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MYTH BUSTED: “eSports Harms Students’ Studies”

Blog written by Kailynn Janaski

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The rise and development of eSports has become widely known, bringing a whole new perspective to the gaming and sports worlds. As it becomes more present, more attention is being brought to how it can affect the lives of those involved.

While a familiar misconception revolving around video games insinuates that they do more harm than good, the truth is actually the opposite: eSports has a positive effect on students. MYTH BUSTED. 

An argument that often arises regarding video games is whether they negatively impact students’ academic performance. Given that a large percentage of gamers are in the learning age bracket, it’s reasonable to ask what effect video games might be having.

eSports isn’t just about a person playing video games. It involves teamwork, dedication, practice time, and many other important life skills. Implementation of eSports teams, clubs, and programs create opportunities for students to find a sense of community. Having after-school activities to partake in can help students stay out of trouble and focus on important tasks at hand. Developing a new club or activity for students to partake in allows those who previously had nowhere to go after school, an opportunity to feel included.

Other factors, such as focus and better attendance, come along with the introduction of eSports. The Varsity eSports Foundation (a non-profit organization established to offer financial assistance to schools and to provide a pipeline for students to reach their potential through esports) conducted this survey to find out if participating in eSports clubs affected students’ attendance, grades, and sense of belonging.

The survey found that attendance numbers climbed 10% and 77.5% found a sense of belonging resulting from their eSports program. With better attendance and a positive school environment, students are more willing to be involved with their day.

A rise in grades is another positive influence of eSports being introduced. Varsity eSports Foundation found that student grades showed an increasing trend in grades after joining an eSport team. Not only did the “A” average percentage increase from 57.5% to 62.5% but there were zero answers to a “D” average GPA, as compared to 2.5% of respondents before joining. By introducing eSports to students, both academic and social skills have improved.

The importance of eSports not only focuses on grade point averages, but it can also lead to career development and introduce interest in students who would not have typically had an interest in higher education. By bringing in another form of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), students have exposure to new career fields. Graphic design, coding, and engineering are only a few of the elements that video games include.

This article by sporttechie quotes the director of collegiate eSports for Riot Games (an American video game developer, publisher, and esports tournament organizer) citing his statement that over “62% of their participants are from STEM majors.”

With eSports, students are able to see different parts of a game that could open a door for potential career paths. Students who become interested in the development of video games can now attend higher forms of education to support this role. Finding a niche and being able to turn that into a career is what most people dream of. Many eSports majors are able to mix their education, career, and hobbies all into one. By having a well-nurtured environment, students are more likely to succeed.

By participating in eSports, students can also experience mental health benefits. While typical video games are played individually or only interact with friends via chatting, eSports allows its players to form interpersonal relationships. This article written by Colleen O’Donnell says that being on a team improves depression, and can even reduce stress, improve memory, and support critical thinking. Forming relationships or a community can help individuals feel as if they belong.

With improved grades, being part of a community, and providing confidence in a career, it is no surprise that eSports sets students up for success. Colleen O’Donnell writes in her article that many schools have even begun offering scholarships and full tuition assistance to those involved with eSports.

Something that was once done for pure recreational enjoyment is now able to help students reach new heights by funding their education. It goes without saying that eSports doesn’t harm students’ studies, but in fact helps students’ studies and allows room for improvement within individuals.


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References


MYTH-BUSTING | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Cambridge Dictionary | English Dictionary, Translations & Thesaurus. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/myth-busting


O’Donnell, C. (2022, April 21). Benefits of Esports for Students & Schools Alike | IFS Leasing. Insight Financial Services. https://www.ifsleasing.com/blog/benefits-of-esports-for-students-schools/


Survey: Does Participation in Esports Clubs Improve School Attendance, Grades, and Belonging? — Varsity Esports Foundation – VEF. (2021, March 11). Varsity Esports Foundation – VEF; Varsity Esports Foundation – VEF. https://www.varsityesportsfoundation.org/blog-list/survey-participation-esports-clubs#:~:text=Likewise%2C%20students%20found%20their%20GPA,after%20joining%20an%20esports%20team


The Overlap Between STEM Education and Esports. (n.d.). SportTechie | Sports Technology News; Sporttechie. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://www.sporttechie.com/stem-esports-league-of-legends-columbia-college-oregon-syracuse/

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