5 Myth Busters About Video Games

Written by Olivia Ivanov

As video games become more prevalent in our daily lives, many parents have questions about how they can affect their children’s lives. Are video games a waste of time?  What kind of environment do video games provide my child? Do they lead to more violent and antisocial behavior? In order to answer these questions, we’ll be busting 5 myths about video games.

#1 : Only Boys Play Video Games

False

In actuality, 59% of girls ages 13-17 do in fact play video games. While this is less than the 84% of boys who play, this is still a large percentage, and it is always increasing. There are many prominent women in the gaming industry as well, including Pokimane, Endiequeen, and Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon.

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#2 : Video Game Players Are Antisocial

False

With the number of online games at an all-time high, kids are hanging out with friends and forming new friendships online every day. 57% of children ages 13-17 have made friends online, with 84% of boys and 62% of girls feeling more connected with their friends while playing online video games.

During games, children also learn and demonstrate important communication traits such as coordinating plays, verbalizing strategic moves, and vocalizing team goals.

While communicating over the internet is not the same as face-to-face conversations, it is still an essential form of communication to master. Ukatsu offers a localized space for gamers to play next one another and physically shake the hand of their opponent, are a vital addition to a child’s in-person communication skills.

57% of children ages 13-17 have made friends online, with 36% percent coming from online video games.

#3 : Playing Video Games is a Waste of Time

False

Columbia College | Photo by Kaci Smart

Columbia College | Photo by Kaci Smart

Video games can play a huge role in a child’s future, from full-ride scholarships to universities to professional careers. Large universities such as the University of Missouri, Columbia College, Culver-Stockton, and CMU are giving out scholarships to high schoolers to play on their collegiate teams and compete at a national level.

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Also, while only a very small percentage of gamers become professional gamers, there are thousands of jobs in the eSports industry, including casters, sound technicians, graphic designers, tournament organizers, and more!

 

#4 : Playing Video Games Leads to Violence and Aggression

False

This is probably the most popular misconception about video games. Despite its notoriety, no study has been able to prove the causation between playing video games and exhibiting violent or aggressive behavior.

In reality, video games can provide cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social benefits. Playing video games can enhance a child’s problem-solving and spatial skills, and in one study, it was suggested that “shooter game players allocate[d] their attentional resources more efficiently and filter out irrelevant information more effectively”.

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It is also important to be aware of what your child is playing and to discuss their achievements after they play. These conversations can be a great opportunity to discuss morals, set goals, and further engage with the activity your child loves.

 

#5 : Video Games can be a Toxic Enviornment

True

Online gaming creates a variety of benefits and has allowed everyone the chance to compete against anyone across the globe. With this ability, however, comes the caveat that individuals are not always appropriate on the internet.

Games such as League of Legends have chat rooms that can include negative comments and unsportsmanlike conduct, and games like Fortnite can have individuals calling young players “Squeakers”.

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While this toxicity does exist, this can be an important opportunity to practice Digital Citizenship. As a parent, you can teach your child how to communicate appropriately with others online. This includes reporting inappropriate comments and players, as well as actively working to make the game a healthier environment and not being a bystander if cyberbullying occurs.

Sources

Teens, Technology, and Friendships - http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/06/teens-technology-and-friendships/

The Benefits of Playing Video Games - https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-a0034857.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0f00NZxD04v5WZMPIoxaHlaNAzqsy7WTznIyP4yiIxXaM-rstkaU3icTQ