In my last article I shared four reasons why your child plays video games and promised that in this post I would share how, by learning about the types of games your child plays, you will better understand what the best alternative activities would be for him or her.
Before I go into that, though, I wanted to first explain the different genres of games. To help you with this, my friends Rosalind Wiseman, the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, and Charlie Kuhn put together a fantastic slidedeck, “Understanding Gaming Lingo As A Parent, Educator And School Administrator.”
A few of the other key terms you’ll want to know are:
- Grinding: Games in which you “level up” require you to gain a certain amount of XP (experience) by completing different tasks or missions. As your character’s level increases, the amount of XP you need to reach the next level increases. Grinding is plugging away at a certain element of the game to do so.
- Clan: This is your team or the group you associate with. There is always a clan name and a leader or leadership structure, and it’s common for there to be a private chat for clan members only. Clan matches pit one clan against the other.
- Twitch: The world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. More than 45 million gamers stream Twitch games every month. It’s the place to go online to watch other gamers play.
- MMORPG: This refers to a “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game,” and includes games such as World of Warcraft. These games have millions of players and large communities outside of the game in forums and online channels on YouTube or Twitch.
- FPS: This refers to a “First-Person Shooter” type of game like Fortnite, Call-of-Duty and Counter-Strike.
- RPG: This refers to a “Role-Playing Game” type of game like Skyrim, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, and The Witcher.
- PvP: These are games or elements of games that are Player vs. Player.
- n00b: This is short for newbie, which refers to a new player who is doing poorly at the game. A n00b can also refer to any other player who is playing with cluelessness.
The Personality of a Gamer
Gamers have certain personality traits and these personalities are influenced by gaming culture. A common mistake parents make when they approach their child to discuss their gameplay is that they don’t take these personality traits into consideration. In doing so, their son or daughter can become triggered and less likely to be open to the conversation.
I’ll go into more depth about personality traits in future blog posts, but for now what I want you to know is that gamers are naturally defensive about their games. They’re defensive because they feel misunderstood and have felt this way for a long time since society typically approaches gamers with judgment and shame, creating stigma and separation.
This separation is at the root of why you find it difficult to connect with your son or daughter when it comes to their gaming habits or to have more influence in changing their gaming behavior. It’s also one of the reasons why, as we discussed in my last article, your child is drawn to games in the first place: They are able to find a community of like-minded peers who understand them and share a similar struggle in the world.
If you want to break through to your son or daughter when it comes to their gaming behavior then the importance of building greater rapport, especially around gaming, cannot be understated. By understanding and being able to speak in the same gaming lingo as your child, he or she will feel less judgment and separation, creating an opportunity to get connected and influence a shift in their behavior.
Here’s a task to try this week: I want you to learn about the games your son or daughter is playing. Ask them what they like about the game, what different activities they get to experience through the game and how it makes them feel. In doing so, you’ll increase your knowledge about their gaming experience and be able to leverage this into helping them find similar experiences through other activities.
In my next article I’ll share specific alternative activity ideas for your child based on the genre of games they play. If you have any questions or comments you can reach out to me here.
To learn more about how to help someone you love with a gaming addiction, read Respawn.