The good, the bad and ugly side of gaming for children

Playstation 4

Playstation 4. The Kulture staff argue that virtual matches have helped promote friendship among children.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

GAMING, CHILDREN GANES, PUBG, FIFA, XBOX, PlayStation, The Kulture Gaming Shop,

Gaming as an industry is becoming a force to reckon with, my recent studies in Eastleigh, Nairobi, show.

I was attracted to blaring music at The Kulture Gaming Shop, a strategy that seems to be working, judging by the sheer number of children and young men thronging the arena.

I take advantage of the numbers and interact with some. I  soon realise how passionate they are about gaming. Many say gaming is more than a pastime. Children are no longer into hide-and-seek, football and other games of yore. They now engage in virtual games like PUBG, FIFA, XBOX, PlayStation and others.

These games were a preserve of youngsters from privileged families in the past but establishments like The Kulture have bridged that social gap.

Helped promote friendship

After a conversation with the manager of the establishment and other employees, I discover how people who run this business view it. While many Kenyans believe gaming should be banned as it is a form of gambling, The Kulture staff argue that virtual matches have helped promote friendship among children.

“When they come together to play, children form bonds that are not easily broken,” The Kulture Gaming Shop proprietor Dan Wesley said.

“Gaming has also helped reduce crimes and other social evils. While the games are addictive, wouldn’t you rather have a child addicted to them than drugs?” Games, he adds, boost the IQ of the players.

“For one to play, he or she needs to rack their brains. If not, they will keep losing,” Mr Wesley said.

The players earn points and money when they win. This is where many Kenyans have a problem with gaming.

I agree with them because these victories and losses have pushed some children into stealing from their parents, relatives or family friends. If the children fail to get the needed money, they trade their clothes and toys in order to pay their debts.

If unchecked, these become habits and could be the reason behind many irresponsible adults roaming our streets today.

Tracy Bonareri, 20, is a student at KCA University.

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