The coronavirus pandemic has changed what the everyday “norm” looks like for millions of people across the United States. Stock prices for popular streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu have skyrocketed these past weeks, and online shopping has all but broken the internet. The gaming industry is also thriving. Our traffic is even up 60% on March compared to February!
Read on to learn more about how gaming can help you socialize and stay busy during the coronavirus.
Demand in the Gaming World
It is not just video streaming services and online shops that are benefiting during a time when people are social distancing and self-quarantining. The gaming industry too. In fact, sales of video games jumped to 32% in February when the virus first broke out in China. Similar numbers in video game participation are found across America as well.
Before the pandemic, video games may have gotten an otherwise negative rap. But during this time of uncertainty, people have turned to video games as a way to help pass the time and ease the stress.
Rebuild Your Social Community
Before the coronavirus hit, nearly everyone had their set schedule and routine in place; however, the sudden lifestyle change upended the routine of millions across our nation.
From teens sleeping in on a weekday to parents working remotely without a baseline of when work stopped and ended, the coronavirus has done away with the normal schedule and routine of life. For 80% of people, this loss of routine is critical.
With the absence of routine, many people have lost their social community outside of their family. But the good news is, gaming during quarantine can help alleviate social isolation because many games allow you to play with others across the globe in real-time.
If you do not like the idea of playing with strangers, then playing with your neighbor next door or your best friend in another town can be a great way to maintain your sense of social community. And with many games giving you the ability to talk to players in real-time, you should have no problem reconnecting with your friends outside of your family.
Video Games Can Help Establish “A New Normal”
Having an online game to go to at a set time with a specific group of people can help you create a schedule that will be your temporary new normal.
Not only will this give you a sense of consistency throughout your day, but it will help to alleviate some of the stress of not knowing what to do with yourself during quarantine.
And speaking of reducing stress, video games can do an excellent job of distracting you from what is going on outside the walls of your home. For many people, constant news media updates on the pandemic can be nerve-racking, distressing, and downright scary.
Video games, no matter the game you settle on, bring with them an element of joy and distraction. This pocket of comfort makes it easy to find the silver lining during a global pandemic.
Tap into Your Creative Outlet
Perhaps one of the best aspects of online gaming during the coronavirus pandemic is the fact that you still get to tap into your creative outlet.
Whether you’re playing a first-person shooter game, solving a puzzle game, playing a competitive racing game, or a quick session of Candy Crush on your iPhone, video games give you the ability to think creatively and solve complex problems.
During a time of quarantine, it is unsurprising that opportunities for creativity may be limited. However, through video games, you can regain that creativity and joy. There are even studies that show creativity gained from video games can help you perform better at work.
Get Your Family to Join in on the Fun
Who says you have to go at it alone when it comes to video games? There are plenty of games and gaming consoles that allow you to bring your family in on the action.
Some great games that allow you to include siblings or parents include racing games like Need for Speed or competitive shooting games like Call of Duty. For younger siblings, you can pop in age-appropriate mission games like Mario or FIFA for some friendly competition.
Incorporate Video Games into the Academic Curriculum
Across the United States, many states have shut down the school year either for an indeterminate period of time or for the remainder of the school year. This has left many parents scrambling to become home school teachers.
The beauty of video games is that not all of them serve the purpose of just entertainment. Many video games have an educational element to them. For example, online math games like Prodigy allow your children to have fun and get engaged while learning essential math concepts and skills.
There Is a Video Game for Everyone
Don’t think that you’re a gamer? As we mentioned earlier, there is something for everyone when it comes to video games. For people who like to be active, a great gaming system that offers lots of fun and lots of movement is the Wii console.
There are many fitness games that are meant to be used in conjunction with your body’s movement. You can do everything from bowling to running to boxing an opponent. There are also plenty of games that make working out fun with dance parties.
And because you are likely not able to go out and hit the gym either during this pandemic, playing a physically demanding fitness game can give you the added benefit of sneaking in a workout.
If you don’t have a gaming console or prefer playing traditional board games like Scrabble, chances are you will be able to find a downloadable game on devices like phones and laptops.
By taking these popular games and adding a virtual element to them, it’s a great way to get players of all ages involved.
