The un-stereotype (#2)

     This year InterestEng. began a project working with students to un-stereotype stereotypes. Being aware of them, and then correcting them, shows students how subtly they work (always having some truth in them) and how they can be unmasked. Last month the piece our wonderful writer, Andrei (from Ukraine) wrote, was so well received that we asked him to look at another stereotype: that young people are wasting their lives playing computer games. 

Photo courtesy Unsplash!


GAMING [playing computer games] for most people over 40-years-old is considered an issue.  Simplistically, we assume that “All young people like to waste time playing computer games.”  That’s the stereotype. If we dig deeper into the origins of that stereotype we will discover some secrets.


     Computer gaming is now one of the most popular things to do. Did you know that gaming can be relaxing, as well as fun, and even sometimes a helpful thing to do? But, as everything else, it is good only when you know your limits. Gaming itself is not an issue to worry about, but the amount of time spent playing games is an issue. A lot of teens, it is true, are burying their futures while playing for hours every day. It can, unnoticeably, devour time previously dedicated to work, studying and family. Still, I believe that we can’t be sure that gaming negatively affects education or is a weakness. Our modern world is an emotionally hard place to live in for a species that evolved to live in small groups in caves. We can’t ignore the fact that almost all human evolution happened not because humans changed as a result of environmental conditions. They changed environmental conditions for themselves. 

Photo courtesy, Unsplash!


     From the very start of human life, “rewards” have driven progress. The first humans were required to do primitive things. That stimulated the brain and it secreted special chemicals that induced a pleasant feeling of completion and joy after the action was done. Some things (such as video games) can also stimulate your brain with a feeling of accomplishment. Games are made and maintained in a way that will cause maximum satisfaction (and so maximum addiction and sales for the owners of the game companies). Gaming can give a person a whole spectrum of emotions. As a result, computer gaming has proven to be one of the most addictive types of game play today.      
     Of course, there are a lot of young people who can control the desire to play constantly or just don’t like it at all. Today people have an enormous variety of interests and gaming is only one thing from a large pool of activities.       
     In general, youth who are less involved in gaming are more healthy, emotionally stable, loving, and active.  But on the other hand, playing in competitive games is a really hard thing to do and develops fast thinking, reaction time, interaction with other people and, in the end, can even lead to a gaming career. There are a lot of job places for people who play games well.     
     Most of the gamers are boys because gaming is associated with the feelings of power and victory, things that aren’t so all important to girls. For that reason, we can surely say that 50% of youth are not gamers!  (In fact, I believe the number is even less.)  Social factors, of course, play
a role in this as well. Young people are constantly discussing different entertaining things and often it is games. This stimulates the non-playing young people to want to do this as well, to have something in common with others.
     But when young people move into being adults, many of them outgrow this interest and dedicate themselves to doing something really valuable. They have acquired excellent skills from gaming and can use those in valuable professions.  —

               [Now watch a fun un-stereotyping the stereotype story!]

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: