Health professional says gaming builds social skills

National News

OMAHA, Neb. —People play games on their phones, at work and at home. Gaming has become an intricate part of people’s lives. Health professionals are saying gaming can have social benefits.

“I think there’s really not any research that supports the negative myth that are out there about video games,” licensed independent health professional Beau Carlson said.

There are stereotypes about gaming everywhere. Gamers are portrayed as violent people playing in a dark basement. Gaming is considered isolating and addictive. At Legendary Wolf Games, you won’t find that.

“We sort of, I guess the word, it ‘gamified’ lots of different things,” Carlson said. “So whether we’re at work wearing a Fitbit and counting those points to earn things from our employer, or we’re playing some sort of Zombie Run game, where we are using that to spur our own physical fitness.”

In his work, he said gaming has really taken over people’s lives and that’s not always a bad thing. It actually can help people come out of their shell.

“Kids who play video games have developed social skills in some ways. They’re better at relating to strangers, talking to just about anybody and using the game platform as a buffer,” Carlson said.

“I was very reserved. I didn’t have a whole lot of friends in high school, so being able to come out here and meet other people has helped me become more engaged in the community,” Christopher McKinney said.

Legendary Wolf Games owner Myles Tyler made his store to reflect what he said gaming is.

“I do want to use this place to expel some pretty common misconceptions about people who love card games and gaming as a general,” Tyler said.

The gaming store, located in Oakview Mall, breaks the mold on gaming. It is no longer in a basement, tucked away. It is at the forefront, and it keeps evolving. Carlson said it’s time for people to jump on board.

“Sometimes we need to be a little more willing to look into these things and see for ourselves what they are actually about,” Carlson said.

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