Let us go back in time by a few decades. Gaming as an activity was either physical games played by kids or those in a gaming arcade with various gaming machines. While the majority of the physical games involved interaction with other kids, most video games were single player or two player. Thus, began the categorization of gaming as being an activity that isolated the individual.
Cut to the present, online gaming is central to a kid’s life these days. Forget kids, even teenagers and young adults (not to forget some adults too) are excited about game time. Hell, some have even made a career out of it.
The image of a gamer, however, is still that of a nerdy kid sitting alone in his room playing games on his computer. In case of an adult man, the adventure games may be replaced by a search for a casino bonus list. Stereotypes are difficult to break through.
Let us take a look at some of the unknown social benefits of online gaming.
1. Creates social connections –
Research has shown that the majority of gamers play online games with their friends. This means that gaming is not taking people away from their friends. In fact, the existing social connections remain; only the activities have undergone a change.
If you look at families too, earlier going to the movies or taking short weekend trips was a part of quality time spent with family. Today, gaming has become an integral part of such family time. A father and son challenging each other in an online game is one of the most common things you hear these days.
In many cases, old social connections are often rekindled due to the advent of online gaming which narrows the physical barriers between two people.
2. Improves social skills –
The major grouse of critics of online gaming is that if people will not go out and meet with other people, then how will they acquire the social skills necessary to live life. Valid point. However, research by Pew has shown that a large number of gamers play to socialize with their friends and family.
Further, only someone with a very skewed view of gaming would think that gaming involves no social skills. The fact is that in the present times gaming is like any other social activity. While co-op games ensure that players have to cooperate with each other to win, the competitive ones also provide opportunities to interact.
3. Promotes social behavior –
This may seem far-fetched to many. However, if you have an open mind, read on. Online gaming has advanced to extraordinary levels, meaning that the sophistry involved in some games is too high. There are games that promote social behavior.
In this context, it has been seen that kids who played more social games were more likely to show helpful behavior later on. Games designed to help kids with autism have also shown promising results.
For those who find it difficult to connect with others on a face-to-face level, online gaming is an avenue to connect socially. They can start a conversation online and once a genuine connection is built, the social anxiety reduces.
4. Helps people to stay connected –
Social strife can make a lot of connections redundant. For instance, during the lockdowns imposed due to the pandemic, many families started having Zoom calls to stay connected. However, the frequency of these calls reduced with time.
But some families were smart enough to realize that adding an activity like gaming in the meetings would provide the necessary push for people to continue with them. Even in normal times, staying connected can be a task, what with busy school and job schedules.
Online gaming is a perfect activity for friends and families to stay connected while having fun.
But is online gaming really anti-social in the sense that it promotes aloofness among the players? If we look at the research on this issue, the results will be shocking. Online gaming that we think we know is just the tip of the iceberg. After reading about the unknown social benefits of online gaming, you might certainly change your mind.