At this moment, the novel coronavirus pandemic needs no introduction. This is because the pandemic is almost everywhere around the world. With the number of confirmed cases, as well as death, increasing every day, we can hardly talk about anything today without considering the effects of the coronavirus disease. As a result of the lockdown and stay-at-home orders in many countries globally, many people are isolated from their lovers, friends, colleagues, and family members. As a result of this, loneliness has become commonplace today for a lot of individuals.
Since this loneliness is unavoidable for anyone that wants to stay safe, the only solution left is to find a way to deal with it. Luckily, it has been shown that a couple of activities can reduce the effects of loneliness during this trying time. One of these activities is playing video games.
How can video games ease loneliness during this pandemic? Let’s take a look at how video games can perform this function.
Benefits of gaming during this period
Tons of psychological and social benefits have been associated with video games. Individuals that usually play online games are known to have higher levels of self-esteem, a powerful feeling of social identity, and lower chances of experiencing loneliness. In addition to the above, playing games also make the players work together to achieve a particular objective; hence, they tend to have a feeling of community and comradeship. Playing video games online can now offer as many benefits as party games would have done before this coronavirus crisis.
Moreover, the majority of the online games available today involve in-game chat. This can happen through text or voice chat. Therefore, as they continue to play the game, they also enjoy some forms of communication. That is, they can keep in touch with other individuals; thus, getting a chance to ease the loneliness during this coronavirus pandemic.
In many countries, COVID-19 has forced numerous people to stay at home. This means that they may not be able to meet their family and friends physically, which further increases loneliness. However, they can now stay connected to their friends and family virtually when playing games. In some cases, players can use private servers to host online games so that they can invite only their friends and family to join. Therefore, people can use games to set time where they can play and still meet people they know.
During this coronavirus pandemic, loneliness is heavily linked to isolation, stress, anxiety, and overthinking that are associated with the problem going on around us. However, if people can get some forms of distractions, they may be able to forget about the issues and handle their loneliness better.
As noted by Steam, a well-known PC video game provider, there was a record-breaking number of users on the platform during the penultimate week of March. According to the statistics, most of the gamers played adrenaline-rushing action games. Similarly, Vlambeer enabled its users to play one of its popular games, Nuclear Throne, at a 90% discount. This kind of game offers people the kind of distractions they need to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Games help them to escape from the reality of the pandemic that is currently cutting many lives short.
Fortunately, many gaming platforms are helping more players to join and play games. Game developers are an important part of the community and want to contribute to helping people during this difficult time. While some are allowing gamers to play for free, others are giving them significant discounts. The platforms are trying to ensure that money does not stop the people from getting relief during this trying period.
Possible adverse outcomes
As explained above, video games offer several benefits that can help in dealing with isolation and loneliness during this coronavirus crisis. Nonetheless, we cannot help but notice some of the problems associated with playing video games. As people spend more time online, they are more exposed to certain levels of toxicity. Gamers and other people online can hardly avoid the possibility of facing online harassment. Notably, young gamers are at higher risk of harassment than other older players. People, especially children, and young adults may also be exposed to some social vices that may affect their wellbeing. Game-related spending is another challenge that online gaming may cause.
However, people cannot stop playing games because of the possible adverse outcomes. Therefore, it is essential to find a way to cope with the problem. Parents should monitor their kids as they play games. Similarly, adults should be cautious about the possible problems of playing games online during this time and mitigate them.