Professor Dr. Kathy Sanford at the University of Victoria in British Columbia has spent the last five years conducting a research study on kids between the ages of thirteen and seventeen for more insight into their behavior in relation to video games; her determination? Gamers, in an overall sense, make good and active citizens.

In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, Sanford detailed her findings, saying that the kids surveyed seemed very concerned with their ethical and moral implications of their decisions in video games and as whole, video games compels players to think through strategizing and problem-solving skills that are then carried over into learning and/or the workforce.

“What we found was that what they were learning was a whole lot deeper and more profound than we had imagined, or that you can see from watching them. They are doing a lot of problem solving and strategizing. They are learning collaboration and leadership skills.

But the most profound thing that got me really thinking about their civic engagement is that they are actively making ethical and moral decisions all the time. They are trying out roles through the characters in the stories. If they act badly, if they choose to be evil, they see the significant results of each of the decisions they make.”

Sanford also commented on the forever controversial shooter, confirming what fans of the genre have always said. “Those games are much more than just running around and shooting people. Players have to do a lot of problem-solving and strategizing in order to advance in the game. They have to negotiate with team-members and understand strengths and weaknesses and working with others. Players report a lot more happening than randomly going around shooting people.”

In response to possible parent concerns that their children would be better off playing in the real world rather than a virtual one, Sanford recognizes that it’s natural for parents to want their kids to connect to nature,“…balance is critical. People criticize gaming because it is sedentary. But we wouldn’t be upset if those kids were reading a book.”

Sanford may not explore the virtual world herself, ironically, but she certainly is a great voice for all gamers!

Source(s): Pixel Enemy and The Globe and Mail

About The Author

Nikki P
News Editor/Community Assistant

I'm Nikki and I like video games.