Video Games are not Socially Isolating

Rachel Kowert, LINDA KAYE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Since their popularization, video games have developed a reputation for being anti-social spaces. However, this is somewhat contrary to the wealth of social opportunities and functions which contemporary gaming offers, as well as what much of the research in the area suggests. For example, gaming can involve players congregating in arcades, or with groups of friends in front of a TV-based console, or networked with others through the Internet (i.e., online gaming). Regardless of this, gaming is often conceptualised as being an activity enjoyed only by “social recluses” and, in turn, has been suggested to result in these individuals experiencing further social isolation through spending time gaming. The stereotypes of various gaming groups support these anecdotal claims. Arcade gamers and online gamers in particular have are perceived by many non-gamers as being socially inept, reclusive, and introverted (Kowert, Griffiths, & Oldmeadow, 2012; Kowert & Oldmeadow, 2012). This chapter will outline the key claims and draw on research findings from the academic literature, in order to debunk much of these anecdotal and old-fashioned conceptualisations of what gaming is and who gamers are. First, we outline the various ways in which gaming can be experienced socially, to present a context for the subsequent discussions. What is important to note in any discussion pertaining to video game experiences or effects, is that these differ considerably as a result of type of game or context of play. As such, conclusions surrounding what these social effects of games may only be addressed through exploring how these are relevant for particular types of games and the social context in which they are being played. Our discussion offers a degree of specificity in this regard.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVideo Game Influences on Aggression, Cognition, and Attention
EditorsChristopher Ferguson
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-95495-0
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018


  • Video Games
  • Psychology
  • Social Isolation


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