Video games have always been popular, but 2019 has seen a surge in popularity thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide are gamers, who together spent $152.1 billion on games last year—an increase of 10% from the year before! The pandemic continues to rage on, but video games are proving to be not only an enjoyable way to pass the time during lockdown, but also an essential resource for people to connect with each other.
Gaming is an outlet for not just adults, but also for teens and children. Roblox, a favorite among children aged 9-12 in the United States, reported 31.1 million users per day during most of 2020. It turns out that more than half of teens prefer to catch up with friends through video games. Games provide a virtual meeting place for friends and acquaintances to meet, have fun, and have a shared experience without being too busy.
Social video games are a different breed of video games that involve interaction with other players. You can play synchronously or asynchronously, simply, or in a complex manner. The only requirement is that you can communicate with other players during gameplay.
There are tons of social video games out there that let you collaborate with others and solve problems! You can even play them together on the same screen, or just talk about them with friends. With the pandemic, people have embraced video games in ways they never imagined – it’s an opportunity to re-create in-person socialization opportunities without the limitations of geography or physical capabilities.
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a virtual event that lets you explore a tropical town. With a release date coinciding with the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, Nintendo’s record-breaking Switch game that tripled the company’s profits is giving players the opportunity to catch insects and fish and talk with anthropomorphic animal neighbors.Players are now able to visit towns of friends and strangers with the same village code. In just the past year, people have hosted birthday parties, talk shows, and family reunions in Animal Crossing.
The virtual world provides a host of social experiences that you can’t find in the physical one. It’s perfect for children and teens, who need to keep their social skills sharp. And we’ve even got the games to make it happen! Gaming is a great way for children to explore the world around them and imagine themselves in new worlds. “Sandbox” games like Minecraft, where players are able to wander a complex world freely, can provide an ideal space for children to do just that!
Video games are engaging and interactive. They’re popular among young people who find them more interesting than other online activities like streaming, video calls, or even single-player gaming! The good news is that videogames are not only there to provide entertainment and help pass the time, but also give children and adolescents a chance to learn by doing. They practice social skills that they might not otherwise be able to exercise in real life, leading to a sense of well-being during a time that can otherwise be isolating and frightening.
Did you know that playing video games could lead to more prosocial behavior in children? Studies have even found that playing collaborative games can lead to social acceptance and friendship among children. With shared experiences like those you find in social games, children are more inclined to help one another. Online and offline, they can engage in games that teach them about teamwork and cooperation. Not only does social gaming help with empathy and identity formation, but it also exposes players to people from different regions and cultures
Today’s children and teens are part of the digital generation. They’re so used to socializing on their devices that even when they talk to an adult, it’s usually through text. The digital world is the realm in which young people feel most at ease and linked to their peers. Research finds that nearly a quarter of teenagers claim to give their gaming handle instead of their phone number when meeting new people. Nearly 80% of teens say that gaming with friends helps them feel more connected to each other, even in pre-pandemic times.
Games provide a space for children and adolescents to explore different identities in a virtual environment, and during the pandemic they may have to take place in these spaces. So what are you waiting for? Play games today(link to enroll page)! Being able to experiment with these aspects of the virtual world can have fewer significant consequences than doing so in the real world.
It’s normal to be concerned about screen time and overuse of devices in children and teens. With in-person social activities, it’s crucial for parents and guardians to supervise children and teens in the virtual world. However, gaming is not the only area where screen time is an issue. Spending a lot of time on a specific game might not mean that you’re addicted, but rather trying to find social interaction during a time when opportunities to connect are scarce. To adults, it may seem like children are escaping into games and ignoring the outside world. But after all, they’re not engaging in the activities we normally associate with socializing: Being face-to-face is not the only way to connect with someone. It’s just not the most popular way for young people.
Video games should never be a replacement for face-to-face interactions. They should be an adjunct to them and other modes of social interaction. The best times for gaming should be during the “best of times,” and video games should only supplement social interaction during pandemic situations and other scenarios where people are geographically distant from each other.
There’s not such a vast difference in social interaction, you know! With Roblox, you can have your own theme park—just like Legos, but virtual. With Animal Crossing, you can visit your friend’s town—just like an overgrown version of their house!
Play is still as important as it ever was, and not just for kids. In this upheaval of old and new, adults are finding ways to connect through play and kid’s play.