Many individuals feel that when a child plays video games, they are all alone. They can sit there all afternoon and into the evening if you let them. Why can’t they just turn off the console and go outside to socialize with their friends? Why are they not begging to go to the mall or have friends over for a pool party or sleepover?
One of the biggest reasons parents may feel this way is because that is what they did when they were younger. After school and homework, you spend your time outdoors, on the phone, riding bikes, planning parties, or having sleepovers. The parents simply can not understand why their child would want to play video games instead of doing all the so-called fun things they did growing up. They view playing games like this as a time-waster.
What if we told you that playing video games is a way for your youngster to connect with others? This is especially true if they use a headset so they can speak with others during games. Parents should consider this an updated version of chatting on the telephone. In fact, a whopping 77% of young males spend time enjoying web-based video games with peers one time or more during a month’s span.
While that is astonishing, many parents do not feel this is a means of communication. They feel that their child does not interact with others except when chatting about the game or yelling at each other.
Let’s take a look at some research that states this simply is not true. In a multi-player web-based video game, more than 5,800 chats were viewed in a 2006 study to see if these communications were either work-directed (asking for help during play, such as How can I complete this mission?) or socio-emotional (correspondence to individuals involved in the game, such as yes, those are hard to find, or you are welcome for the help. Through this study, there were 3.2 more socioemotional chats than work-directed ones. And out of those socio-emotional messages, they were more than 2.6 times positive over negative. Therefore, parents are able to see through this study that interactions with kids playing video games were mainly positive.
Another thing many parents need to understand is that playing video games is a secure haven for various people. People that have a hard time making friends or fitting in may feel that by playing these games, they are part of a community or a gaming family. These individuals may be shy, have autism or be on the spectrum, are insecure, have social anxiety, or be depressed. Individuals that fit into one or more of these categories know that they do not have to answer right away, and there is no challenge of sharing the same space as others.
Speaking of being secure, virtual games are quite harmless for your youngster. However, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on your child and what they are playing and who they are playing with just to be safe.
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