With the rise of gaming technologies, a top favorite gaming accessory for many is virtual reality gaming. With virtual reality headsets, players will feel like they are actually in the game. This growing industry and level of entertainment is truly an experience, and it is a great way to help you steer clear of boredom during your quarantine.
Time Flies by When You Are Having Fun
For many people across the nation, the quarantine period has easily dipped into the three-week mark. No matter how well-stocked your home is or how much entertainment you have around you, chances are most anyone can get bored staying quarantined for a three week or more time period.
When you’re bored, time moves more slowly and having to stay indoors is often that much more difficult. Video and online gaming can help pass the time and make the long days feel shorter.
Practice Safety Measures When You Are Playing Video Games
Gaming is often frowned upon or viewed as a waste of time, but for many families, it can be the thing that helps you get through this challenging time together.
While gaming is beneficial, there are some things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that video games become an asset in your household and not a liability. Here are some measures to keep in place when it comes to gaming during the coronavirus.
Be Sure the Games Being Played Are Age-Appropriate
Whether you are a parent or an older sibling playing with younger siblings, make sure the video games that are being played by the player are age-appropriate.
- Always check out a game before your child buys, downloads, or plays
- Pay attention to ratings and subject matter
- If your children play with others, make sure you know who they are playing with
- Consider blocking certain games or sites
Be sure to go over these gaming safety guidelines to protect your kids when they are online.
Set a Schedule for Your Video Game Time
It is easy to get sucked into a game and stay on it for hours. Research shows time and time again that video games can become addicting to the point that players will skip meals and sleep just to get in some screen time.
One of the best ways to avoid this is by setting a strict schedule that you stick with. Try not to incorporate a long stretch of video game time throughout your day. Instead, break up your video game time into two parts so that you have something to look forward to earlier in the day and then again later in the day.
Try to limit your video game screen time to anywhere between one and two hours a day. This amount goes down for younger children. Increased screen time, including video games, may lead to issues like:
- Lack of sleep
- Sore eyes
- Disrupted sleep patterns
If you live in a household where there is more than one player, then be sure to keep a tight schedule so that everybody gets some game time in. One of the best ways to get everyone playing is by setting “game time” during a specific part of your day where everyone is present in the video game.
Not only that, but by having the video game console in a shared room, players are more likely to keep with the allotted time period that was set out for gaming.
Keep the Video Game Console in a Shared Family Room
If you live in a household with several children, then the most practical thing to do is to keep the living room or shared family room as the video game hub. There are a couple of advantages for when you keep your video game consoles in a room that everyone has access to.
For starters, parents and older siblings will be able to make sure that players are playing appropriate games for their age.
Not only that but by having the video game console in a shared room, players are more likely to keep with the allotted time period that was set out for gaming.
Perhaps the most beneficial purpose of keeping the video games in a shared family space is the fact that you are not isolating yourself from the rest of the family.
It is difficult enough to be isolated from friends, co-workers, and other people outside of your family. When you further separate yourself from your family members during a vulnerable time such as this, you open up the door to more loneliness than you need.
All in all, when you can play your video games in a room that has other people around you in it, you will maintain your social support that is essential during this global pandemic.
Do Not Forget to Sanitize After Playing
While it might sound silly, after each video game session, be sure to thoroughly sanitize the video game console and controller.
If you have someone in your household that is considered an essential employee, then the chance of you encountering the coronavirus automatically goes up because that individual is leaving your house every day. It is important to maintain the highest level of safety so as not to spread unnecessary germs.
If you have several people touching the gaming controllers throughout the day, you could be spreading germs. The best way to stop the spread is by sanitizing the gaming controllers, consoles, and any other gaming accessories that you touch. Spraying down your items with sanitizing wipes. Make sure the cleaner is safe for plastic controllers or other gaming devices.
Final Thoughts on Video Games During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly changed the lives of so many across the globe and our nation. While many of us are struggling with the lack of face-to-face social interaction, as well as stress and fear of the coronavirus, gaming can bring some light into the situation.
So whether you are a lover of gaming or are new to it, there’s no doubt that video games can play an important role in helping you get through this unprecedented time.