The debate about the significance and the effects of computer games is multi-layered. The German Cultural Council (Deutscher Kulturrat) has acknowledged computer games as cultural artefacts, and more and more cities and regions appreciate the games industry as an economic location factor. Aspects of games that support the acquisiton of competencies and benefit health are being used as sales arguments, whereas parts of the political and medial debate are still marked by fundamentally assumptions about negative effects. Added to that are reports from practitioners in addiction counselling, which document an increasing number of clients who have lost control over their gameplaying and need therapeutic support.
In the public context, those perspectives clash and remain mostly as parallel concerns without any interconnection. This provokes insecurity in many parents and pedagogues, while players passionately defend their hobby and feel misunderstood. In addition, research findings are as heterogeneous as the games themselves, as is shown very impressively by the debate about so-called violent video games (“Killerspiele”).
A particular difficulty here is the underlying, general assumption that computer games are potentially significant hazards without considering individual mental preconditions, social parameters and the characteristics and functions of game offerings for the individual.
Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
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