Millions of people are watching and playing esports, with many children dreaming of one day becoming a professional player themselves. Here’s what you need to know about the booming trend.
What are ‘esports’?
The term ‘esports’ refers to any form of video game played competitively by two or more players. The growth in esports is largely down to the popularity of video games along with more opportunities to live stream events online. It’s now a multi-million-pound industry with some professional gamers making big money through esports competitions. So it’s no surprise that thousands of young gamers aspire to turn pro!
Are esports really considered a ‘sport’?
Technically, esports are considered a game rather than sport. But there are some elements to esports that are more like a sporting activity. It’s highly competitive, spectators watch as players compete and there is a physical element that has been likened to that of snooker or darts.
Are there any benefits to esports?
Playing some video games can help build useful life-skills like teamwork, strategic thinking, multitasking, spatial navigation and memory, so they shouldn’t automatically be discouraged. To learn more, we’d recommend reading an article entitled ‘The psychosocial impact of professional gambling, professional video gaming & esports’
Are esports games appropriate for my child?
In short: it depends. While some games – particularly sports-based ones – are perfectly fine for children of all ages, other games can be far more violent and may not be appropriate. Age ratings are judged against content such as drugs, sex, violence and gambling, and you should familiarise yourself with the PEGI ratings for various games that your child is interested in.
In the UK, age ratings for most video games are governed by the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA 1984) and the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) standard.
If you’re worried about your child playing games that may not be suitable for them, it’s usually easy to restrict their access. Here are some easy-to-follow instructions to set parental controls on various games consoles.
How can I manage my child’s gaming?
Give your child a five-minute warning when their time is nearly up, so that they can finish the game or level they are on. This sort of discussion and preparation beforehand can help avoid misunderstandings and frustrating arguments.
If you would prefer to use a tool to manage their gaming, there are options available. Check the easy-to-follow instructions for setting parental controls on various consoles.
Five things to do if your child wants to be an esports pro
1. Explore their dream
If your child has a passion that they want to pursue, this is a great opportunity to start a conversation with them and help them to learn more about what a career in esports might entail.
2. Ask questions
Ask your child: What do they like about esports? Why do they think they would make a good esports professional? Do they know what they need to do to pursue esports at a professional level?
3. Get researching
Show your support by helping them do further research, just as they would with any other career option. While professional esports players can earn a lot of money, a long-term career is by no means guaranteed.
4. Help them make sensible decisions
Support your child’s interests and encourage them to work hard at it, but try to ensure they do not neglect other areas, such as study, sports or social pursuits.
5. Remember it could be a passing phase
If this is the case, your child can still enjoy playing video games for many years to come without feeling as though they want to turn it into a career. Encourage them to keep their options open in case this esports phase is short-lived.
Read more tips for if your child wants to become an esports professional here
This article is by Parent Zone, the experts in digital life.