Esports and gaming as a hobby have been highly debated over the past few decades. We’ve all heard the phrase - too many video games will “rot our brains”. While there is too much of a good thing, there is also solid proof that esports existing as an after-school activity is beneficial for students’ wellbeing. As one of the most inclusive extracurriculars offered, schools would be putting students at a disadvantage by not bringing them together under a shared interest.
Extracurriculars are often a motivator when it comes to keeping grades up. In high school and throughout college, various clubs, sports, or teams will set GPA requirements that must be met in order to remain in good standing with the school, and in turn, the team. A 2018 Census shows how on average, 6% of students are more engaged academically if they are participating in an extracurricular activity. Those who are involved in esports have the ability to do something they love after a long day of school, all while having the intrinsic motivation to keep their grades up. This sets them up for success in the world after high school in terms of time management and knowing what to prioritize on a day-to-day basis, and gives them a reason to keep coming to class.
Social and Emotional Development
Esports, particularly multiplayer games, require a high level of teamwork, communication, and leadership ability in order for players to be successful in a match. By working together in a team, players can learn how to navigate complex situations and come out of it with a positive attitude and solutions that uplift everyone. Sportsmanship is another part of almost every esports league or event, where players learn to uphold a certain standard when communicating with each other and the rest of the competition. Similarly, many gamers report that gaming helps improve mental health across the board.
Similar to traditional sports, the opportunity to attend higher education institutions on scholarship is becoming increasingly prevalent when it comes to esports. Many colleges around the United States offer a wide range of scholarships for competitive titles like Rocket League, Valorant, and Overwatch to attract talent across the nation. Students are aided in attending higher education all while being a part of a team and doing something they enjoy.
Esports can also offer individuals an opportunity to connect with a future career that they may feel passionate about. According to PwC’s forecast, the gaming industry is projected to bring in 321 billion USD in 2026, demonstrating a consistently positive growth. Students who find that gaming is their passion through participating in extracurricular esports have a wide array of careers available to them, all the way from marketing to software engineering.
Connection with Peers
Lastly, esports is a fantastic opportunity for students to connect with others. Whether online or offline, after the events of the last two years, students are massively struggling to effectively communicate with each other, their teachers, and their family members. Likewise, after the pandemic students exhibited misbehavior in larger amounts, and learning life skills while participating on a team helps curb those negative side effects from two years of limited social interaction. Esports provides a great opportunity for students to get reconnected with those around them, build up those positive relationships, and collaborate on a common goal.