Every single kid who likes video games has heard, at some point during his life, a parent, or another adult, tell him that he should go outside and play sports instead. Obviously, some kids play a lot more sports than others.
Nowadays, a lot of kids and teens don’t only play video games, but also watch them. Websites like Twitch allow pretty much anyone with a computer to live stream their gaming to the world, youtube allows people to create Let’s plays and other gaming videos, and obviously the big tournaments and matches in Starcraft II, League of Legends, etc. create a pretty big “watching video games” market.
While a lot of parents are very flexible to this new technology and allow their kids to play video games, I have noticed significant objection to kids watching video games, even from the most “games-friendly” parents. Those objections usually look like this:
- Why would you watch someone else play?
- Don’t you have this game?
- Are you just bad at the game?
- How is it fun to watch someone else having fun in your place?
On the other hand, half of the adults I know watch sports, and the rest never complains about the half that does. I may be wrong, but this feels like the exact same thing, watching people play a game that you won’t play yourself, or at least are not playing right now. Even more, the only advantage that sports have over video games, getting in shape, is completely lost when you compare watching sports to watching video games.
The problem certainly does not come from the “social” part, since I saw no difference on this topic when the kids play/watch alone or with friends.
Lastly, when I mentioned this to some of the parents I had overheard, they usually respond with empty answers like
- It’s not the same thing
- Sports are interesting
Basically, I feel like they have no idea, but cognitive dissonance finds a way to rationalize it through one of those meaningless answers. So what’s the deal?