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Meet The Gamer: What Makes Games Social?

Photo of the console 128 bits Nintendo GameCube.

Image via Wikipedia

As our editing team are applying the finishing touches to our project documentary I thought I’d write a blog about why games are social. I’ll take you back to an article written in August 2010, that includes various reports from scientists which state that Video Games improve social skills. It was reported on one website in particular http://www.worldtech24.com, the article stated that:

‘Scientists have found that children who spend hours playing online games may be developing friendships and nurturing vital social skills, a news report said Tuesday.Rather than causing them harm, playing computer games can help boost the self-esteem of shy youngsters and increase their satisfaction with life, the South China Morning Post reported.The benefits of online games were similar to those of making friends in the real world, the researchers from the Chinese University in Hong Kong concluded.More than 600 primary school children were interviewed for the study, which found they spent an average of 67 minutes a day playing online games and 44 minutes using hand-held game consoles.’

For the full article click this link: http://www.worldtech24.com/business/video-games-help-shy-kids-build-social-skills

The one thing that was highlighted in particular in this article was that gaming helps shy children and boosts self esteem. People have always imagined a person with a hobby like gaming to not go out and socialise but in most cases it actually helps them to socialise and make more friends. Especially now with online gaming expanding more and more every year you find friends who don’t necessarily want to go out, but can keep socialising whilst online, so even when they are gaming they are not losing touch with their friends.

Another positive social aspect of gaming was reported on http://www.msnbc.msn.com; games can actually help people with Aspergers disease. Here is a brief description of a particular game that helps people suffering from a form of autism:

Brigadoon” is a real-world experiment in social skills made virtual, a private enclave limited to a select mixture of caregivers and individuals with Asperger Syndrome, a higher functioning form of autism. The inhabitants, or “Dooners” as they call themselves, enjoy the same privileges as those in the more public arenas of “Second Life.” They are free to create their own digital representations of themselves, called “avatars,” build virtual houses and seek out friends. And, most importantly, they are free to create a “second life” with a level of social interaction that, for reasons of their condition, has been hard to come by in their real lives
Talk of video gaming can set off feelings of unease among parents — no one wants a kid to be glued to a screen for hours on end. But the stakes for children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders — who have difficulties with social interaction — tend to be higher.”

For the full article click here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7012645/ns/health-mental_health/

This shows gaming can also ease a mental condition in a socially interactive game. So should there be more projects like ours that try and show a positive outcome from gaming?  Do you think that gaming should be promoting campaigns when it comes to the social side? The Xbox360 campaigns and Nintendo wii and also PS3 do promote the social side of gaming in adverts, with the recently new releases of motion sensor gaming from Xbox 360 and PS3 the social skills in gaming will increase. The army in the USA are already using shooting games to increase hand-eye co-ordination skills and reactions.

Let us know what you think.

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