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Socialization Via Videogames

Summary:
When people argue that school is great for teaching socialization, I've often casually remarked, "Compared to what?  School is a lot better for socialization than staying home alone playing videogames, but that's a really low bar."  But EconLog reader Joe Munson interestingly argues that I'm underrating videogames.  Reprinted with his permission:Hey Bryan,As a long time reader of your blog, and fellow strange person, I really enjoyed your book, though I can't help but notice that you often say in interviews school might help socialization more than video games, but I must respectfully disagree, especially now with the new online cooperation intensive games. Overwatch and StarCraft 2 are the most

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When people argue that school is great for teaching socialization, I've often casually remarked, "Compared to what?  School is a lot better for socialization than staying home alone playing videogames, but that's a really low bar."  But EconLog reader Joe Munson interestingly argues that I'm underrating videogames.  Reprinted with his permission:


Hey Bryan,

As a long time reader of your blog, and fellow strange person, I really enjoyed your book, though I can't help but notice that you often say in interviews school might help socialization more than video games, but I must respectfully disagree, especially now with the new online cooperation intensive games. Overwatch and StarCraft 2 are the most prominent examples, but there are more. I've always thought video games were under-respected, and as someone who couldn't get off high school to attend video games tournaments, and was prevented (or at least unnecessarily hampered) from transitioning from semi-pro to pro player.  

I now happily sell various financial products for a fortune 500 company, and will soon be happily teaching English as a foreign language, but I'll always be a bit annoyed at the school system that prevented me from practicing for the job I really wanted: gaming.

Since these types of jobs are highly competitive and short-lived, I suppose its possible school saved me from disappointment, but it certainly didn't improve my social skills, as I communicated (via speaking and typing) more during my video game sessions than during school! 

I don't even recall one high school group project that didn't turn into the guy who cares most does all the work project. 



Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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