Video Game Addicts Not Shy Nerds

Reuters reports playing video games for hours on end may be bad for your health, but, according to an Australian study, it doesn’t mean you are a lonely nerd and won’t damage your social skills.

The study, by Australian psychology graduate Daniel Loton, found that 15 percent of 621 adult respondents to an online survey were identified as “problem gamers” who spend more than 50 hours a week playing games.

But only one percent of those gamers appeared to have poor social skills, specifically shyness, Loton said, contradicting the stereotype that video game fans tend to be lonely, geeky, and addicted to gaming because they are unable to socialize.

“Our findings strongly suggest that gaming doesn’t cause social problems, and social problems are not driving people to gaming,” Loton, from Victoria University, told Reuters.

“What is important to note is that even problem gamers did not exhibit significant signs of poor social skills or low self-esteem.”

Loton said the characteristics that might define a problem gamer include an intrusive preoccupation with gaming — where the amount of time spent playing is affecting work, sleep, and close relationships — and an inability to stop playing. Reuters has more