Student life has changed dramatically this year due to the COVID19 pandemic. For some students, video gaming has been a positive in helping to stay constantly connected to friends. It’s no surprise that 79% of university students have gamed during their studies; from Fallout to FIFA to Animal Crossing, there are games out there for everyone.
Oliver Barsby is an avid gamer and student at the University of Warwick. Oliver told me he’s gaming more in his final year of university than in prior years. As he returned to university during the second wave of coronavirus, the time is spending gaming has increased due to the lack of other options to socialise, an influx in great videogame titles this year and because he used the virtual world to keep his friendships alive over summer. Like nearly half of student gamers who play to relieve stress, video gaming has had a positive impact on his relationships and stress levels throughout the pandemic.
However, it is vital to understand the potentials risks of gaming-related harm, and this is where the Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is here to help. By talking to students before the pandemic, YGAM found that 20% felt gaming had a negative impact on their feeling of social isolation, and that 28% of daily gamers found their academic performance had suffered for the sake of ‘quality’ gaming time. These negative impacts constitute what is called ‘gaming-related harm’, and it is at the core of YGAM’s mission to supports students to enjoy a university experience free from gaming-related harm. We are yet to know for sure how much the pandemic may have contributed to an increase in behaviours that constitute gaming-related harm.
To avoid gaming-related harm, it is important to establish healthy boundaries, understand the benefit of placing time limits on gaming sessions; to ensure you don’t accidentally exclude yourself from socialising with friends, and to be wary of gaming’s impact on your academic performance. You can learn more about how to manage your gaming habits and look out for friends at YGAM’s new Student Hub. Here, you can use our interactive surveys to test whether you’re an eSports expert, learn how to spot a gaming problem among your friends and find further advice on how to manage your relationship with online world.
Do you think you know which is the most popular genre of games played by students, or the most common device for gameplay at uni? Test your knowledge with YGAM’s gaming quizzes!
YGAM supports students to enjoy university free from gaming and gambling harms. Learn more and access its resources on students.ygam.org