Video games. Once the pinnacle of geekdom, now played by anyone and everyone. Video game developers release the latest games with hype equivalent to summer blockbusters. (We’re looking at you, Fallout 4!) The biggest shift in perspective moves gamers from couch potatoes to purposeful. Gaming contributes to problem solving skills, pain management and improved hand/eye coordination. The anti-gaming arguments our parents made have been debunked. For example, “sitting too close to the TV” does not impair vision. Let’s discuss some of the other gamer myths and misconceptions.

Debunking Gamer Myths

Because games are used to train military personnel, children playing these games will learn those same techniques resulting desensitization and violence. This is one of those classic cases where we need to give people more credit. Yes, video games are used by the military as a training tool but these soldiers are actively learning these techniques. In real-world scenarios, gamers differentiate between reality and fantasy. Further, these games result in better problem solving for civilians and help returning veterans overcome PTSD.

Girls don’t play video games, and if they do they’re not playing “real” games. First, what the heck does this even mean? If not games, what do you think girls play? “Make me a sandwich 2000”? Secondly, yeah, video games have been marketed towards boys in the same way that commercials for dolls feature girls in pigtails. It is now 2015 and we are happy to see girls embracing their inner badass and boys embracing their nurturing side. We are whole people, people! Women and girls now make up close to half of video game consumers. Female characters in video games are also evolving. Even the often overly sexualized Lara Croft has sported cargo pants since 2013.

Video games are addicting. Maybe so, but only in the way that you can’t have just one potato chip. Most people have enough self control to not eat the whole bag. Part of being an adult means determining when to turn off the Xbox One and go outside. Binge watching Netflix is a societal norm, yet we don’t embrace the same attitude to binge gaming. Parents have every right to tell little Suzy to put the Skylanders away and go to bed just as they should tell her when to turn off the TV, come inside before getting sunburned or stop climbing the castle walls before she sees something verboten that results in a chain of events that brings civil war to all of Westoros. Moderation. It’s possible.

Video games aren’t ruining us any more than The Beatles turned our parents into sex-crazed hoodlums. We, like media, evolve. What is your favorite gamer myth to debunk?

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