While esports has yet to live up to its billing as the next big thing in American sports betting, it is undeniably popular among the nation’s youth. And during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the interactive gaming that esports offers provided a critical social lifeline to many kids whose face-to-face engagement with peers was severely limited.
Esports can also help kids improve their problem-solving and STEM skills. But there’s another side to this coin. As the Entain Foundation noted in a press release on Monday, “There has been an associated rise in gaming and mental health issues” among minors as esports has surged in popularity.
To address such negative byproducts, the Entain Foundation has teamed up with INTENTA to launch the #MindYourGame campaign in more than 450 high schools and esports clubs nationwide. The educational toolkit makes use of multimedia content to help student gamers prioritize their mental health, telling them how gaming can affect the brain, trumpeting the importance of finding a balance between gaming and other activities, and helping them manage in-game spending.
“We are committed to supporting initiatives that encourage responsible gambling and gaming,” Martin Lycka, trustee of Entain Foundation U.S. and senior vice president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling for Entain, said in a press release. “That’s why we’ve partnered with INTENTA on the #MindYourGame campaign. Encouraging our players to actively manage their mental health is exactly the type of project we are proud to support.”
Fresno (Calif.) Unified School District employee Julie Mavrogeorge, the 2021-2022 National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors’ High School Esports Director of the Year, said, “Esports provides a platform to engage and educate all players — including those who are neurodiverse — on important topics such as their mental health, and leverage gaming as a source of personal and professional growth. I am excited to share #MindYourGame educational content with our players.”