Gaming Does Not Lead To Poor Social Skills

    June 12, 2008

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."