From casual games to extensive virtual worlds; games offer many young people entertainment and (dis)excitement.
Too much gaming can lead to addiction. But the greatest danger with normal gaming behavior is sitting down a lot. Almost all children and young people do not exercise enough, which has major consequences for their health.
What do you need to know as an educator?
The Advantages of Gaming
Playing is important for children’s development. This also applies to digital play. A video from the NRC shows that gaming can also make you smarter. This video explains the effect of gaming on your brain.
Digital play gives positive effects in the field of:
- Eye-hand coordination
- Working memory
- Problem solving ability
- Spatial insight
By playing games you can quickly learn new skills. For example, the U.S. Army uses games to psychologically prepare soldiers for stressful situations. Games can also help in the treatment of depression and anxiety complaints, according to research.
This Is What Science Says About The Influence Of Gaming:
It is often thought that gaming has a negative impact on the well-being of children and young people. But scientific research shows a more nuanced picture. As long as children do not play too much gaming – no more than 9 hours a week in total – the negative effects are limited and the positive effects play a greater role.
- Games such as Fortnite and Minecraft (shooting games, action games and open-world games) contribute to a better memory, analytical skills, creativity and problem-solving ability.
- Games in which you have to work together, such as World of Warcraft, provide better social skills and more social behavior.
- Playing active games, such as Wii Sports, increases physical activity. If these games are played for more than 90 minutes a week, it can even contribute to a healthy weight (BMI).
Bitescience advises to keep an eye on game time and to make agreements about this. However, it is important that parents and children make the agreements in consultation with each other. Research has shown that imposing rules without consultation can be counterproductive.
The Risks of Gaming
By far the most negative effect – with normal gaming behaviour – is sitting a lot. An inactive lifestyle is a danger that lurks lurking for almost all children and young people and has major consequences for their health.
Gaming can lead to behavioural problems, a less social life, poor sleep quality or, in the worst case, to game addiction. However, this only applies if more than 8 to 9 hours of gaming per week.
There is no scientific evidence that gaming can induce aggression. However, there are circumstances in which children are more inclined to react aggressively to games, these circumstances should be sought primarily in the home situation.
How Do You Recognize A Gaming Addiction?
Excessive gaming can involve risks such as addiction. Game addiction is a serious problem for which help should be sought from professional bodies. In 2014, figures from addiction clinics with a youth department showed that more and more young people report there to get rid of their addiction. These gamers are sometimes only 10, 11 or 12 years old. They are also more addicted than a few years ago.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has recognized gaming addiction as an official addiction in 2018. Typical characteristics of a gaming addiction are:
- A lack of control over how much your gamet
- Social conflicts through gaming
- Constantly thinking about gaming
- Non-gaming withdrawal symptoms
- Keeping on gaming, even if it has negative consequences
- A preference for gaming over other daily activities
Many popular games are free to play. The earnings model of these games is often based on the ability to make purchases while playing. For example, you can pay a small amount for extra points, external adjustments or a lot box. A loot box is a digital treasure chest with which you randomly receive extra items or upgrades. The Gaming Authority is concerned about lottery ticket boxes in children’s games because it exposes them to elements of gambling.
What is eSports?
eSports is online competitive gaming. Gamers compete against each other individually or as a team. Think of games like World of Warcraft and FIFA. Everyone can watch live via streams. The streaming of matches is mainly done via platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.
eSporters are professional gamers. The most important sources of income are playing tournaments, streaming matches and sponsoring. The game League of Legends is seen worldwide as a leading player in the eSport world.
Research from 2017 shows that 39 percent of the Dutch youth (14-35 years) is a fan of eSports. The popularity of eSports is an example of the changed relationship between people and technology. Streaming and telling about your own gameplay used not to be possible on such a large scale. In those days, gamers mainly communicated via headsets. With today’s technological possibilities eSports attracts hundreds of millions of gamers and spectators worldwide.
Live-streaming of Games
One of the bigger hypes in the field of gaming is the live streaming of games on the Internet. This happens mainly on the popular platform Twitch. The interaction between the viewer and the ‘streamer’ is the main reason why streaming games – in a relatively short period of time – has become so big. Viewers can talk to each other during the live broadcast and the ‘streamer’ can answer questions, for example.
On Twitch, it is customary to ask viewers to make a donation. In exchange for a donation, a viewer can, for example, request a song or show a message during the live broadcast.
One drawback of Twitch is that there is relatively more frequent use of coarse language or explicit images. This is because the broadcasts are live and moderation is slower as a result.
Serious Game about Media Literacy: Mediamasters
MediaMasters is an exciting serious game about the opportunities and dangers of (digital) media, especially for groups 7 and 8. By playing the game, students build up basic knowledge about media literacy. How do you deal with WhatsApp, privacy, cyber crime and fake news in a media-savvy way? Pupils face media-wise challenges together in class and at home and join their media-wise forces to accomplish MediaMissions.