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Opinion Editorials

Study says video games are to blame for unemployment. Err, no.

(EDITORIAL) A new study suggests that video games are responsible for unemployment. Buckle up—this one’s gonna be rough.

video games

Same argument, different day

In the latest argument against correlation equating to causation, an early study suggests that video games are responsible for unemployment among men.

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While the study itself has already been questioned, the destructive stigma against video games —and the accompanying diffusion of responsibility—remains.

Here We Go

Let’s formally address the elephant in the room: Are video games keeping you unemployed?

No.

Extreme cases of hedonism aside, it seems downright dismissive to assume that the correlation between unemployment and entertainment consumption on any level implies causation.

The opposite makes sense—people who have more time in the day may play video games more than working counterparts—but this typically holds true for even the most diligent of job hunters.

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The news that unemployment is the latest entry in the long list of things for which video games are obviously responsible—a list that includes shootings, global warming, your kid’s flat feet, and the extinction of unicorns—doesn’t surprise me.

Blaming video games for unemployment is like me blaming my bed for making me late to work.

We’ve proven thus far that logic has no place in an argument where the subject of video games is present.

Credit and Accountability Where They’re Due

If you blame video games or television for unemployment, you’re simultaneously perpetuating a culture of ignorance (see also: people who get mad at poor people for having nice things) and facilitating immunity to responsibility.

You’re either assuming the unemployed people in question can find employment (maybe they can’t), or you’re implying that they’re too immature to motivate themselves.

Both are incredibly harmful notions to have.

When you assume the worst of someone who’s doing their best, you demoralize them, and when you blame someone’s perfectly rectifiable behavior on a strawman fallacy, you invalidate their ability to change.

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This isn’t just about video games—it’s about an incredibly toxic attitude toward both hard work and apathy alike.

Video Games and Productivity Can Coincide

Also floating around is this idea that having a productive work life and maintaining an active presence in the virtual world are diametrically opposed practices. I don’t mean to brag (I do), but I’ve managed to accomplish a solid chunk of the more than 1000 hours I have in Dark Souls over the past few months.

Coincidentally, it has also been a time during which I’ve consistently worked a minimum of 50 hours per week and still found time to be a tad more than a poor excuse for a human being.

Video games comprise a perfectly valid means of blowing off steam after any day, whether you’re employed or profoundly not.

Easing the waiting game

We’ve talked about rejecting hustle glorification and how important it is to take a breather once in awhile. For many, that breather comes in the form of a video game. One might even argue that (believe it or not) those who are unemployed have more time in the day to play, simply because you can only apply to so many job postings before you have to play the waiting game.

That waiting game is a lot easier to tolerate when it’s interspersed with loading screens.

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#VideoGames4Ever

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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