56 percent of Canadians say video games are a ‘bad influence’ on youth: study

One-third of Canadian gamers also say they've been insulted while playing online

An image of a white Xbox One controller

The majority of Canadians are concerned with the effect that video games can have on people, particularly those who are younger, according to new research from Mintel’s ‘Attitudes Toward Gaming’ report.

The market research firm found that 89 percent of Canadians agree that video games can be addictive, while 56 percent of respondents said playing games has a bad influence on young people’s behavior.

Further, Mintel found that 34 percent of Canadian video game players say they’ve been insulted while playing online, which rises to a “shocking” 71 percent of male users between the ages of 18 and 24.

Additionally, Mintel says 65 of all Canadians play video games, with men aged 18-34 making up a “remarkable” 96 percent of this demographic. Meanwhile, 80 percent of women in this same age category are also playing video games.

Competitive gaming also proved to be popular, with 22 percent of Canadians saying they think esports are “just as important” as traditional sporting events.

“Gaming overall is in a better market position than it ever has been, establishing itself as a mainstream entertainment industry and no longer a niche product,” said Scott Stewart, senior technology and media analyst at Mintel, in a press statement.

“However, despite this growth, the industry needs to be aware of the evolving cultural issues it faces. And if these concerns continue to grow they will likely become increasingly significant barriers in the future, as potential consumers choose not to play video games in an attempt to avoid the possibility of addiction and verbal abuse.”

Stewart’s statements come in the wake of increased concerns over the past year surrounding video game playing habits. Last June, The World Health Organization (WHO) began to officially recognize compulsive video game playing as a mental health disorder.

The WHO defines a gaming disorder as “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

However, this classification was met with controversy among psychologists. Further, the Entertainment Software Asssociation (ESA), the U.S.-based trade association that represents game makers and distributors, expressed concern over the ruling and said “the evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive.”

Source: Mintel