Video Games as Mental Health

Some parents may roll their eyes at the title but I’m here to tell you that Video Games can be good for you. Somewhere in the psyche of productivity hungry “America” we have demonized the hobby of online gaming. Whether that be playing through PCs, Consoles (Play Station, Xbox, Switch, etc.) or through your phone.

In terms of self-care video games can offer a lot. At minimum they can provide a much needed escape and confidence boost (if you’re good), and at best they provide social interaction. Many online games provide their players with the ability to connect with other gamers around the world and chat, or even get a group of your own friends together and join the same game and socialize that way.

In the time of Covid where we are all starved for social interactions, this is a wonderful (and safe) way to maintain our much needed relationships and social needs.

In terms of families, I ALWAYS encourage my parents of kids who game to ask their kids to show them the ropes. Sit with them and try to be interested. If you can’t be interested, then pretend. Use your child’s interests and hobbies as a way to connect with them, and if they invite you to join in – FOR HEAVENS SAKE PLEASE DO. These kind of moments are rare and if you seek connectivity with your child instead of disinterest in their hobbies, you will reap the rewards in connection.

In terms of couples, gaming can also be a bonding past-time. It’s a stereotype that girlfriends/wives “nag” their husbands about playing too many video games and demand they peel themselves away or face their displeasure. This is an unfair view of women and most of my female friends play more games than some of the men I know! Now more than ever more and more couples are gaming together and finding that it not only adds a deeper level of fun and connectivity to their relationships – but friendship too.

The beautiful thing is that this ease and connectivity is not won through hard work and fighting for better communication – it’s just by being open minded, playing, and having fun!