Last year, sales of game consoles have grown. Young people (and adults) spend more time playing online than ever before. Playing Fortnite to death and sculpting landscapes in Minecraft is a big escape. But there is a dark side. We look at the rise of online gaming and what it means for young people.
Games often get bad rap – they are too violent, the online community is toxic, kids just have to get out more.
But what you don’t often hear are the benefits. For most young people, games are a fun way to spend time with friends. You can learn skills such as teamwork, concentration, and problem solving.
You can plunder to plunder distant lands like pirates, Sea of Thieves, or find the fastest way to prepare and serve culinary dishes in chaotic Overcooked. Others just enjoy it when people play games while chatting. The popular live streaming platform Twitch doubled traffic during the shutdown.
And like everything else on the Internet, it offers young people more opportunities to connect with someone unknown. As online gaming becomes more popular, there are also reports that it is being used to care for and exploit young people.
Talk to strangers
Online therapy is when someone cheats and often begins to take advantage or benefit from a relationship with a young person. It can be sexual, but it can also force them to commit crimes such as distributing drugs or transferring money between bank accounts.
With more young people on the Internet, an addict can build trust in a virtual world reminiscent of real life – by offering gifts or promises of friendship.
Take the popular video game Fortnite. Unmodified voice and text chat is a big part of gaming. This means that children are encouraged to talk to guests. Usually everything is overboard, but the platform was used for child abuse.
Stay safe online
During Covid-19, more young people will be online, and service providers will see this as an opportunity. Show interest in young people playing and increase their self-confidence so they can easily tell you if something happened to them online.
In addition to parents and caregivers, players can also identify abuse. If we can all learn to recognize the signs of a cyber attack, we can prevent this abuse. Games are a place where young people can be independent, inventive and fun. You don’t have to worry about people taking care of them every time they turn on the console.