Can Esports affect my child’s mental health?

Can Esports affect my child’s mental health?

Young people today are experiencing a rise in mental health conditions, with one in six children aged between five and 16 being identified as having a ‘probable’ mental health condition at the beginning of 2022 (NHS, 2022). With that in mind, and with 91% of 3-15 year olds gaming regularly (U-Switch, 2022), it becomes imperative for us to understand how esports influences the mental wellbeing of young people.

In this article, we explore both the positive and negative aspects of esports.

Positive Impacts of E-Sports for pupils

Firstly, we discuss how esports can have a positive impact on your child’s mental health, focusing on the ways in which gaming can build self-confidence and encourage social communication. Gaming can create an environment where your child’s confidence can flourish, as they get the sort of support and encouragement often found amongst peers in the gaming community. Nurturing self-confidence can have a profound impact on mental wellbeing, fostering a positive relationship with both gaming and esports. Apart from this, online gaming and esports can provide young people with a great way to connect with family and friends in a low-pressure environment, developing social and communication skills. As a result, young people can utilize this low-pressure gaming space to recharge and unwind after a stressful day.

It is worth mentioning that gaming and esports are great stress relievers, providing young people with an opportunity to tune out from their day-to-day stresses. There is a lot of science behind finding gaming enjoyable, and how it can be an easy stress reliever – and this research by Kabir L. of Healthy Gamer goes into a lot of detail on the topic.

Negative Impacts of E-Sports for pupils

Esports and gaming can do wonders for mental wellbeing, but it’s essential to maintain moderation to avoid negative impacts. Although gaming addiction is rare, it can cause significant harm if left unchecked. Open communication with children and setting boundaries can prevent addiction. The NHS operates a specialist centre for ‘Internet and Gaming Disorders’ to support young people with mental health issues caused by excessive online gaming. Cyber-bullying is also a potential issue, but it can be tackled with parental controls and reporting mechanisms. Overall, esports bring immense benefits to young people, and parents/guardians can provide better support by understanding these benefits. Seek professional advice if your child suffers from a mental health condition, or check out resources from charities like Young Minds or Barnardo’s.

Safeguarding

Esports safety is of the utmost importance, with the industry working towards better safeguarding standards for all users. Players can expect a positive gaming environment thanks to measures implemented by British Esports, and the industry as a whole aims to promote the best online safety practices. Additionally, as more young people get involved with online gaming, teachers must explore ways to monitor for toxicity, limit communication, and offer resources to help children flag concerns. Such efforts lay a foundation for future esports safeguarding practices and will continue to improve as esports becomes even more popular. To learn more about esports benefits, including its positive mental health impact, check out our comprehensive Parent and Carers Guide.

 

Next Steps

Are you looking to start an after school E-Sports club in Northern Ireland but don’t know where to begin? Look no further than NI Schools’ Esports! Our mission is to provide a platform for students to engage in competitive gaming while promoting the values of sportsmanship and teamwork. By emailing us and expressing your interest in starting your own Northern Ireland E-Sports club, you can help provide your students with a safe and competitive environment to hone their skills and make new friends. So why wait? Take the first step towards creating a thriving E-Sports community in your school and email NI Schools’ Esports today!