Our EOB Esports Academy programme chose gaming to be an avenue for reaching young people – we explain why in depth.

Yet research around the effects of gaming on young people continue to confuse. Our last post looked at two contradicting reports: gaming negatively impacted GCSE prospects, suggests this 2015 report; and another, written earlier this year, suggests gaming could help young people succeed at university.

So, we ask this: ‘what are the real effects of video games on young people?’

Effect of gaming on young people.

Let’s start by looking at the two reports above in depth.

The negatives

The research, which took place in Northern Ireland, claimed young students’ grades were negatively impacted by gaming. It involved more than 600 children aged 14 to 16 from 2012-14.

41% who played at least two times a day are more likely to achieve GCSE grades of A* – C, compared to 77% of those who gamed once a week.

Frequency is at play. Excessive gaming, especially in late hours, retracts hours spent on studying; and consequently, makes pupils less focused at school the following day. Hence the bad grades.

Most of the bad effects of video games are because of violent content.

Young people who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, and antisocial tendencies, according to a scientific study by Anderson & Bushman in 2001.

The positives

The report – a University of Glasgow trial – suggesting video games could help succeed at university found gaming improved communication skills, resourcefulness, and adaptability.

Lecturer Matthew Barr said many video games encouraged “critical thinking and reflective learning“, found students increased their employability skills, and believes this means video games could have “a role to play in higher education”.

Playing action video games can also make the brain better at quick decision making, and makes gamers better able to apply decision making in real-world situations.

Video games can also develop reading and maths skills, as gamers need to read to get instructions, follow storylines of games, and get information from the game texts; and, must be mathematically aware if managing resources are a feature in the game.

The verdict

It’s always difficult to conclude as this topic remains controversial, with both sides aiming to prove a point. Yet it’s important to find the valid points in both types of research.

This summary by Karen E. Dill’s research puts it perfectly. “Educators can take advantage of the positive learning characteristics of games with the use of well-designed software, but should also be aware of potential negative issues such as anti-social content and cyber addiction.”

WUWO Media has created a safe learning environment, with a popular strategic game. 6 students have already found full time work and the course will train and work with 52 young people by November 2017 to find similar results.