Play video games?Would you quit to improve your social life?

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syrella
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20 Jul 2011, 12:59 pm

I gave up video games for awhile and found that it didn't have a significant impact on my social life. It may have made me even more isolated, actually, since at least I was interacting with people online. I played online games, mostly. I have made some efforts to be social in the past and it's been with mixed results. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Right now, I have as many friends as I need, which is to say not very many. And none of them live in my nearby geographic location. But I'm happy with that. Having friends is important, but it's possible to be content being by oneself too. It's hard to get other people understand that, though. And I recognize that the world is not made for people who are asocial.

I'd recommend he learn how to deal with social situations enough so that he can network later, perhaps in college. Get him to understand that socializing does have a purpose and it can help him in his long term goals and life. Unless he plans on being self-employed or has a savant skill that can get him hired, he will definitely need to at least be able to fake having social skills.

Just speaking from personal experience... I hope it helps.


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schleppenheimer
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20 Jul 2011, 2:07 pm

syrella, that definitely helps. Thank you!



Callista
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20 Jul 2011, 2:20 pm

Computer games don't really affect my social life. If I didn't play them, I'd be reading instead, or writing, or doing crafts--all solitary activities. I just have a "social quota" and once I fulfill it, I'd burn out if I did more. I'm very introverted and I like to write to people or participate in online forums rather than socializing in person.

Actually, gaming has been a good social outlet for me. I'm involved in tabletop role-playing games (the most famous one is Dungeons & Dragons), and those are social activities. We're all pretty nerdy, so that means that my oddity doesn't stick out.

Various online games have also led to my participation in online forums--once again, a social activity. I can express myself very well in writing, and that means I'm not even at a disadvantage online.

So, no--I don't think giving up playing games would affect my social life. If anything, quitting would probably have a detrimental effect. The only problem I do deal with is that sometimes I spend too much time playing games--more than I strictly need to relax and unwind after a hard day in class. Learning time-management is useful; quitting games would not be.

Another fringe benefit: Playing games like Tetris, which involve spatial reasoning and reflexes, helped me improve my hand-eye coordination. I thought I would never learn to drive; but at twenty-five, with the help of a special-needs instructor, I learned effectively and now have my license. I credit some of that success to my taking up those games and getting the practice in learning how to think about what fits where, to gauge speeds, to keep track of more than one thing at once.

Regarding "having to give up" gaming as he gets older: This is not the case. The largest-growing demographic of gamers is grown adults in their thirties and forties, often with families, usually with successful careers. Gaming itself is growing into a family activity, with parents introducing children to their favorite games. I've even met a third-generation D&D player--a teenager who was introduced to it by his grandfather, who played D&D with his son and their friends when it first came out in the 1970s.


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LostInEmulation
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20 Jul 2011, 4:19 pm

Well, why is it an either or situation? I learned a lot regarding to socialisation in the NationStates chats. I also met my now fiance there. I met someone who'd later hire me for a project also via a video game (well, notporn). So, IMHO this is a false dichotomy.

I agree with the social quota. I run on a tank of nice, if that is empty, I run on an emergenc tank of polite, if that too is empty, you do not want to be near me. Why would I even want in such an oversocialized, exhausted state to be forced to 'socialize'?

If I would not have had video games in my past (youth and college time), I would not have socialized either. My parents sometimes sent me outside and since I was completely oblivious to the socialization things, I went to get bullied just because I was bored. PLEASE spare him the experience. Sure, everything is bad when overdone, but then... there is too often and just often. Also, video games CAN remain an interest for an adult. Nothing shameful abut that.


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MagicMeerkat
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20 Jul 2011, 4:25 pm

No. I'd perfer to engage in my special intrests than do social activites that bore me out of my mind. I only wanted friends as a kid so I would have someone to boss around and lecture to about my special intrests. I will never understand why most people want give and take. My special intrests are my best friends.


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The_Walrus
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20 Jul 2011, 5:38 pm

Are you sure he isn't playing with other people online?

Socialising is utterly horrible. Genuinely hate doing it, and every time I attempt, I regret it.

