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  • Jeremy Edge, MS, LPC

4 Reasons Why Our Kids Play Video Games

By Jeremy Edge, LPC Escapingthe.com, PLLC


Does your child seem to always want to play video games? Right when they finish homework, do they ask to game with friends online? Why do they like video games so much?


If we as parents don’t play video games, it can be hard to understand the draw. Kids play video games for many different reasons. Here are a few.


Exploration and Freedom

Video games offer freedom for kids. They are free from chores, homework, bullies, and stress. Video games are a break from the real or physical world. If people are mean to them online, they can simply mute them. Video games offer a safe place to be free from stress. Kids have the chance to explore in video games too. Games like World of Warcraft, Fallout, Ark, Zelda or Skyrim are all games with much to explore. They can complete objectives or quests, or they can simply see what they can find. They are also free to make their own choices. In the physical or real-world, kids have to adhere to the rules of parents and teachers. But in a game, they can do whatever they want. There can be consequences in the game which negatively impacts their character, but not all the time. And if they make a really bad choice, they can simply restart the game. Especially during COVID, there are not many places kids can be free and explore, however, they can find that online.


Competency or Mastery

Many kids enjoy video games because it requires skill and competency. Competence is made up of feeling mastery and control over something. Many video games require skill to play well. In games like Overwatch, Valorant, League of Legends, or Rainbow 6: Siege, players compete against each other in real time. Your reaction speed, map awareness, aim, landing skill-shots, dodging skill shots, farming, and overall game knowledge are all skills that require some level of mastery to play well and win matches. Players improve their skill and mastery in games the more they play. They might watch their favorite streamer on YouTube or Twitch.tv to help them improve. Video games give rewards for improving too. 2 The better you get at the game, the more recognition and positive feedback you get in the game. You might win more games and get a cool looking logo or banner around your character. You will get the honor of competing with better players. Kids get positive feedback in the physical world for improving their competency. But video games give immediate positive feedback and lots of it, making it hard to stop playing.


Competition

If your child likes to win, then they will most likely enjoy competitive video games. If your child enjoyed playing baseball, basketball, or volleyball before March of 2020, they could have migrated to a competitive video game. Games like League of Legends, Counter Strike: GO, and Dota 2 are all 5v5 competitive video games. Your team works together to take objectives and beat the other team. There is a lot of skill and communication involved to play competitive video games well which is fun for many kids. Fortnite is another competitive game where you can play on a team or by yourself. You compete against others in real time to be the last player standing. Every competitive video game requires hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, quick decision making, and strategy. These skills take time to develop and they can grow over time. Gamers can play Fortnite for years and still improve. The desire to win and compete is in a lot of kids. Video games offer a safe alternative for high level competition if basketball is unavailable. Thanks, COVID...


Build and create

Children love building. Before the Internet, kids played with blocks. They built towers, castles, and structures using their imagination. Now, kids have Minecraft – virtual building blocks. Kids can create elaborate towers, castles, and any structure they can think of or copy from YouTube. The great thing about Minecraft, and most video games, kids can play online with their friends at the same time. If they wanted to build a Lego spaceship with their friends, they had to physically be in the same room. Now, kids can create a virtual spaceship from miles away.


Kids enjoy video games for many reasons. The more fun they have, the more they want to play. The more positive reinforcement they get from the games they play, the more they want to play. 3 It can be challenging for children to limit gaming time. It’s important for us parents to set healthy gaming limits. Video games can be a healthy activity. However, if schoolwork, relationships, responsibilities, and mood are negatively impacted by video games, then it is time to reassess your child’s gaming.


If your child struggles with problematic gaming and the effects on your child and your family contact Jeremy Edge, LPC for help. Find valuable resources and information at Escapingthe.com.


For information and guidance regarding the connection between problematic gaming and ADHD contact Zac Grisham, MS, LPC-S, ADHD-CCSP at zgrisham@cvcounselinggroup.com.


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