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Online gamers need to think twice before labelling the hobby a ‘waste of time’

Another day, another critic of online gaming. This time, it is one of the most well known faces, or voices, in popular culture today. Joe Rogan, host of the third most popular podcast in the world called The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), recently called video games a “waste of time.” Instead of gaming, Rogan advocates for one to learn a sport such as jiu jitsu, win competitions and then become a coach by teaching other students and make a nice living for one’s self.

This is a dangerous message to be spreading. Especially when on YouTube alone, Rogan has more than nine million subscribers, and his podcast has over 190 million monthly downloads. The JRE podcast is so popular, that Spotify will be paying Rogan $100 million dollars over a multi-year contract to move his podcast exclusively to their platform.

As an online gaming scholar, I have already discussed the growing popularity of the gaming industry, and the possible avenues for success if one seriously wishes to pursue gaming as an occupation. In addition, I have touched on the social aspects of gaming and the importance of staying connected in an increasingly online world. As an avid gamer and researcher, I feel the need to make a statement to anyone who discourages a gamer in their life: gaming is not a waste of time.

When new forms of media are introduced, there is initial distrust out of concern that the new medium might be displacing a more ‘constructive’ activity. Activities like jiu jitsu, as Rogan argued. And he’s not the only one stoking fears about gaming. U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that video games are connected to violence, however, research does not seem to support that claim.

The World Health Organization has also classified gaming disorder as a behavioural addiction. While research has shown this is a more prevalent issue, we must remember the old expression: everything in moderation. Rogan himself has personally struggled with Emperor123 video game addiction. While game addiction might only be seen in small populations, it is important to note the negative possibilities involved with online gaming.

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