Online gaming is a popular past time among children and young adults in many parts of the world. The widespread use of Internet technologies, the ready availability of consumer technology devices, rich online graphics, and exciting gameplay are some of the factors that promote online gaming in the modern world. In recent times, researchers and market surveys have estimated that electronic games have generated billions of dollars in annual revenues for game makers and developers. Millions of players around the world have engaged themselves in immersive gameplay in a variety of online environments. One of the important aspects of such gaming is that it helps socially inhibited persons to improve their social habits and connect with friends, peers, and colleagues. Some studies have found that shy or socially inhibited persons that play online games can overcome their social difficulties and create new friendships. We will examine this benefit in some detail in the paragraphs below.
Better social skills – Online gamers interact with a variety of players in the course of gameplay in the cyber domain. This helps a socially inhibited person to improve his or her social skills and engage with a wide community of players. Live chats on the game screen and voice conversations with fellow gamers help such persons to interact with a wide online community. Over time, such practices can help them overcome their natural shyness and participate actively in gaming activities. Some of these benefits help online gamers to integrate better with society in the real world.
Group celebration – Every member of an online gaming community is an active participant in electronic recreational activities. These online domains encourage group participation and spur the development of team spirit while promoting fair play. Socially inhibited persons that enrol in online gaming can improve their communications skills when playing in a group against sets of online ‘adversaries’. These actions and activities inculcate the feeling of belonging to a community. Celebrations that follow a winning streak help to cement the team spirit and encourage fellow bonding. The feeling of belonging that follows is priceless because it empowers game players to bond with communities in the workplace and in the real world.
Faster decisions – The ubiquity of fast broadband speeds and the evolution of raw computing power has enabled game designers to create faster games that demand players hone their mental faculties. This aspect of modern gaming helps the socially inhibited to interact at a deeper level with the digital action as it unfolds on the screen or console. Consequently, players must adapt quickly and react faster to participate in the evolving gameplay. Their neural systems become accustomed to quicker reactions; this helps to improve their conversation skills and encourages them to engage at deeper levels with their social circles. In addition, consistent but controlled exposure to online gaming can enable socially inhibited to create and sustain new friendships. The outcomes of such creation and interaction allow them to be more ‘social’ in their everyday lives.
Empathy – Academic researchers have noted that participants in online gaming can undergo positive changes in their personality. Participants in ‘pro-social’ online games have reported higher levels of empathy for strangers and people facing a distress situation. Certain experiments have confirmed the fact because gamers under observation tended to demonstrate stronger levels of fellow feeling for other human beings. This behavioral aspect of playing video games is significant because it reveals the power of certain video games in positively shaping human behavior. In light of these facts, we may state that online gaming can offer strong benefits that help socially inhibited persons to improve their personalities and social behavior.
The paragraphs above delineate some of the benefits conferred by participation in online gaming systems. We must bear in mind that electronic gaming often helps gamers to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. Socially inhibited individuals can gain immensely when they engage themselves in immersive gaming activities. They can apply the lessons and strategies learnt in the cyber domain, to their interactions with fellow human beings in the real world. This enables them to make a positive contribution to society and emerge as model citizens.
This article was written exclusively for Gaming360 by Chandini Khanna