It seems like every generation of video games has some sort of moral panic surrounding it. From Mortal Kombat to Hot Coffee, gaming is never safe from the moral guardians.
Well, it might be time for those guardians to relax a bit. Data seem to suggest that spending more time gaming is stopping teens from drinking, smoking and having sex.
Now if video games could go and make them less boring too we’d all be happy. (That was a joke.)
The original data come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), though the chart above comes to us straight from Reddit via Andrew Chen on Twitter. The chart illustrates a massive reduction in teen drinking and drug use around the time when extensive gaming became common.
It’s interesting to note that 2009 was also the time that Minecraft came out. This may suggest that virtual building, farming and mining is more fun than getting hammered on drugs and alcohol – at least for teenagers.
Whether this means that video games are the new counter-culture, or if they’ve killed teenage rebellion altogether, is unclear. Either way, it seems that parents should probably start to take a more relaxed attitude to their teens playing a lot of games. Unless they’re watching Ninja, obviously.
There’s always the chance that these data doesn’t mean that video games are actually helping. It’s possible that other factors are having an effect, or that teens are just figuring out that lying is easier than admitting to drug use and drinking.
It would be just as easy to suggest that watching less TV has reduced negative behaviors in adolescents. To many, this argument doesn’t hold a lot of water. It would nice to see other studies done on this matter so that the results are taken more seriously.
Either way, it’s nice to have something to rebut moral outrage with. Let’s just hope that no one figures out how to spin this back into a negative again.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
Last modified: February 27, 2020 7:57 AM UTC