Why Kids Love Video Games

Why Kids Love Video Games

3 min read
Minecraft, League of Legends and Among Us. These are just three of the top video games our kids love and sometimes even obsess over today. So, what is it that pulls our children in? Infiltrating their mind, body and soul, leaving their parents voices just a dull hum in the distance.

Research shows that playing video games can result in a release of dopamine in the brain. The same dopamine that's released when we do other things we enjoy, whether that be eating yummy ice cream or fast food! Like with ice cream, we don't necessarily want to give our child unlimited access. As with everything, there's a risk of becoming dependent or addicted to it!

With most video games, we work through challenges or obstacles to get to a reward. Often that reward is intermittent, we don't know when we will receive it, so we play on until we do. This is often the reason our kids may play for long hours, that gold coin could be just around the corner! The ultimate motivator is to become a master at the game, to be the victor! In this way, players can validate their competence in the game. When looking at it this way, accomplishing a game can be a great indicator of persistence.

Kids also tend to appreciate the autonomy that comes with video games. In the virtual world, they are the boss! No parents looking over their shoulder, most of the time not even their friends. They’re doing it themselves, at their own pace, making their own decisions. Every time they succeed a level or mission, it is solely because of their efforts.
Some research also says there's a sense of relatedness that comes about when playing video games. As humans, we all tend to have an innate need to feel known, a sense that we matter to others. We have a connection with others. Sometimes these virtual worlds can mimic this feeling. They can have a social aspect, you may have a persona, a realistic storyline and a whole world where your character (you) belong! Often, and especially for older kids it's a way to actually engage with their friends outside of school. Getting their headsets on and gaming while chatting with their friends is actually a really great social experience. Just like you may have a long phone call in the evening with a pal, our children now converse while gaming. Especially if they can’t connect physically with friends, it can be their only way to talk to their friends. As parents, we can quite often think of it as a solitary activity, but it's important to remember it is a point of connection for children.
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