Games like FIFA, F1 and Rocket League help build a child's confidence, technological and leadership skills

By Richard Jenkins
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 2:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 2:48 pm

Teamwork, problem-solving and communication are also among the soft skills parents believe children develop through playing esports, which they may not pick up elsewhere in life.

On average, children aged between the ages of 11 and 18 play three-and-a-half hours of esports a day either at home (94 per cent) or at a friend’s house (40 per cent).

However, while some parents lack an understanding of the ins and outs of esports, six in 10 think it can play a positive role within education.

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And nearly half of the 1,500 parents of children who play esports polled even think it should be added to the school or college curriculum.

Brian Horsburgh, education sales director for Dell Technologies in the UK, which commissioned the research, said: "The capabilities demanded of tomorrow's workforce will be those that technology cannot replicate.

“Soft skills that were once considered inferior to teachable ‘hard’ skills like machine operation will tip the balance in the future job market.

Parents recognise the power of esports to develop their children's people skills - to communicate, listen, even to lead.

“That’s a persuasive argument for schools that want their students to be future-ready.”

The study found more than six in 10 parents believe teamwork skills were gained through esports.

While others cited problem solving (57 per cent) and communication (54 per cent) as other key learnings through the picking up of a joystick.

Nearly seven in 10 of those polled by OnePoll believe esports allows their child to develop skills that they would not get through traditional educational methods.

And 52 per cent think it will increase children’s grades at school.

Taking esports to the next level

It also emerged that 32 per cent of parents would like their child to have a career in esports.

Lindsey Eckhouse, director of licensing, ecommerce and esports at McLaren Racing, said: "People do become professional esports players, often at a pretty young age, but esports is more than just players.

“Just as our drivers can't race without their team, esports players can't play without theirs - that means publicists, physiotherapists, nutritionists, chefs.

“We must embrace more ways for children - of all abilities, needs and backgrounds - to learn, and those ways should reflect the future career landscape.”

But the study also polled 500 educational stakeholders and found 61 per cent feel there isn’t enough evidence to show the educational benefits of esports.

Esports equipment being too expensive, network connections not being strong enough and not having the facilities to place the type of equipment were among the barriers schools face in getting esports implemented into the school curriculum.

Tom Dore, head of education at British Esports Association said: “We welcome further quantitative research around esports in education to support the feedback we’re getting from teachers and students about the positive impact esports has in their classrooms and school communities.

“Esports is a vehicle to motivate and engage a broad demographic of young people.

"As a teacher myself, I have seen first-hand the benefits to my students when they participate and compete in esports.”

Top 10 skills parents think children learn through esports rather than traditional education

1.            Teamwork

2.            Problem-solving

3.            Technological skills

4.            Confidence

5.            Communication

6.            Creativity

7.            Leadership

8.            Listening

9.            Flexibility/adaptability

10.          Time management