Online Games are Social Spaces. So Is Social Gaming Beneficial?

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Video games and online games in general have gotten a bad reputation among normies because of the #GamerGate and #MeToo movements.

However, when you peel back the toxic and unrealistic stereotypes, the world of gaming is actually a great place to dive in. The dark and biased culture that so many publications have talked about is almost non-existent.

Games, especially multiplayer ones, are meant to be social experiences, or at the very least give people a common subject to talk about and form a bond over. Children, teens, and young adults in particular need to form strong social bonds with other people to properly develop into fully-grown, functioning adults.

Who benefits from social gaming?

If you’re a true extrovert, you surely have an easy time making new friends and meeting new people at all sorts of social events.

However, there are plenty of people who don’t have the necessary social skills to interact with new acquaintances accordingly. Playing video games and socializing over the internet is far easier for them than it is in person.

Likewise, when shy people meet a fellow gamer in person, they will find it easier to form a bond since they have something big in common. Doing so will allow them to develop their social skills in the long run. A study from ResearchGate has concluded that video games are not isolating youths, but rather help them further down the line.

Other groups that greatly benefit from social gaming are people on the autistic spectrum, those who have had unreliable relationships early in life, people with social anxiety, and those who are still recovering from depressive symptoms. If video games were to suddenly disappear, all of these people would be left without massive means of communicating and forming essential bonds with other human beings.

Social gaming is a safe haven

The social gaming experience allows people to communicate at their leisure. They can choose to show or hide their face, as well as mute or unmute their microphones.

In the online world, people don’t need to use body language, understand the tone of voice, maintain eye contact, or be charismatic to socialize. By letting things flow slowly, players with a lack of social experience can develop their skills at a comfortable pace.

Furthermore, the people mentioned in our previous chapter are often times more vulnerable in real life scenarios because they don’t know how to say “no” to others. Being behind a screen gives them this added advantage. Sure, the online world can also be a dangerous place, but if you teach your children about these dangers early on, they will be able to spot and avoid them.

Social games can make people learn

Just like social games teach communication, they also teach people several skills that might come in handy in real life scenarios.

For example, the hand-eye coordination ability is one of the things that video games have universally been lauded for. Even people who have campaigned against the so-called “violence caused by video games”, like Jack Thompson did, have recognized these learning benefits.

On a similar note, social games that involve solving puzzles and practice timing also grant players a better understanding of how the world functions. It also gives them the ability to handle stressful tasks more effectively. Not to mention the fact that timing makes people approximate how much they can achieve in a day at school or work.

How a social gaming conversation looks like

Researchers at Stanford have studied almost 6000 private messages exchanged between players in online gaming sessions.

They categorized the messages into two distinct categories: those with an emotional response and those focused solely on the task at hand.

To their surprise, an overwhelming majority of messages were emotional – 3.2 times more than those focused on the task. Additionally, these emotion-based messages were over 2.6 times more likely to be positive than negative.

They concluded that, despite parents’ worst fears, their children were far more likely to have a positive experience when playing an online game. Some of these emotional messages included things like “I agree with you”, “Thanks for the help”, or even “Haha, I like you”.

The outcome

Looking at all the data so far, social gaming is truly a blessing for many people. Without games, a lot of vulnerable individuals would have no opportunity to make new friends.

In conclusion, social gaming is indeed beneficial. Even if you’ve never touched a controller in your life, we would highly recommend you partake in this activity, as you never know what great experiences await you.

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