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Debunking Four Myths About Video Games

Video games are often misunderstood, despite being a very popular form of entertainment. For people who haven’t tried gaming much, it can be unsettling to see those who play for hours in front of their TVs or computers. Gamers are often glued to the screen and it appears that they have addiction problems. It is true that excessive gaming can be socially isolating and physically harmful. However, it is unfair to say just bad things about gaming activities. Here are common accusations directed toward video games and gamers:

Video games lead to social isolation

This gaming myth is perpetrated by the stereotypical view of solitary gamers who spend the nearly whole day inside their bedroom. It’s clearly a socially unnatural and unhealthy thing to do. However, games may bring people from different parts of the world to a single platform. It is common for young gamers to find many new friends and interact with them socially every day through online means. High-speed Internet access has become ubiquitous in many homes, allowing gamers to have a constant voice or video calls with one another. There are countless close-knit communities based on specific gaming interests.  

Video games are a waste of valuable time

Parents always tell their children that they can do better things with their time. There’s a dissonance to this notion because we could achieve more by exercising or learning new things. However, playing games are just the same as engaging in another form of entertainment, such as reading a romance novel, listening to music, or watching movies. In fact, the video gaming industry is thriving and an increasing number of people are using games as digital content to earn money on various streaming and social media platforms.

Video games can make people violent

It’s a long-standing trope about shooters and other action games, like Fortnite and Call of Duty. Players are expected to be aggressive to win in games and there are concerns that they will become aggressive in real life as well. In the context of repeated mass shootings in schools and public spaces, video games are often blamed as one of the main factors. However, more recent researches suggest an inconclusive link between real-life aggression and games. When two groups of gamers are asked to play violent and non-violent games each for two months, there are no meaningful changes in their level of aggression.  

Video games cause addiction

The World Health Organization included “Gaming disorder” in its International Classification of Diseases in 2018. Proponents argued that such inclusion will help sufferers of addiction greater access to assistance and treatments while preventing further consequences of video game addiction. However, addiction should be associated with constant engagement with something harmful, such as alcohol, gambling, tobacco, and drugs. On the other hand, games are digital and intangible objects, which are inherently harmless. Moreover, research does suggest that video game addiction does exist, but it’s fairly short-lived. Many gamers will reach a level of mental saturation and they will move away from or reduce their gaming activities.

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