What Game Genres Teach You About Your Child

This article originally appeared on addiction.com.

In this piece I want to share with you how, by understanding the genres of games your child plays, you can learn about their interests and help them find new activities they will enjoy.

You may not know it yet, but the type of game children play gives many clues as to what their interests are and how they are inspired to engage in the world. Each game genre brings with it a different experience and will provide insight into what they are interested in and motivated by.

There are a variety of game genres, so today I am going to focus on four: Mobile, First Person Shooter (FPS), Role-Playing Games (RPG), and Real-Time Strategy (RTS).

  • Mobile Games are played on smartphones, iPads and other tablets. Popular games include “Clash of Clans,” “Farmville,” “ Candy Crush ” and “Subway Surfers.” If children play mobile games they’re likely playing them during downtime and/or in between activities. The chance is high it has become their go-to activity whenever they feel bored and they simply don’t know what else they can do during this time. Great alternatives to mobile games are reading books, listening to podcasts or learning how to draw.
  • First Person Shooter (FPS) games are action-packed and emphasize missions, a quick reaction time and a desire for competition. In FPS games your child is the character. The insight to gather here is that they enjoy the game from the character’s perspective. Alternative activities to FPS games are achievement- and goal-based activities, including sports, martial arts or learning an instrument.
  • Role-Playing Games (RPG) give your child the opportunity to be a specific character and have a strong storyline component. If your child plays RPGs they enjoy contributing to a story. Alternative activities include drama or theatre, filmmaking or anything that allows them to be creative.
  • Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games involve participants who position and maneuver units and structures to secure areas of a map or to destroy their opponents’ assets. Popular RTS games include “Starcraft” and “Age of Empires.” RTS games have a strong strategic component to them. Puzzles and other board games, including chess, are examples of alternative activities. Similar to gamers who play FPS games, gamers who play RTS games have a desire for competition and finding this motivation in new activities is important.

In the next week or two, I’d like you to identify the main genres of games your son or daughter plays. These may vary, and it’s common for gamers to play different games depending on their mood. Be curious and pay attention to when they play the different type of game, and make sure you ask them what they enjoy about each game. You can then pinpoint real-life substitute activities that will get your child up and moving.

To learn more about how to help someone you love with a gaming addiction, read Respawn.

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