There are many myths concerning video games and game playing that have many parents wondering just how safe it is for their children to be gaming enthusiasts. Over the years, many questions have been raised about video games, their design and their overall impact. Some of these myths are still being researched but many have been proven to be untrue. They are nothing more than mere speculation by those who are not considered “gaming friendly”.
One of the most popular myths concerning video games is that the market exists solely for children. This is completely untrue. There are many, many games on the market today that are designed for play by adults. Nearly 63 percent of the entire gaming console market and more than 65 percent of the computer video game market consist of players who are older than 18. The gaming industry in general does cater to adult players and there are a number of parents who are either not familiar with or simply ignore the ratings that are placed on games to protect children from playing something that is not appropriate for their specific age.
One-fourth of all children who are between eleven and sixteen years of age and who play games play M rated games which are designed for mature audiences. These games often contain language or situations that are not appropriate to be viewed by children yet parents tend to ignore these ratings and allow their children to play them anyway. Many gaming companies have taken the initiative to better inform parents of these ratings and why they are in place so that children are not playing games that are not designed for them.
Another myth involves gender of gamers. Many believe that it is the male gender that is most focused on the video game industry in general. In truth, there are actually a few more females than males that play video games online. Men still play more than women on gaming consoles but even those numbers have changed substantially over the past few years. Game developers began designing games in the early 1990’s that appealed more to the female population and today, many women prefer first person shooter games and online games like World of Warcraft.
Finally, many feel that video game playing can be socially isolating. This again, is simply not true. Studies have shown that more than half of all gamers who play frequently play with their friends. Xbox 360 and PlayStation consoles allow for gamers to connect with their friends and if they have the same games, they can play online together. Even systems that are not connected to the internet help to foster social interaction. Studies have also shown that nearly 40 percent of all gamers play with siblings and nearly 25 percent play with a spouse or parent. Games that are designed for play by just one person can also be socially engaging as many share the controller or offer advice to one another during play. Many games today are designed for multiple players and even if the gamer does not have friends playing online, they can still interact with other players by using headsets and other devices that are designed to further foster the social interaction of game play.