The rise of video games and streaming is constantly growing, and Twitch is a popular place for many children and teens to hang out and watch others play games. More and more kids are playing games and enjoying live streams than ever before, and eSports tournaments and speed runs are a big part of that. While it may seem strange, watching these online game demos or playthroughs is a huge form of entertainment for today’s youth.
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Kids Consume Video Games In Different Ways
Since they were created, video games have changed significantly and have moved past simply buying and playing. These games are cinematic and intelligent, light-years beyond Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Today, video games challenge the player with extended cut scenes that are more like movies and intense problem-solving and puzzles. They provide an excellent way to lose yourself in a character.
Playing Video Games In The Traditional Sense
Many kids still like to spend their allowance on the latest video games and play them all day. However, for some gamers, it’s equally fun to play and stream games. Amazon Twitch is a huge platform that allows players to watch and broadcast video gameplay to crowds on the internet. It’s extremely popular, and there are hundreds of channels dedicated to streaming the latest game walkthroughs and live play sessions.
Twitch allows a community of video game players to come together and converse about their shared hobby. They can trade tips, enjoy watching someone play their favorite games and even see streamers take on particularly hard challenges or titles to see if and how they can win.
Watching Livestreams of Gamers Playing Their Favorite Games
Because of streaming platforms like Twitch, kids can watch their favorite games online and interact with others watching in real-time. It works the same way that you might watch a football game on TV and chat with those around you about what you see on the field.
Kids looking to improve their gaming skills or beat a particular level turn to others who’ve mastered the game for help. Years ago, they may have bugged an older sibling to help them or used cheat codes. Nowadays, watching someone on YouTube is how they learn.
Watching Replays Of Video Game Streams
Many kids also watch saved live stream videos with a Twitch subscription or find uploaded videos on YouTube. It allows them to watch whenever they choose instead of sitting down during the live stream. When the videos are saved like this, viewers can watch them repeatedly to learn how a gamer is beating a level or finding that special hidden treasure.
There’s actual science behind why people enjoy watching videos like this. Dr. Nichol Eaton, a child and family psychologist with FMS Psychology, says it activates something in your kid’s brain. The reward component lights up, changing the chemicals in the brain. It feels like it does to viewers when they open the gifts themselves.
How Does This Relate To Speed Running, and What Is It?
Speedrunning is like a race and typically involves the gamer completing a level or game as quickly as possible. The gamer may also need to achieve certain goals in the fastest possible time. Often, gamers compete against each other for the best time.
For example, a typical speedrun is “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Glitchless Any%.” It means playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time without glitches and completing any percentage of the game. Popular games have multiple rules going on at once, and they change how a player “runs” the race and how much of the game they need to finish.
Speedrunning is just a new way to play the game, a new challenge that can take older titles and make them feel new again.
Is Speed Running Bad For My Child?
While it might sound worrisome, speedrunning is just another way to play a video game. If you’re concerned about your child, there are signs you can look for that indicate they’re putting too much pressure on themselves to beat a speed run.
When gaming has become a compulsion for your child, there are indicators. To be considered a gaming disorder, your child shows ongoing, obsessive gaming behavior online and offline. It can include:
- Constantly talking about the game and playing for hours
- Getting defensive or angry, potentially even aggressive, when asked to stop
- Lying about gameplay time and pretending stop when actually playing
- Disrupting their sleep and daily life to play
- Seeming to get a “high” from playing and even experiencing “withdrawal”
- Physical symptoms include dry or red eyes, headaches, stiff back or neck, finger, wrist, or arm pain.
- Seeming to be depressed, lonely, or cut off from others
Gaming disorders are rarer than you might think. Even if you don’t understand it, finding joy in a hobby isn’t wrong. It only becomes a problem when the above symptoms are persistent and intense.
Is It Okay To Talk To Your Gamer Child About Speedrunning?
Speedrunning is a popular topic among gamers, and it’s certainly okay to talk about it with your kid. Gaming is a growing hobby, and your child might show a lot of interest in it. If you’re worried about them spending too much time gaming, work with your child to create a healthy balance between gaming and other activities.
Setting ground rules from a young age and agreeing on boundaries together is important. It’s also important that you show interest in your child’s hobbies and favorite activities. If your children are younger, choose the games they can play together.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what speedrunning is and how to talk about it with your child. Does your child like to do speedruns? Share any tips or questions in the comments.