I mean… they could be playing outside, learning math or a myriad of other productive activities… surely gaming is rotting their brain and filling it with nonsense. Okay maybe I’m going a little over the top there but we’re all on the same page right? Wrong.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) have been doing some research into the impact that video games have on the general population and the results might surprise you. It was conducted through Bond University and included over 3,000 people. The stats showed that over two-thirds of Australians play video games and that 91% of Australian households own a gaming device or console. The most surprising statistic? 42% of people over the age of 65 identify as gamers!
All of this is well and good but why should you let YOUR kids play these silly games? Well… Video games in 2019 aren’t the same as they were in the 90’s. The vast majority of games on the market and multi-player and often lead gamers toward regular socializing and friendship. The study is reporting that 67% of gamers surveyed said that their time behind the controller helped maintain social connections, with a whopping 74% convinced that gaming has a positive impact on their emotional well being.
The lead author of the report, Dr Jeff Brand has said that “Games are increasingly appreciated for their diverse applications – people play to educate and up skill themselves, to stay socially and emotionally connected, as a motivator to stay fit, and to reduce stress.” As a gamer myself, I can attest to that. A passion for gaming in my youth is what lead me to my field of study (Cyber Security) and ultimately ignited the spark for what (I hope to be) a prosperous future.
To defend my testimony, the study also reports that 61% of parents see video games as an effective teaching tool for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).
Games like Minecraft that allow the player to explore their imagination in a landscape shared by family and friends have been utilized for years in classrooms because of how incredibly powerful they can be from an educational standpoint.
Now it’s also very important that while we take these studies into account when allocating screen time, we can’t ignore that gaming in excess can have serious negative impacts on ones life. It was only last year that we reported to you the World Health Organization (WHO) were in discussions about classifying gaming addiction as a medical condition.
At the end of the day, everything in moderation. The statistics will tell you that kids play for roughly 100 minutes a day, working age adults a solid 83 minutes a day and retirement age adults for 59 minutes a day… but only you know where to draw the line between comfortable de-stress and excessive use.