Published by The Social Domain • July 17, 2023 • 2 min read

Boost your teens social skills with online gaming

Online gaming is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers, and for good reason. A virtual environment can serve as a safe emotional space. This supports interaction with one another and develops meaningful connections. Despite this, the topic of online gaming has often proven controversial. In this blog, we’ll explore how online gaming can positively impact your teen’s social development

Benefits of online gaming for people who are neurodiverse

To do well in most games, you need to be able to read social cues, cooperate with other players, and communicate your intentions effectively. This can be difficult for some neurodiverse people. Research has been completed by the Department of Information and Communication Technologies

(DTIC). It shows that spending time playing in a digital world can improve the quality of social interaction, making people feel more confident.

1. Games offer visually stimulating environments that enrich visual-spatial reasoning and pattern recognition.

Games can provide a unique form of entertainment for people who often have difficulty interacting with others. There can be a safe and controlled environment where people can practice their skills and potentially make friends. Games offer a fun and stimulating activity that people of all abilities can enjoy.

2. Online games encourage fantasy-based, imaginative play

This can be enjoyable for people with ASD showing a strong affinity for role-playing and action-adventure games. However, online games often tend to avoid the self-generated creative skills that many with ASD might find difficult.

3. Games provide visual and spatial clues.

Some people with ASD might have difficulty understanding abstract concepts, but games can give clear examples that explain these ideas.

4. Online games have clear, predetermined objectives with regular reinforcement.

People with ASD can often be drawn to repetition and routine. The unpredictability of human behaviour, social signals, humour, irony, and satire can be particularly difficult. Fears of the unknown create discomfort. Conversely, video games provide a secure environment with defined boundaries. The rules are constant, and the player knows what to expect. The social interaction also takes place in short bursts. This is ideal for people who often find extended social interactions overwhelming. Players can also take a break if they need to, without feeling like they have failed socially.

5. Online games can improve social skills.

Social skills are often utilised, reinforced and practised in gaming. This includes reciprocal speech, turn taking and good sportsmanship. Online gaming can also help your teen develop teamwork skills. Many games require players to work together to achieve a common goal, whether that’s completing a quest or winning a match. By working with others, your teen can learn how to delegate tasks, communicate effectively, and be a reliable team member. In addition to teamwork skills, online gaming can also help your teen develop leadership skills. Some games allow players to take on leadership roles within their team or guild.

6. Online gaming can support problem solving skills.

Online gaming can also help your teen develop problem-solving skills. Many games require players to think strategically and come up with creative solutions to overcome obstacles. By working through challenges and finding solutions, your teen can learn how to think critically and make decisions under pressure.

7. Inspires educational career paths.

Some individuals can learn about design, coding, and problem-solving depending on the game. This can open up lead to careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). These fields often provide great job opportunities.

8. Provides a sense of belonging

Lastly, online gaming can provide a sense of community and belonging for your teen. They can find like-minded individuals who share their interests and passions and form lasting friendships that extend beyond the game. This sense of belonging can improve your teen’s self-esteem and overall well-being.

Need support?

If you would like to explore options, the team at The Social Domain are here for you. We are specialists in supporting people with ASD, ADHD, and other social challenges.

1300 950 992