Gaming Does Not Lead To Poor Social Skills

Not all gamers shy nerds

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People who play video games for long periods of time are not necessarily lonely nerds without social skills according to an Australian study.

The study by Victoria University psychology graduate Daniel Loton revealed that 15 percent of 621 adult respondents were flagged as "problem gamers" who spend more than 50 hours a week playing games.

Just one percent of "problem gamers" were found to have poor social skills, such as shyness, Loton said, going against the stereotype that video game players are likely to be lonely, geeky and addicted to gaming because they lack social skills.

"We also looked at whether problematic play is impelled by social difficulties, by using a multiple regression analysis to see if high scores on the social skills and self esteem scales could predict problematic playing scores," Loton said. "Our findings strongly suggest that gaming doesn’t cause social problems, and social problems are not driving people to gaming."

The study found that those who played Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as "World of Warcraft," which has more than 10 million paying subscribers, were more prone to problematic gaming. Even "problem gamers" did not show significant signs of poor social skills or low self-esteem.

Loton said,"I think it’s an evolution of social and cultural stereotypes that suggest only nerds and geeks play computer games. The reality is that nowadays everyone is playing video games. A 2007 report by Bond University found that in Australia online gaming is more popular than downloading music and Internet shopping."


Gaming Does Not Lead To Poor Social Skills
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  • http://www.premiernetclicks.com CSSteve

    This argument runs parallel to the argument that violent game playing does not make people violent. There is a dispute about the affects of game play and excessive game playing for a reason. That dispute exists because there is an affect. And, there are consequences.

    Whether we are talking about video games or anything else that we are exposed to, it does affect humans. This is especially true when you talk about doing anything excessively. Excessively is objective and it varies for situation and individual, but the definition requirements might be much lower than you think.

    A perfect example is the statistic that police officers and military veterans are more likely to have domestic violence problems. Another example is people who are isolated quickly start to not only lose social skills but their desire to have social interaction. This is relevant because video games can often introduce similar effects.

    Consider that fact that, many video games have people playing by themselves for extended periods of time. Then also consider the fact that many of the most popular games are highly violent. While we can rationally seperate games from reality, these repetitive activites, simulated stress and social isolation do have an effect.

    Studies prove that repetitive activities actually create a physiological change in the brain. Over time the changes actually create strong neural pathways that cause our brain to favor certain behaviors and create "default" reactions to certain input. These changes result in modified behavior. 

    So, the reality is, playing hours of video games per day absolutely does change the players behavior. It absolutely does increase the brains tendency to consider a violent response to stressful situation and absolutely does reduce the players social skills. In most cases this is extremely subtle. So much so, that it may go unnoticed and therefore deemed negligeable.

    Knowing these facts is important. Even if you are willing to make this trade to enjoy this type of reacreation, don’t let the desire to defend this favorite pass-time blind you to the facts.

    • Metaright

      That may be true to some, but you can control weather it influences you that much.

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  • http://www.google.ca tessa

    this helped me alot i needed that info alot lolz i didnt have a cule on what social skills had with video games

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