Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco
Although Esports has become a global phenomenon, many parents are unaware of what exactly Esports is and/or whether they are positive or negative for their children. Let’s explore these concerns in greater detail below:
Esports are competitive video games, usually played online, with dedicated fan followings due to their high-skill ceilings and attractive professional scenes. Although any game can become an Esport, the market is dominated mainly by high-quality, triple-A games.
Let’s explore fifteen things you should know as a parent about Esports:
1. What Are Esports?
Esports is the “catch-all” of all terms for any number of popular online, competitive video games. Unlike traditional sports, what constitutes an Esport is constantly evolving and changing as different games are released, and a community/competitive scene grows around the game.
2. Triple-A Studios Usually Make Esports Games
Because triple-A game developers and publishers typically develop the games to host Esports events and tournaments, it is common to find annual releases and updates of games across established series.
Therefore, players will often have to own the latest game in a series to keep up with the competitive scene of said game. Esports usually adhere to specific genres such as first-person shooters, real-time strategy, battle royals, or MOBAs.
3. Esports Are Extremely Popular
Esports are projected to grow in popularity as coverage becomes more mainstream and prize pools continue to balloon.
4. Nearly All Esports Are Online Games
With very few niche exceptions, such as Super Smash Brothers Melee, which doesn’t have online play due to the limitations of the software and hardware professional players compete, most Esports games are exclusively online experiences.
However, if you or your child attends an Esports tournament, you may be equipped with the means to play local multiplayer by the tournament host.
Regardless of the method chosen, all Esports games are competitive, meaning participation by in-game avatars against one another or an individual scoring system in the event of games that rely on points tallies in competition.
5. Many Esports Games Are Free With In-Game Purchases
Many Esports developers and companies release free-to-play games with in-game purchases that can be bought with real money in an attempt to reach as broad a player base as possible.
Although most in-game purchases are merely cosmetic, it is possible for children (and adults!) to spend thousands of dollars on various in-game purchases.
Therefore, it is vital that you monitor your child’s internet usage and that you do not have any bank accounts linked to online games in case of unmonitored spending!
6. Many Esports Have A High Learning Curve
Many Esports titles have high skill ceilings and learning curves. For an Esport to be a viable contender in the professional sphere, there must be a level of skill involved to differentiate amateur players from professionals.
Thus unlike video games specifically designed for children, most Esports do not have tutorials or single-player campaigns to enjoy without the pressure of competitive play.
The lack of “child-friendly” Esports titles means children may find Esports titles frustrating ad difficult. Thus, outside of the content of Esports video games, it is essential to select games that you believe your child can enjoy without getting upset.
7. Many Esports Titles Are For Mature Audiences
Although some Esports titles seek to recreate real-world sports which are acceptable for children to play, such as FIFA or Madden NFL, the vast majority of Esports involve in-game avatars inflicting violence on one another to secure victory.
While some of the violence on display may be cartoony and appropriate for teenagers, some titles, such as the popular Call of Duty series, display accurate depictions of modern warfare, violence, and realistic sound design to accompany the visuals.
Therefore, it is essential to monitor your child’s games and/or the Esports content they are consuming.
8. Esports Titles May Expose Children To Bad Language
Although few Esports titles feature foul language, as it diminishes the feasibility of tournaments and publishers securing broadcasting rights, most Esports titles feature online chat boxes or chat functionality.
While the purpose of these chat features is to promote cooperation between players, it may also expose children to foul language that was not intended by the developers, meaning you may not be aware of this exposure despite the game being rated as appropriate for children.
Further to the above, some Esports games are known for having “toxic” online communities, meaning instances of cyberbullying are possible.
9. Esports Can Be Addictive
Because Esports are constantly changing and evolving, many top Esports players play about eight hours a day.
Consequently, children wanting to emulate their favorite professional players or who want to remain at the top of online leaderboards may engage in lengthy gaming sessions at the expense of school work, socializing, exercise, etc.
Therefore, it is vital that you encourage balance in your children’s lives and closely monitor their screen time to avoid the possibility of your child developing an addiction to video games and/or Esports content.
10. Esports Can Be Stressful
Because Esports are competitive games that often feature teams of players competing against other teams of players, there can be a lot of pressure to succeed. Failure to play well may expose your child to verbal abuse online or a feeling of worthlessness.
Thus, it is essential to constantly remind your children that Esports should just be enjoyed as a fun hobby and not taken too seriously.
11. Esports Can Promote Sportsmanship
In an attempt to improve their mainstream image and to improve the experiences for players/fans, numerous Esports developers and organizations have in-game systems to promote positive behavior and denounce improper conduct.
Similar to how traditional sports promote sportsmanship, Esports can teach children about sportsmanship and be supportive of others.
12. Esports Provide Career Opportunities
E-sports are a viable career path for people to follow.
Although the top earners in e-sports are professional athletes, there are also various roles one can follow to enjoy a career in e-sports, such as streaming, casting, production, and/or marketing.
Therefore, you should monitor the Esports content your child consumes and spend time getting to know what excited them about their hobby, as this is an excellent way of helping them to choose career paths later in life!
13. Esports Can Teach Children Practical Skills
Although different Esports titles require different skills, many titles offer some of the following benefits to children:
- Improved hand-eye coordination,
- Basic arithmetic skills,
- Improved communication skills,
- Improved problem-solving,
- Improves spatial awareness.
14. Esports Are A Flexible Way To Play Alone Or With Others
Many Esports like League of Legends and Counter-Strike involve teams working together to secure objectives and achieve victory. These Esports are best suited for extroverted children who enjoy working/playing with others!
However, many other Esports titles, mainly in the fighting and real-time strategy genres, allow players to play by themselves. These games are better suited to children who prefer developing individual strategies and competing in one vs. one matches.
15. Esports Improve Communication Skills
Because many Esports titles require communication between teammates, they are an excellent way to build children’s confidence and improve their communication skills. Furthermore, the community around different Esports allows people to make friends with like-minded people.
It is also a unique method of introducing children to celebrity figures or fellow fans/players across the globe. Thus, providing a platform to learn about different cultures, beliefs, and languages.
In conclusion, Esports is an excellent platform for children to develop a fun and constructive hobby, provided that they have parental oversight to reduce the risks associated with exposure to harmful content and addiction.