KIDS will be pleased to know, with Christmas around the corner, that there’s more than just fun to online gaming.
A study by Edith Cowan University Associate Professor Mark McMahon (right) has found social and educational benefits too. His evidence refutes the popular view of online gaming as anti-social.
With games becoming more interactive ‘gamers’ often complete objectives as a team. These environments are what the research has found assists with building social skills as players talk with one another and learn to work as a team.
“They’re often strategising, managing complex tasks and forming and managing teams,” Mr McMahon says.
With society now well connected to technology, gamers online can be socialising in another dimension, with people from different countries, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
“A strong reason young adults play games isn’t for escapism but for social interaction.” Mr McMahon says.
He has researched the gaming world’s effects and come up with social and educational benefits. It seems children aren’t wholly to blame for the dominance of playing online either as adults make up 76 per cent of gamers.
The added bonus of Mr McMahon’s study are the educational benefits of games designed to train and educate people in fields like the military, education and public health. In one example “doctors and nurses” communicate in a virtual surgery game. They talk to one another through the game as they would in surgery, going through the steps which build similar emotion and pressure that a text book would fail to convey.
“A chaotic virtual world can recreate some of that stress,” Mr McMahon explains.
He says the negative side of the gaming world has been over-emphasised, but a lot of it has to do with generational misunderstanding: It wasn’t so long ago that Elvis Presley was denounced for bringing “devil music” to our living rooms, and leading young girls astray with his swivelling hips.
by PHILIPPA BOURKE