Why video games make kids happy

The hidden needs behind the preference for online games

With the awareness of their own resources and their own curiosities, children begin to mimic the behavior of adults and their roles in the family, with friends, in the relationship with others. If there is little diversity in the family environment, there is a certain monotony of the program, there are restrictions, they live in areas limited to access to children or communities, then they will virtually build this social need.

Children see us – they see us with colleagues, they see us with friends, they see us with relatives – and they know that we are social beings, that we need this diversity and then they look for it instinctively. microclimate. Why? Because the social microclimate gives me self-knowledge: who I am as a child I learn from how I relate to others, how I compare myself to others (who is the strongest, who is the most skilled, who is the funniest, who is the brave one).

Unfortunately, the microsocial of today’s child takes place in a conditioned urbanism: children taken by car, kept with nannies or at home, learned with small gadgets. Even though we were somehow as limited as before (children no longer played on the street, no longer interacted in the country and no longer had large families), the current pandemic situation has limited children’s natural and natural access to this context. .

We need to understand the need behind children’s behavior

I often hear criticism like the child spends too much time at the computer “,” the child spends too much time at the tablet “,” the child always asks for the phone “. Yes, it is a problem, but the solution is not to restrict the child’s access to these gadgets, but to diversify the system of relaxation, interaction with others because we were the first to introduce the phone, tablet, TV as a form of diversity and choice in the absence of the parent. If we do not bring more comfort and fun for them, then they will remain focused on the only solutions they have been taught.

Therefore, it is necessary to remember that, since childhood, each of us has four basic needs that never leave us in our lifetime and that we will seek to fulfill, consciously or unconsciously, for a good and balanced life. These needs are vital for the young child and we will continue to see how they are met through online games, but especially how we can meet them in real life to move the focus of children online in their family and social microclimate.

The need to CONNECT

The child who feels connected has a sense of belonging and feels safe.

In order to feel connected to us, children need communication, so at least two people, friendship, acceptance, comfort, equality and security, an environment that will make them feel comfortable and safe. .

Unfortunately, we often encounter situations in which children feel unequal with adults and insecure due to the fact that they have not yet managed to form the comfort of communication. But children learn much better from their peers than from those to whom they relate to the need to be accepted, to be conditioned that if they are not good or good enough, they will not be loved or will be prohibits access to certain toys, games, travel, and so on. The autocratic system based on punishment and reward is a system that encourages the connection based on the attention it deserves: either I will punish you or I will victimize myself.

In the game, however, the connection happens in a natural way, the rules are the same, all participants are equal, whether they are small or large. The child feels secure because he knows what it is about, he has done the same thing before and he is definitely friends with his playmates. Why? Because the competitor in the game is different from the unequal competitor in real life.

But what do we do with our fears because we do not feel connected at that time with our children? In order to make possible the feeling of equality between the generations, we need, if possible, to try to be part of the game, to share this experience with them, to let them tell us, to show us and to teach us. This way we can connect too, and the child feels equal to us.

The need to CONTA

The child who feels that he matters, knows his value and will know how to make a difference on his own, will contribute constructively, as such he will know when and how he will be able to change things.

When do I matter? When I make a difference, when I know what I’m good at. In this one- or two-member world (brother or sister and supervisor), this value of who I am in relation to others is less created. The child does not know how to make a difference in a constructive way, to belong with his own knowledge, potential, skills and then the game is again the source of the need to validate personal resources. There he learns that he can be better, the best or he can become good in relation to the requirements of the game. He learns that he makes or has a big difference in his team and so he can relate better.

The need for COOPERATION

The child who feels capable will develop self-control and self-discipline. Believing that he can do things on his own will increase his autonomy.

The need to cooperate is quite poorly fulfilled today in the parent-child dynamic because, most of the time, it is more comfortable for us to subject the child to our rules, we do not always have the availability to find out how he feels, but we wonder why things happened. “Why?” they are anxious for the child: it shows only our need, of our parents, to know and, by no means, our availability to find out what it is like for him. Therefore, this need to communicate is often met by networking and, once fulfilled there, is seen from the outside as a form of addiction.

In the game, the child feels that he is understood and that he has more possibilities to communicate with those with whom he shares the same concern than in his real environment. However, it is dangerous to leave him there for a long time because he can develop skills that he does not practice in real life.

The need for COURAGE

A brave child believes that he will be able to cope with the situation regardless of the context.

The last and most important C is courage. The courage to try to do things differently, the courage to risk ourselves, as parents, letting them practice their skills or have the same knowledge or experience with their classmates or classmates. Restricting or limiting what is happening in the immediate context only creates a handicap and an increasingly deep complex, directly proportional to the restriction.

If we have the courage to find the potential and turn the game into a resource and a tool for in vivo personality training, then we will be able to build in real life contexts similar to those in the game and we will be able to apply what we practiced there. If we have a sent child, we can let him practice certain defense strategies, interaction with characters in the game. In this way, he will be able to practice mentally, visually, verbally, in a secure, controlled and imagined environment, certain potentials and situations that he will then, with the help of us or the real environment, put into practice.

For example, if the child is afraid of the dark, he will be able to play certain games in which his character can go through areas that are dark or dangerous, thus being able to easily overcome the position of victim in the real space. But for that we need parents to be informed, to know the content of the game and how we can turn this resource in our favor.

All four needs, connection, cooperation, courage and counting, can be practiced in the virtual world and then applied in real life. Just to know what the game is about, and every time the child is having a hard time in real life, let’s remind him that just as he was able to do in game X, he will be able to solve it. the problem in kindergarten and school; just as he found solutions in strategy game X, so he will be able to find solutions with the theme of history or biology.

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