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Does computer gaming make you lonely?

2 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Copyright: Florian Gaertner/photothek.de

When young people are fascinated by something, they can lose themselves completely in it. When playing sports or reading an exciting book, this is usually pleasing; when playing computer games excessively, it causes most adults more concern. At the latest when you have the feeling that your child is neglecting his or her social environment, you will ask yourself: Does computer gaming make you lonely?

Computer games and loneliness

Computer gaming doesn’t make you lonely any more than it makes you aggressive. However, teenagers who play a lot of computer games can be quite lonely. The question of why is important!

Loneliness can be a consequence of computer game addiction. When young people have the urge to play more and more often and for longer periods of time, social (offline) contacts, other hobbies and activities have little room left. Friends and family may turn away. Crucially, there is a trigger for such an addiction and those affected often want to distract themselves from negative feelings by playing computer games.

Sometimes it’s the other way around and teens can become addicted to computer games because they are lonely. Those who feel they don’t get enough attention in the real world may find it in the virtual world. However, the supposed solution makes the problem worse: retreating to offline life leads to more isolation and low self-confidence.

Find out when there is a risk of addiction and what you can do as a parent in our article on computer game addiction. Genuinely addictive behavior like this is rather rare.

More media use in times of Corona:

When social contacts have to be restricted and hardly any leisure activities outside the home or sports in the club are possible – as in times of a pandemic – the daily media usage time increases among children and young people. This has also been shown in studies (such as that of the DAK). Have a look at this without condemning increased media usage time. Because your child wants to stay in touch with friends and experience something together. This works especially well in computer games. Consider together if there are alternatives or a good balance to this. For example, you can do family game nights together. But also remember that social contact with peers is important for your child. Special times require special rules! This can also apply to media usage time.

Social contacts while playing computer games

Most successful games can be played together. In games development, this is called network capability. For most gamers, it is precisely playing together that is appealing. A headset and a chat are used to communicate with each other. In team-based games such as the popular League of Legends, it’s especially important to be able to communicate well with each other.

If your child plays a lot of computer games, keep in mind that he or she may well be interacting with others, having fun, and perhaps even being really social. Show interest in his hobby and let him tell you about it. You should take notice, however, if you feel that playing on the team is becoming a regular obligation, leaving no room for other hobbies or activities. Talk openly with your child about your concerns and consider together how he or she can achieve a healthy balance between computer games and other activities.
BTW: This applies not only to computer gaming, but also to other media activities such as watching TV or using social media.

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