Online games can help parents bond with children and improve mental well-being
The pandemic has triggered repeated lockdowns around the world, confining children and families indoors. As a result, it affects the mental health of many young people as well as their parents. With more than 2.2 billion people in the world, children represent 28% of the world’s population.
Empirical evidence indicates that being locked in four walls for long periods of time can have an impact on mental health, and therapists have reported that more people are seeking help after last year’s outbreak.
Covid-19 prevention strategies have resulted in the suspension of classes in academic institutions. As a result, millions of students have not physically met teachers and classmates for long periods of time.
More than 168 million schoolchildren are currently missing physical classes. In addition, the uncertainty due to the postponement / cancellation of Council examinations generates intense concern among the pupils concerned and their parents.
According to a recent UNICEF report, the current pandemic has delayed the development of children around the world by years. Meanwhile, as vaccination campaigns prioritize only those 18 and over, children may be forced to stay indoors for much longer. Yet, as social beings, children in their formative years need more opportunities for extracurricular activities and interactions.
The absence of this can adversely affect their cognitive and emotional development. And it puts tremendous pressure on parents to keep their kids engaged in activities while juggling extended work hours and housework. So it’s no surprise that for some kids, screen time shot up to 500% when they seemed to be enjoying themselves.
As the world prepares to commemorate Father’s Day, it’s important to recognize the less-discussed role of fathers during the pandemic: constantly finding new opportunities for interactive engagement with children. Although mothers share the duty, children primarily expect their fathers to take care of extracurricular activities like sports, travel, and play, among others. Such activities are essential bonding exercises between fathers and children, and at the same time crucial for improving well-being and emotional development.
While lockdowns and the lack of vaccinations among those under 18 force children to stay indoors at all times, online games are emerging as an attractive alternative to sports and outdoor activities. We’re no longer talking about playing video games in isolation for hours on end. Online multiplayer games offer opportunities for interaction, engagement and fair competition.
We are in the golden age of social play and parents, especially young dads, are certainly making the most of it. Since online play is also a de-stresser for older groups, fathers can engage with their children through a well-chosen skill set.
There is a popular trend in the West, where parents play online games with their children and aside from sharing in-game controls and strategies, they talk to their children about school, friendships, and friendships. everything that happens in their lives. This gave birth to the popular “Dad Gaming League” which experienced tremendous growth during the pandemic.
Engagement and interactive entertainment are no longer a matter of choice but rather a circumstantial constraint on the emotional and mental well-being of those facing isolation. Parents need to be properly involved in their children’s lives to ensure that they receive adequate attention and support during this testing period.
Although outdoor activities are not possible or feasible, online games can be a suitable alternative for such activities. Such games provide a platform for children and fathers to connect, compete and converse in an interactive setting. As online play also transcends geographic boundaries, many fathers separated from their children during confinement can enjoy online play with their children on Father’s Day.
For example, games in all genres such as Strategy, Sports, Skill, and Arcade require requisite skills, strategic thinking, knowledge, attention, logic, practice and skill. agility to win. Playing these games regularly can increase these attributes in gamers. If the engagement of online games is deployed in education through gamification, it will act as a catalyst, changing the ways children learn and improve.
By offering fair competition and instant recognition of success, online gaming platforms find favor with young and older generations. Such games help players improve their hand-eye coordination and motor skills, all from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Online games can also help rekindle happy childhood memories of children playing indoor games with fathers, testing their mental and intuitive abilities. Proven games such as Ludo, Carambole and Chidya udd are recreated for digital devices and the multiplayer gameplay ensures that people all over the world can play these games with each other.
Rise of online gaming in India
A 2020 FICCI and EY report on the country’s media and entertainment sector notes that online games have grown by 40% in 2019-2020 while generating revenues of Rs.65 billion (2019). According to a report by KPMG, online gamers in India increased by 20% between July 2020 and January 2021, topping 500 million, with smartphones or tablets used by 90% of them. A BARC-Nielsen report reveals that gamers in India are now spending 218 minutes on online games – up from 151 minutes before the lockdown in 2020.
Unsurprisingly, the growing interest in games has seen a parallel increase in interest from investors and start-ups. While around $ 173 million was invested in the field in CY2020, there are currently over 400 game start-ups in the country. As a booming industry, online gambling holds immense potential for growth.
According to KPMG, the online gaming industry is expected to cross the 290 billion yen mark with 650 million users. There has been a recent call for industry regulation at the central level to protect the sector and ensure that growth is not hampered by unforeseen circumstances.
A light regulatory framework under the Ministry of IT is what the industry needs to ensure better and more uniform implementation at the state level and this will surely boost investments, create new jobs and continue the phenomenal growth of the industry. sector that places India on the global map as a leader in innovation.
As the ongoing pandemic continues to impact children’s mental health as well as their educational prospects, online games can transform such scenarios through winning propositions for society and the economy as a whole. All it takes is forethought, an open mind and institutional support from policy makers to make this a reality.
The author is a distinguished public policy professional and a former member of the United Nations, Internet Governance Forum, Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group.