Some people see gaming as an unproductive pastime. But the growing phenomenon is proving to be an undeniable force that can lead to careers in professional gaming, coding, and game development.
With most, if not all, young people gaming these days, it begs the question: are we nurturing youth in the way we should be when it comes to gaming?
This question was at the centre of a workshop recently hosted at the University of Waikato called ‘One Workshop. All Play’.
Presented by Riot Games, creator of global gaming hit League of Legends (LoL), the workshop was part of their initiative Learn with League – the world’s first gaming resource based on clinical research around gaming and wellbeing.
Targeted towards parents and educators, these workshops offer insight for those who have, or work with, kids whose passion is ‘all things gaming’.
Ivan Davies, who heads Community & Social Play for Riot Games, says that when it comes to gaming, absence of the right support can leave parents questioning their kids’ online activities.
“Most young people in the western world choose not to share their online experiences and challenges with their parents. But if the young person doesn’t feel supported, why would they choose to tell parents?” he says.
“When kids experience gaming in the traditional sense, like rugby or soccer, there’s usually support from a parent in some form. But when it comes to online play, we are currently not providing the kind of support the young person needs.”
“When we connect with the young person, we create opportunities to look at the holistic playing experience and find ways to authentically support the health, development and wellbeing of the person playing. This type of approach allows us to best support and promote life."
Riot Games have recently partnered with the university’s OMEN Esports Arena – a dedicated space that’s available for gaming enthusiasts and competitors on campus.
Mike Calvert, Director of Student Services at Waikato University, says since esports is a fast growing, global phenomenon, it makes sense strategically for the University to move into that space.
“We want to be able to give our students, who are likely to be engaging in esports anyway, an opportunity to be part of this in a socially inclusive environment, where they can participate with like-minded people and, eventually, segue into future opportunities in esports.”