Video games have been around for a long time and they are bigger than ever. With the popularity in esports, streaming, and social media, gaming is a new market in the economy.
In 2011, psychologist Philip Zimbardo led the case that excessive gaming is bad for social interaction and can be used as a form of escapism. Kids lose interest in sports, music and academics to focus on gaming. While some are successful, many are pitted into this extreme 14- hour day of video games, building up bad habits and unnatural expectations on life.
In the study, Zimabardo exclaims that young boys are failing academically, socially, and sexually. I do agree with his reseach that many young men today suffer from the failure of social interaction, unable to talk to the opposite sex, or unable to properly communicate with society in a normative manner. With a mixture of excessive gaming, lack of parental guidance, many gamers isolate themselves into this other world to escape the reality of life. They immerse themselves with other gamers like them and see the world in this bubble. They become adept into their confirmation bias, cultivating their own normative behavior, communication style, and shared ideology. I think there are so many young male gamers that are influential and go into these online communities that praise bad behavior. Examples of these communities are twitch communities, discord groups, or gaming clans.
Many highschool students also become academically challenged, being unable to do school work, or study because of this very issue. Gaming is very accessible, with the availability of games on your computer or phones. It has become a go-to hobby for many young people, especially now during the pandemic. Students stressed with academics, sports or responsibilities can easily stop everything and just play video games.
Gary Vaynerchuk once said that it’s so easy for kids today to go pro in video games because they can put as many hours in as they want to, in comparison to their team-oriented, field-played sport counterpart. With proper practice in fundamentals, game knowledge and research creativity the possibility of someone going pro in gaming is slightly easier. Although, kids aren’t coaches, kids play games to play games. Some become good players, some go pro but a lot of them are just there to entertain themselves.
Today, Twitch.tv is a live streaming platform for many of these professional gamers to showcase their personalities, gaming skills, and game in an excess level. A few of these professionals make more money than the average median house-hold, which is very attractive to the younger generation. Kids in gaming dream to achieve this very job, spending countless hours dedicating their life trying to achieve this job as a gamer. Again, while some become very successful and very rich, many just can’t cut it or aren’t skilled enough. So with the social media influence and streaming, spending more time gaming is even more dangerous.
Lastly, I think there are so many young males within this subject of gaming, that lack the social interaction to be able to talk to girls and they have this screwed up perception of the opposite sex. The gaming industry is predominantly male, professional players, News Casters, Coaches, Streamers. CEO’s, Clans, even a lot of the characters in these games are male leads, so developers of these games have little to no understanding of female representation. While this has slightly changed with newer games, this still happens and without a male figure, a young impressionable male becomes influenced by these games that give an unrealistic expectation of women. Not to mention the behavior of sexist and homophobic tendancies, with anonymous slurs in online chat rooms.
In Zimbardo’s survey, “I think the on-demand pleasure, gratification, control and stress release of pornography and video games reduces our patience, makes us hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations and cripples us socially,” one high-school boy said.
This is a real problem, instant gratification, accessible escapism, and unrealistic expectations of women is a huge problem with young men who use video games in excess.