The esports industry is consolidated as a mainstream, popular activity. The accessibility of games to teenagers is undeniable, and embracing the esports ecosystem can help parents and educators with a wide diversity of subjects.
Playing games is a very common activity for people of all ages everywhere. With modern technology being present in our lives from a very young age, it’s difficult to forbid kids from unleashing their skills in online games, so instead of trying the denial path, it’s possible to conciliate esports and education, thus creating a receptive and beneficial environment to both kids and parents. Let’s take a look at how to make such an endeavor and its advantages of it!
Speaking the same language: bonding over mutual interests
One of the hardest things for parents and educators is bonding with youngsters and teenagers. Their brains work mostly differently than those of adults, and sometimes it’s hard to keep pace. Also, we have concerns and thoughts that younger people normally wouldn’t understand, which often makes it hard to have a topic of mutual interest to discuss.
Video games and esports come to the rescue in this matter. Due to their nature, they can be experienced and enjoyed by people of any age: while being extremely popular with teens, they’re also present in the life of most adults. Even if you never played video games before, it’s still an easy topic to have a nice conversation or an experience together.
Knowing about the internet also helps to protect teenagers. Undeniably, they will have access to the surface web, and monitoring what they’re doing without being invasive can be a real challenge. But bonding over a subject such as video games can help parents guide their kids and prevent them from entering this world alone, protecting them from shady groups that may recruit kids, celebrate school shooters, or encourage cyber-bullying, for instance.
Being part of a middle-school esports team: learning discipline and respect
Most esports teams have a strict policy regarding behavior, both online and in real life. Understanding that the internet must not be used to a malicious end is very important for technology aficionados. Also, learning the basics of what to do and what not to do can help kids to understand and respect their community.
Programs that require both excelling in the esports activity and meeting other goals are perfect for helping kids develop multiple skills at the same time. Traditional athletes also need to engage in regular school activities, and the esports sector isn’t any different. It can work as a wake-up call, just like a traditional sports competition. There are valuable skills to be obtained from esports, and they can be put to use for the benefit of the whole community or society.
It’s important, for instance, that the support staff of scholastic esports programs have allies on every front: political, social, and endemic. We might generally be doing a terrible job teaching kids to proactively use the Internet well, but initiatives at colleges, high schools, and middle schools can help fill that gap. Parents shouldn’t be ashamed of their limited knowledge — if that’s the case — but take this path together with their offsprings. Esports education is useful for every age!
The joy of being in a successful esports team
Being a part of esports tournaments brings the same adrenaline and excitement as a regular sports championship and, for some people, even more. Understanding the particularities of each individual is a very important step toward creating a more respectful and diverse environment.
Fostering esports teams and clubs is an intelligent maneuver to consolidate the kids’ aptitudes into a rewarding sense of duty and mutual respect. The social and emotional learning that comes from being accepted and part of a team is undeniable, and the team itself can help with the kids’ education.
The most vulnerable students also benefit from this feeling of accomplishment and develop in various aspects. Gaming together with friends, whether competitively or not, brings that feeling of acceptance, being part of something bigger, and students leave feeling inspired. An esports team presents an opportunity to help kids to socialize, develop, and learn, and boosts their self-esteem.
Esports teams help with control and orientation
Another benefit of esports in middle schools is instilling the idea of responsibility. Setting a condition like “you can play video games if your grade is X” is possible, and it can help the teenager understand that they cannot only play video games the whole time. Competitive video gaming has many aspects, and getting a healthy and active life helps esports players succeed in their professions or hobbies.
This way, parents and educators can have a better understanding of the kids’ environment and behavior and, if needed, offer psychological help. It’s not rare to see middle school programs that have a very inclusive and comprehensive approach, bringing together the esports team, the parents, and the teachers.
Also, it’s important to remind that most teams have tough team rules and schedules, which helps build the notion of responsibility. By making the players feel welcome and respected, they elicit the same behavior from them, which in the long run helps build a better society — both online and offline. It can also work as a motivation for kids who love to play video games but struggle at school — by setting up minimum grade scores required to participate in the esports team, for instance.
Being part of an esports team is never an easy job — from middle school level to college students, but enforcing and teaching clear policies can help cement values such as friendship, respect, responsibility, and honor.
Learning from video games
Beyond the college scholarships, which are already a reality, video games can help to empower students’ career pathways in many senses. Collegiate esports teams help the industry itself to grow, which makes many career opportunities available, but it’s much harder to get into esports clubs if you never played video games competitively before. It’s also important to notice that some technical education can come from games as well: languages, for instance.
In a practical sense, playing video games helps enhance motor abilities, reflexes, time management, strategic thinking, social skills, career prospects, and more, and also develops soft skills in many students. By positively balancing the amount of games students play with hard work on school and college curriculums, esports clubs help contribute to their bright future in a few key ways. For instance, many of those gamer kids want to take some very specific paths, especially STEM careers.
Same as with traditional sports, many teenagers wishing to pursue esports careers can also be recruited into teams. At the collegiate and pro levels, they’ll need to have a special dedication to keep the bar high.
Many colleges have programs to this end — here’s the full list of colleges with esports programs in the United States.
Most kids generally game. This undeniable fact can be treated as positive or negative, but not a single student will pass through middle school and not hear about video games. Channeling the benefits of esports to promote a better education can reflect positively on many aspects of personal development, and this is already being applied in programs around the world. It’s something that helps a student in many areas, as well as the communication with parents and educators, and can even benefit the school itself, being an interesting branding opportunity, with kids’ team jerseys, for instance. In the esports industry, new players are always welcome and important.
When leveraged to teach about the internet and model behavior or to enhance motor skills, esports can be beneficial to the whole community and teenagers as a part of it, shaping the internet culture and teaching social and physical values. An overwhelming majority of those valuable skills are part of our everyday lives. Also, scholastic esports programs help in keeping students safe and motivated and help passionate gamers and internet-savvy students fully develop their unique abilities.
In other words, joining an esports team can be fun and rewarding, giving students, parents, and educators good reasons to also be part of it!
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