How to balance your gaming life with your ‘real’ life?

Like everything in our lives, there should be a balance, whether that be work, relationships, sports, or anything else that has a deep impact upon us daily. Gaming has become a large part of our everyday lives, therefore we should strive to harmonize it with other elements, how it works in our everyday lives and what we can do to ensure our ‘Gaming/Life Balance’ doesn’t become uneven.

The Retrospective View

Looking at anything that is new and popular always brings concerns for people who may not be directly involved with it. For example, a parent that has never gamed and is unfamiliar with it may view their children as being ‘obsessed’ with it. When speaking to other parents you may find they worry about this new trend deepening their concerns and so goes the circle of doubt. The question is doubt justified or is it borne purely from to a collective sense of apprehension or perhaps something in between?

Gaming might seem new to a lot of people and certainly, with the huge surge in popularity over the last few years, it has come to the attention of people who might have never been involved with gaming before. But in reality, gaming has been around for decades. The 1st Generation of Home Consoles we’re built between 1967-and 1976 and consisted of games like Pong. Although these systems were popular the gaming industry didn’t see its real Boom till 1977 with the Atari 2600. The Atari 2600 sold approx 30 Million Units and if you compare it to today’s standard the Xbox 1 has sold 29.4 Million Units. The reason we are bringing you back to the start of home consoles is to show that even though 40 years may have passed and people are worried about the ‘New’ gaming landscape, in truth it has been around for 40+ years.

Our view on health and awareness of potentially harmful mediums is more prevalent today than it ever has been and this bleeds into the gaming space more than most other forms of media.

How did people in the 1970’s/1980’s deal with ‘Gaming/Life balance’? They didn’t have to, there was no Facebook or internet to tell them gaming was bad and they had to control their gaming/life balance themselves. It was a medium that they enjoyed, whether with the family or at the arcade after school. This generation of ‘gamers’ led to the possibilities we have today, enhancing the imagination of what is possible, and went on to be one of the world’s best assets- ‘computer engineers/programmers/developers and more.

But that was a different time and we can’t expect to follow in their footprints. The world is different now and we must take that into consideration

The Pro-active View

So with a little history into what gaming was and how they dealt with their gaming/life balance, let’s look at today, how today’s values are portrayed, how taking a bit from the past and looking into the future could give us the best ‘Gaming/Life Balance’ of all.

In today’s gaming landscape there is more choice for ‘gamers’ than ever before with 3 heavyweight gaming companies fighting out for market share and several other smaller ones. Although as mentioned previously the Atari sold the same as one of the leaders of this generation the Xbox 1 which isn’t a true reflection of today’s landscape. The Playstation 4 has sold over 100m units, Nintendo has sold over 34m Nintendo Switches bringing the amount of the big 3 combined to over 170m units, a far cry from Atari’s dominance of 40m. This has shown that gaming has increased substantially in the past 40 years. Of course, new technology and new ideas have driven the sales of these systems but it is also the marketing capabilities of today’s generations that have really pushed up the sales and accessibility of gaming. With that brings a new range of positives and negatives to take into consideration.

Many people put work/life balance at the top of their list and to associate work and gaming in the same category with something as important as life health might sound a little bit odd but as with everything that takes up a lot of your daily activities, it is crucial to control.

The average child spends 2 hours a day playing video games. This will shock many of you as memories of being young ourselves and playing outside, doing homework, having dinner, etc we wouldn’t have the time to interact with such a medium, but this is the current state of play, and its growing 10% year on year. This might also be a worry to many of you as ‘playing games can be seen as a frivolous exercise that ‘dumbs the brain’. This can’t be further from the truth. If you take the average child watching TV, it is estimated that children between the age of 6 – and 11 watch approximately 4 hours of TV a day. Some would argue that TV can be educational, especially children’s shows but isn’t gaming actually more educational?

Benefits of Gaming Vs TV

We have conducted a survey of just over 1000 parents in Ireland and also taken onboard research from a number of educational institutions/papers such as Research Gate, Game Learning, Psychology Today & Tech Learning

As you can see above, the benefits of video games over TV are quite considerable (we understand there are more benefits & problems that we haven’t addressed above, regardless, it should give the reader a good idea).

Let’s take ‘Problem Solving Skills’. We have found and are subject ourselves to this as gamers for over 30 years that one of the biggest benefits of gaming is the ability to increase your problem-solving skills over any other medium. Take Minecraft, Minecraft gives you the ability to craft items into other items, build structures, solve mechanics, and more. The ability to gain this skill at such a young age is unheard of even in the ‘real world’.

So how does this all work into the ‘Gaming/Life Balance’ one should strife for themselves and their kids? It’s not a simple answer but there are ways that can help you achieve it.

Moderation – Awareness – Excercise

Everything should be taken in moderation and is just good practice for everyday activities and this includes Gaming. Whether that is 30 minutes a day or 2 hours, make sure your child is aware of this and keep to a routine so as not to surprise them when they cant play at a certain time.

Make yourself aware of what games your kids are playing and how long a game lasts. For instance, a round of Fortnite is approx 25 minutes. If you know this you can better understand where your child is in the game and what expectations to set.

Always exercise, yes your brain might be exercising when playing games but you need physical exercise as well. Get your child to take breaks from gaming and go play with friends outside or even better go with them and engage in an activity with them

We’re not saying we have all the answers, but knowing how much time to play, what’s involved in gaming, and getting enough exercise can change anyone’s opinion on gaming and you never know you might become the next gamer yourself

We have covered a lot in this piece and have jumped around a bit but we hope that the above will give you a bit of insight into gaming and taking into consideration gaming has been around for so long, the key benefits, and how to have a successful ‘Gaming/Life Balance’.

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