Socialization Via Videogames
By Bryan Caplan
When people argue that school is great for teaching socialization, I’ve often casually remarked, “Compared to what? School is a lot better for socialization than staying home alone playing videogames, but that’s a really low bar.” But EconLog reader Joe Munson interestingly argues that I’m underrating videogames. Reprinted with his permission:
As a long time reader of your blog, and fellow strange person, I really enjoyed your book, though I can’t help but notice that you often say in interviews school might help socialization more than video games, but I must respectfully disagree, especially now with the new online cooperation intensive games. Overwatch and StarCraft 2 are the most prominent examples, but there are more. I’ve always thought video games were under-respected, and as someone who couldn’t get off high school to attend video games tournaments, and was prevented (or at least unnecessarily hampered) from transitioning from semi-pro to pro player.
I now happily sell various financial products for a fortune 500 company, and will soon be happily teaching English as a foreign language, but I’ll always be a bit annoyed at the school system that prevented me from practicing for the job I really wanted: gaming.
Since these types of jobs are highly competitive and short-lived, I suppose its possible school saved me from disappointment, but it certainly didn’t improve my social skills, as I communicated (via speaking and typing) more during my video game sessions than during school!
I don’t even recall one high school group project that didn’t turn into the guy who cares most does all the work project.