How can prolonged use of videogames affect you?

Due to the quarantine, online games are positioned as an alternative to socialize with friends .

Woman playing video games.

Video games are an alternative to socialize in the midst of quarantine. / Photo: Pexels - Matilda Wormwood

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿Qué cambios trae el uso prolongado de los videojuegos en la cuarentena?

The Internet is saving quarantine. Although it seems like a pretty drastic statement, the reality is that we are going through an atypical situation, in the sense that socialization is changing. As meetings between friends are now prohibited or not recommended, the ways of "hanging out" are transformed.

One of the means most used by young people is video games. In this sense, online titles, which allow live games with friends, are really successful. For example, the newspaper El Gráfico mentions that Parcheesi online is being a real success among players, who meet in rooms to have games.

Although the increasing use of video games as a means of interaction with human beings was already booming many years ago, the reality is that today it seems to be the only possible option. This situation could have different consequences, so we decided to analyze what changes are taking place with the heyday of online games and how it could affect the future.

Online games as a form of socialization among the youngest

Although many people have fun and have a really good time in front of their screens when using an online game, the gamer community is not always as friendly as it seems. For example, the Peruvian media outlet Libero comments that the League of Legends, one of the most successful titles of the moment, has a large number of "toxic" players, who are dedicated to harming the members of the games.

So what, a priori, should be a time of satisfaction and enjoyment, can become a time of frustration. If we add to this the boredom due to confinement and the need to fulfill responsibilities from home, it would seem that video games cannot always be that means of having a good time.

However, those would not be the only problems that could occur with prolonged exposure to online games. The Ámbito website comments that the pandemic "aggravates the situation of cyber-addiction". In other words, since we have more free time and fewer possibilities of going out to the outside world, virtual resources seem to be the only option to relax.

Another problem also occurs in the idea of multiplatform. Previously, the only possibility to play was through consoles or computers. However, today we have a wide range of devices by which we can be connected to have a playful online experience, feeling quite close thanks to the possibility of using microphones and even video calls.

Also read: The best movies shot only with a smartphone

In other words, there is no time when we “stop” being connected. There will always be an application waiting for us to enter, or a friend who will be looking for us to join an online game. Even when lying down, which is supposed to be a time to rest, we have a screen in front of us, which will be waiting for us to use it for that purpose. In addition, it is also curious that, when we are not playing, we can also consume content of that style, such as watching videos of YouTubers who are dedicated to streaming games.

In the case of children, the situation is a little more complex. Any parent will always want them protected, but it is really difficult to control what kinds of games they use. For example, the La Nación website mentions that "it is not the same that they play FIFA than Fortnite", since the latter has a component of violence that the former does not.

Although parental responsibility is important in these cases, it is also important to know that video games can be an excellent alternative to socialize in times of social isolation. Although we must control the time we spend in front of the screens -and even the type of content we consume-, technology can sometimes facilitate virtual closeness with friends.



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