What benefit do you actually see your son getting from socialising with other people?



schleppenheimer
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21 Jul 2011, 1:10 pm

The benefit that I see in socializing is that I can see that when he socializes with others who he likes, feels comfortable, and has things in common with, he is happier. There are people with asperger's who don't enjoy socializing, and there are those who do. If my son was obviously the type of person with asperger's who hated socializing, then I wouldn't FORCE or even encourage him to do it.

Funny thing --

Much of the time, my son plays regular video games (Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty, etc.) by himself. Sometimes he plays xbox Live, but not always. The other day when we had the "socialization" talk, later on in the evening, he was playing xbox Live -- deciding that that was better than playing alone, because it's more social. I agree. This is at the very least a step in the right direction.

For those out there who question the need to socialization, I do understand your points. Some people just don't want to, or need to, socialize. You may not realize that even us NT's reach our saturation point for socialization. I can fake socializing better than almost anyone I know, but even I can't do it for more than 3 hours at a time. It makes me TIRED. I get irritable. I don't like socializing with people who don't share my interests. The reality is, nobody shares my interests, so all of my socialization currently is with people who aren't interesting to me. BUT, if it weren't for socializing, I wouldn't have met my husband, had my children, found jobs, made friends. As I age, I don't need so much socializing, but if I don't MAKE MYSELF do it, quite frankly, I am in line for getting Alzheimer's (it runs in my family). Socialization will stimulate my brain enough to possibly help delay the beginning of Alzheimer's. So I go out, I connect with lots of people. Sometimes it's uncomfortable, but I do it anyway in the hopes that those human connections will help me stay around longer, with my mental capacity at a high enough level, so that I can be with my family for years to come.

It's not that different for my son. He doesn't need lots of friends -- one or two would be plenty. He doesn't need to do lots of socialization -- a bit here and there would be enough. I'm pretty sure that just because he isn't socializing right now isn't that big a deal -- I think he'll probably morph into a little bit more social being once he gets into college. But I think that socializing, just a little, will make him happier. It will also make certain things -- job interviews, coordinating with other coworkers, dating, etc. -- MORE COMFORTABLE FOR HIM. And, he isn't an asperger person who likes being alone. He likes interaction with others -- it just doesn't occur to him to make it happen.



OddFiction
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21 Jul 2011, 1:19 pm

What video games?

Are they games where he interacts with other people, or are they simply with and against the computer?

While MMORPGs (multiplayer online games) may not be as interactive as face-to-face humanity, they still teach some "small talk" handling skills, and some communication skills, often also social problem solving (you'd be amazed what some people share while logged into those games) so they aren't at all bad news if you look at them right. And they are certainly a more relaxing environment than some "real life" social situations can get.... with a video game you always have the off button.

So the type of video game he plays and what he might be learning there may also be a factor you should consider in your decision/opinion making.

(Edit: Sorry; I posted before reading the full thread; seems you've already figured this bit out)



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21 Jul 2011, 1:31 pm

To add onto what everyone else has said, here's some articles on the subject that I found to be very interesting to read.

http://www.gamespot.com/features/620730 ... 09&print=1

http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5- ... ed_p2.html

Playing video games =/= no social life.

Without video games, I'd spend all my free time on the internet. Without the internet, I'd spend all my free time watching TV. Without TV, I'd spend all my free time building high intensity lasers with my computer parts and setting things on fire with them. Without doing that, I'd go outside and cause trouble out there, probably with a paintball gun of some sort. If that's not a viable option, then I'd just sit down and stare at the ground, while I wonder what the hell I should be doing with my life.


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The_Walrus
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21 Jul 2011, 5:15 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
The benefit that I see in socializing is that I can see that when he socializes with others who he likes, feels comfortable, and has things in common with, he is happier. There are people with asperger's who don't enjoy socializing, and there are those who do. If my son was obviously the type of person with asperger's who hated socializing, then I wouldn't FORCE or even encourage him to do it.

Thank goodness. I apologise for misjudging you.