In the beginning, my son’s interest in video games was just about playing the game.
Soon, the creating and the learning morphed into a strong desire to compete. As my son was driven to outdo his previous scores and conquests, his stamina and persistence grew.
Gaming is serious to him, like a full-time job that counts on his important work.
My TBP gets irritated with me when my patience grows thin and I look to YouTube for hints or tutorials. He considers this cheating and is frustrated by my dishonorable actions. I think of this as research and My TBP believes that this questionable act should be held only for the rarest of moments.
He went from the literal level of just playing, to competing against himself and now there has been an elevated level of participation that makes this favorite pastime even more enjoyable, even more important.
The social aspect.
My son is an only child; he is highly introverted and often uncomfortable in groups of unknown people. He is hesitant of his social skills in “real life” but he is very comfortable, even a leader, when he is socializing with his gaming crew. Since my son is truly a talented gamer for his age, he is confident, knowing that he has a lot to offer.
Because of safety issues, I stay in the room while my TBP uses a mic to communicate with online players. As I listen to the conversations, it is clear that mine is using the very social skills that could be hard for him in person. The kind words, the encouragement, and the camaraderie that accompanies a group activity is all there.
There are certain players that he tries to play with; they are all kids that have been repeatedly warned about online safety so no one shares their REAL names or ages. I smile when I listen to them assisting each other, reviving each other, using their unusual and comical user names.
As an adult, I can’t help but wonder about these names. Were they selected for them? Do they have some hidden meaning?
I don’t think my son cares or even wonders; he is just glad that they are.
When my son was younger, we tried soccer and baseball. Although he was good at hitting the ball when it was his time with the coach, the waiting between turns and the sensory aspects were just too much. It wasn’t that we thought he would have a passion for the sports, but we knew that feeling of belonging to a group could be wonderful. That camaraderie.
Currently, he has found that feeling playing on-line games with “friends” when they plan to meet and work to beat their latest accomplishments.
I hope that this new confidence and growth in social skills will transfer into the land of face to face.
I am hopeful.