Are video games doing more harm than good?

There is something amazing about being a Gamer. Something that can be explained from a million different points of view yet never fully understood. Just like sports fans, there is more to it for them than just a love for the game. They have a favorite team, a favorite player and position on the field just as Gamers have their prefered console and genre. You can often hear two rival sports fans argue over which team is better and generally wouldn't think much of it but, if two people are arguing over which feature is better in a title someone will often say its just a game and proceed to treat the subject as immature or pointless. The fact is these debates between Gamer’s are no more pointless than any other because we are discussing our personal opinions and it’s only natural to defend our thoughts. So why is it these conversations are overlooked but when the word video game drops they suddenly grab some negative attention? Maybe its fear? It is said that people fear what they don’t understand and technology has certainly scared its share of people as the times change.

Most people that frown on gamers only do so because of what they have perceived from the media or word of mouth. They don't take the time to learn about what it is they seem to dislike but they tend to speak as if they have diplomas from a college that only focuses on negative speculation. My choice of words may seem harsh but understand where I am coming from. Gamers will never be put through the persecution of racism or have to go to war to fight for the Gaming community because it just doesn't weigh heavy enough on the scale but it is still attacked by the same type of thinking that has oppressed others for different reasons since the dawn of man. In no way am I saying that being a Gamer has the same trials and tribulations as people that are judged for the color of their skin or their sexual orientation but I am saying that the negative focus points on gaming are a milder form of that ignorance.

That being said, Gaming can offer a way to change that type of thinking because color, religion, creed, none of that really matters in the gaming community. Granted we do hear racial or harassing slurs but most of us just chalk it up to ignorance and go on about our day. The industry is made up of hundreds of millions of people from all different corners of the globe and that connection is a powerful force. We are no longer restricted to a corded player two but have access to what seems to be an infinite list of awesome people we haven't even had the pleasure of meeting yet. If a young person growing up in an area that is secluded and very set in their ways with stereotypical thinking, gaming has a way to introduce said person to another they would have never met under any other circumstance. In some of these cases, the players may very well form a bond and become friends quickly. Learning of each others backgrounds, exposing themselves to another person's culture and points of view. Suddenly, perception is altered and a step toward a better world begins.

Gaming is a doorway that allows you to leave everything you know behind and experience the things you don’t. Its a powerful learning tool that not only improves eye hand coordination or quicker response times, it connects cultures. I know I’m skipping over the main purpose of video games which is ultimately to provide entertainment but as I’ve said many times before, Gamer’s think outside of the box. I’m not only trying to educate outsiders of all the great that can come from this industry but trying to reach Gamer’s that may not realize their worth. I may come across as a dreamer when I say I believe we can use video games for a greater good in the world but if I manage to open the mind of just one person then I have proven those thoughts to be true.

There are thousands if not millions of Gamers that are live streaming and creating videos on YouTube to raise money and awareness for charities, hospitals and schools to name a few. They are putting themselves out there and making a difference in peoples lives everyday and many of the people affected don’t even realize where some of the help is coming from. This isn’t about recognition or credit though, it's about awareness. Raising awareness for those who only see gaming as something to do and to help make those aware that as Gamer’s, you are so much more.
Every single person in the world can choose to make a difference no matter how small the gesture may seem. The world is made up of all kinds of different people but I believe the majority all want the same thing and thats to see a little more good being done around all of us. Like I said in the very beginning, there is something amazing about being a Gamer. This is only a small example of the good in gaming and I hope I have managed to offer a better perception on Gaming or at the very least inspired someone else to try and do the same. Video games really aren’t harmful, if anything they are making the world a better place simply by connecting us.

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