MPs call for teachers’ views on addictive online gaming

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee launches inquiry into immersive technologies

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Parliament is calling on teachers to share their views on how computer gaming and addictive technology are impacting their students.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) is holding an inquiry on the development of immersive technologies and their impact on sport, entertainment and news.

MPs will focus particularly on how addictive virtual and augmented reality games can affect young people and their interaction with social media.

The inquiry will also examine data protection issues in online gaming as concerns grow over how social media platforms are exploiting people’s information.

“The way we interact with cutting-edge technologies is life-changing for our generation and generations to come,” said DCMS committee chair Damian Collins.

“During our recent inquiries, the committee has heard repeated concerns about the impact to society of the increasing amounts of time that people spend immersed in online worlds, and the potentially addictive nature of social media and gaming. We want to explore these concerns during this inquiry and consider what the right response should be in setting public policy for the future.

“The committee will also consider how individuals’ online data is used by immersive technologies and what security is offered. The government has recently pledged to make the UK ‘the safest place to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business’.”

Research by communications regulator Ofcom found people in the UK check their phone every 12 minutes and one in five spend more than 40 hours a week online.  

Spending on gaming in the UK hit a record £5.11 billion in 2017, up 12.4 per cent on the previous year, while the competitive video gaming industry is also booming.

The British Esports Association, which represents competitive gaming, predicts #global revenues will reach £1 billion next year, with a worldwide audience of 600 million.

In February, the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee launched another inquiry into how pupils’ time online affects their development.

MPs are also examining how well schools are preparing pupils for the challenges posed by artificial intelligence, robotics and the “internet of things”.

Teachers, parents and pupils are invited to submit their views on the committee website here.


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