COVID-19 and Children’s Mental Health: Why Online Gaming Helps

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In a way, children are still lucky. Even with all the torment and pain that the virus has caused the country, experts have observed that children fared better than adults in thwarting the advance of the virus. Initially, this was attributed to homeschooling and the suspension of in-school learning. But a deeper analysis points out that it could be the natural immune system of children that has spared them. That could have played a huge part in stopping the virus at the first encounter. 

But even if most children in the United States are safe from the direct effects of the virus, they’re not actually immune to the pandemic’s indirect assaults. We’re talking about mental health issues. Indeed, all the economic struggles as jobs were lost and all the fears bottled up as fatalities pile up can only put a lot of stress on everyone, including children. While several government bodies have been extending help right from the get-go, there’s one activity that could be helping children cope these days: online gaming. 

Online gaming may have earned a bad reputation over time. Many of us may have heard it get a lot of flak as children spent more time with it than most parents would allow. But in a pandemic where everyone is told to stay indoors for months on end, it can be a lifesaver for children. 

Benefits Children Can Get from Online Gaming

Obviously, playing has a lot to do with child development. Not only does it help children in brain development, but it also helps them grow strong. We’re talking about physical and emotional well-being

But you can’t actually downplay the benefits of virtual play in favor of in-person play. Take note that millions of American children right now are still under stay-at-home orders, thanks to the pandemic. 

Experts cite that along with the fun and excitement, online gaming offers the following benefits: 

  • Reduces feelings of isolation
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces feelings of loneliness
  • Boosts feelings of competence
  • Boosts emotional intelligence and empathy

It’s hard not to explore the benefits of gaming for children when the options available are severely limited. The prospect of playing outside with other children can indeed be daunting, given that the virus is still at large. 

What makes online gaming so effective is it allows children to collaborate with their friends. In short, it has become the new playing field. And it’s like the real world, too. The mechanics are basically there to create and form true friendships. 

An added advantage is these player groups can serve as a second family where children can sound off their fears and apprehensions. Even better, these groups help them stay connected and in the know about what’s happening in the outside world. 

Supporting Your Child

Making sure your internet connection is reliable is a great way to support your child’s games. Additionally, a sturdy PC gaming setup should go a long way in ensuring your little one gets a great gaming experience. 

To note, many games have been helpful in children handling certain inadequacies. Fortnite, for one, has been crucial in giving children with ADHD a good time. The game’s challenges let a child’s hands-on skills shine. Still, many parents are basically doubtful about the game, given its propensity for violence. 

This is where good parenting comes in. 

It’s important, then, that you get involved in your child’s game and not just be there to set boundaries. Make him or her know that you’re interested in what he or she is doing. Taking an active interest can pay a huge dividend later on. It can mean greater influence in what your child should be taking part in and with whom. 

Take time to talk about the characters. By allowing your child to talk, you open up a great way for them to excel. Additionally, there should be time limits. A good way for you to do that is to assign chores after meals, ordeals that buy him time to play. 

Beware of Hidden Dangers

Then there’s the case for online predators. Make sure your child understands what behaviors are allowed and what should raise red flags. Playing with a total stranger, as a rule, should be a no-no unless that stranger is a friend of a friend. 

In that sense, the online world is fast becoming the new reality everyone must face. There, your child can learn how to best deal with shady people right from the get-go and how to forge real friendships with people who matter. 

Indeed, that’s what the recent studies show. Video games have become the outlet that helps children create and maintain friends. The study shows many of those who played online found new friends there through games. 

That should be your cue. Now that you know what’s good for him, giving him the support he needs is paramount. 

Meta title: COVID-19 and Children’s Mental Health: The Merits of Online Games
meta desc: Studies show that online games can be the very venue where children develop true friends. At a time when the virus is still at large, that can go a long way to help him or her.