Do South African gamers hide how much they game from their loved ones?
According to new research coming from Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company: 33% of gamers in South Africa are ashamed of how much they game and hide it from their parents.
The gamers surveyed say they choose to hide their gaming habits because of the stigmas that still remain around gaming. As gamers, we’ve all heard the remarks: you’re rotting your brain, it is antisocial, violent and not good for you as you aren’t outside.” Kaspersky commissioned the research which interviewed 5031 respondents across 17 countries towards the end of 2020.
The research also noted that for many gamers, their parents did appreciate the positive aspects of their hobby but they weren’t able to engage with their folks about their passion. It makes sense. Many parents probably remember the arcades they frequented as youngsters but have likely not entered the world of FIFA on a Playstation or played online with a group of friends. More than half of the gamers questioned believe that if their parents “got” gaming, their relationship overall would be better.
The survey made me curious about my own community and if more than a third of them felt similar to the respondents interviewed. With more than 10 000 followers on my Facebook pageand another 10 000 on my Twitter account, I posed the question to both communities to see what the responses were like. I chose to expand the question to find out if gamers in South Africa hide the amount of time they spend gaming from not only their parents but also their significant others and friends.
Are you ashamed of how much time you spend gaming? Do you hide it from your parents/significant other/friends?
There were 57 direct responses to the tweet. The key take aways were that most of the community were not ashamed of how much time they spent gaming, but many had been in the past. As they grew older or found balance they were less ashamed and more accepting of their own hobby. However, when it came to the question about hiding it, many of the community mentioned they hid how many hours they spent gaming from either colleagues, parents or loved ones. Others argued that while they don’t “hide” their gaming time, they do choose not to share it because it is ultimately no one else’s business.
Twitter user “LadyXperiana” from Denmark, who is a streamer of two popular Blizzard games: Overwatch and World of Warcraft, said she was recently rejected for a second date because the man didn’t like that she played games in her spare time.
Friday question time! Are you ashamed of how many hours you spend gaming? Do you hide how much time you spend gaming…
The Facebook post had 51 comments. Once again the majority of the community were quick to point out they were not ashamed about the time they spent playing games. Many shared the amount of time they played weekly. A strong thread that ran through the Facebook comments was understanding the need for balance. For most, gaming is a hobby and a time for them to relax. They ensure their work and personal responsibilities are met before they switch on the console. Because of this, they don’t necessarily feel ashamed for spending THEIR free time doing what they want to do.
I find it really interesting, going back to LadyXperiana’s tweet, that someone would potentially choose not to pursue a relationship with a gamer. An individual who chooses to spend their spare time in front of a television for hours or at a shopping mall isn’t necessarily judged in the same way. I’ve seen numerous internet dating profiles where “shopping” and “drinking beer” were unashamedly listed as “hobbies”. My questions also raised a few counter discussions that gave me pause to think. A few individuals chose to direct message me as they wanted to remain anonymous. I read a few stories of proper gaming addictions which impacted work and family life. So I don’t want to dismiss the very real threat of addiction for some gamers.
I also received stories from young women who were ashamed of their gaming time only because of the negative response from OTHER gamers. One young woman explained how she felt embarrassed after being called out by a group of friends in a game. The “friends” pointed out that she had spent a considerable amount of time playing said game and they couldn’t understand why she was “so useless” at it. Alternatively they were excluded from online gaming groups because they didn’t dedicate ENOUGH time to a specific game.
The idea of hiding the time you spend on a hobby that you love seems somewhat ridiculous and I can only hope that as gaming becomes more “accepted” the stigmas and stereotypes fall away. The key takeaway from all the responses and the study I mentioned at the start of this article is that, during one of the strangest and most difficult times of our lives, gaming has been a constant support for many and helped them through the difficult time. Many of the community mentioned how gaming has kept them sane during the COVID pandemic, how it has been a lifeline to connect with other people and ultimately allowed them some joy in a time so fraught with stress and chaos.
I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of spending time doing something that allows you that happiness and gives you a respite from what is going on in the world.
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