When it comes to the modern generation of children, there is a unique double-edged sword issue that awaits. While we live in an era of technological fulfilment and uplifting, we’ve also never been more aware of our bodies and our diets. What we eat and how we live are absolutely essential parts of taking part in modern society. Trying to avoid putting too much burden on our lives physically, though, can be hard. The pace of modern life and the challenges we face in eating affordable, healthy foods can be hard to adjust to.
For many busy parents looking to help their children stay inspired and mentally busy, this provides a few solutions – especially video games. The ability to give your child interactive worlds to play with helps them to expand their critical thinking, problem solving, and creative freedom. However, the plug-and-play nature of games means that many children simply enjoy spending all day playing their video console.
Ironically, more children are taking to playing sports that we would play in the street on video games consoles. Popular video games that ape popular sports like basketball, soccer, and combat sports means that many fans of these sports play indoors on their games consoles.
While that might seem like a good thing in some ways, with young, passionate athletes honing their game whether indoors or outdoors, many choose the former over the latter. The would instead choose to play online with their friends instead of form an actual sports club and play together in person.
The problem with participation
Part of the problem that we have with an increasingly digitised world is that we separate ourselves from the real world. We find ourselves so comfortable online, whether talking, shopping, or entertaining ourselves, that we often forget to do things in the real world. You can pass many hours online doing whatever you wish – time flies when you are hooked up to the web. However, this creates participation related problems.
The problem is this: so many children and youths are comfortable sitting at home, online, that they don’t get involved in outdoor social events. This hurts participation numbers, meaning that those who do wish to take part in the real thing are often left without enough people to play alongside. Parents are happy, though, as their children are safe and within their sights at home.
This is not just a new problem, though – this has been going on for some time. It’s a worldwide issue, with the number of people attending sports matches in person dwindling. The problem is nobody seems to mind too much.
If you can watch your favourite sports team at home, and play as your favourite sports stars in a video game, why bother attending or playing the real thing?
You’ll have more fun avoiding traffic and watching the match at home. You’ll be less likely to get injured or to have a bad time if you just choose to play your chosen sport online. The only problem that this creates is that there are not enough people actually taking part in things going on outside.
Solving the issue
The problem that we have is that with over 800 sports played worldwide, the sheer volume is so divided. The fact that the internet opens our minds to sports we might never have the chance to play locally, too, is an issue. If someone starts to watch a sport they cannot find a place to play locally, they’ll simply watch it instead of try to boost participation numbers.
While global sports like soccer will always produce football coaches and football academies, the appeal of instant games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer means many soccer fans will play at home. This creates a culture whereby the shortened length of a match in a sports video game becomes the average length of time that a participant will pay attention to.
If you are used to an entire 90-minute match happening in the space of 10-15 minutes, it’s hard to stay focused for the full 90 minutes. This leads to participation numbers falling as people see they can complete several digital matches in the time it takes to play one real match.
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Is there a solution?
The main solution is to try and lessen the availability of such easy access digital products at home. If they are to be at home, then some form of curfew could be useful. You could ask your children to participate in an hour or so of social sports with a friend or friends beforehand. This makes a lot of sense as it means that your child can enjoy the best of both worlds.
We should not look to exclude our children from being able to enjoy digital products. Even for those who wish to be athletes, sporting video games and other tools online for watching and analysing sports can be wonderfully educational. The important thing is to strike a balance of having less games, and more sports.
This will ensure that your children spend more time engaging in sporting events that build up their physical, mental, and sporting capacity. It will make them more socially minded, too, helping to improve their ability to communicate with others around them.
However, don’t just think of ‘games’ as video games and other electronic games. Often, a big problem that can limit physical activity for children will stem from having a lack of focus. Finding your children quality teachers and coaches, especially football coaches, can play a huge role in keeping them physically active.
So long as they have someone they respect helping them to play a sport they enjoy, they’ll get far more out of the experience. They’ll also get to enjoy a far more satisfying experience as they’ll get to learn about the sport. Instead of aimless physical games just meant to pass the time, get your children playing an actual sport that has athletic and social value.
Games are not just played on the computer – the more competitive, genuine action you can have your children taking part in, the better. Don’t deny them time with electronic devices; instead, make sure they spend their physical time doing things they enjoy and can learn from in the long-term. Get them spending more time taking part in sports, and you’ll see your children become more excited and ambitious with regards to physical activity.