addict" who has since the age of 10 "spent hours playing violent video games such as Call of Duty, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto". Again, that he was allowed to play such games at such a young age has not been explored.

Call of Duty, Resident Evil and GTA are also pictured (and quite specifically criticised) complete with the captions ‘Killing’, ‘Ghoulish violence’ and ‘Criminal mayhem’. The paper also focuses on his aspirations of becoming a professional Call of Duty player.

Other papers such as The Sun, The Independent and The Telegraph see fit to mention his like of games, while The Guardian makes no reference to it at all.

The Daily Mail has a rich history of attacking video games. It’s far from the only offender, however.

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