Heh, yeah, that's been a consistent bugbear that is thankfully starting to go away (though it's still my go-to topic whenever I need to exemplify the practical uses of my research to people outside of the field ), in large part thanks to a ton of high quality research conducted within the field (mainly sociologically or psychologically oriented, though not only). People love black-and-white answers though, and grey-area findings like "what you get out of a game depends on what you bring to it and how you use it" are really difficult to propagate. Still, media researchers are quite used to new media triggering various degrees of panics or skepticism (anyone remember how VHS or LPs would ruin the youth?), so it's kind of expected, but it's also a difficult environment for establishing a new field of study when the public reaction to the objects of study are either snobbish/elitist "they're kids' toys, not worthy of attention, and certainly not worthy of study as impactful cultural objects" or panicky "they're corrupting our children and turning them into monsters!" I'm quite happy that I didn't start this track in the late 90s or early 2000s, as those were generally not good times to be a game researcher. These days it's a lot easier, both getting funding, having the research recognized, and of course there are a lot more institutions, journals, conferences and other support structures in existence, though it's still a tiny niche field. I've experienced other Ph.D. students (from more traditional/conservative fields) literally laughing when they hear what I'm researching, so we've definitely still got a long way to go.
I play video games and roleplaying games (with dices), listen to metal and have long hairs .... guess I'm somewhere between the son of Satan and a serial killer