Don’t tell kids to “pause” their online games

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Photo: Miguel Sanz (Getty Images)

I’m going to set the scene: your child is playing a online multiplayer game on their tablet, computer or other electronic device. It’s also dinner time, or you need their help with something, or they have a chore to do. Cornthey plead, they are in the middle of a game; can’t they finish first? A dad has gone viral for arguing that, yes, they should be allowed to finish their game – and he’s right. Because, as many parents may not understand, these online games are live, they cannot be paused, and players rely on each other.

TikTok user @billyvsco (a perfect “TikTok dad of teens” name) offers an explanation and implores parents to loosen up the “do as I say when I say so” mentality of old-school parenting, at least when it comes to online games:

As he says in the video:

Parents, let me explain something very quick, just in case you don’t know. Online games? It’s like she’s playing a real game and I make her say, “Mr. Referee, can you pause the game real quick?” and let me get her here and take out the trash, and dump all her teammates.

Here’s the problem with online games: it’s the same thing. You can’t pause an online game, and she’s got teammates she’s gonna drop if you make her come and take the trash out right now, when we know the trash can wait 10-15 minutes, or as long as this online game takes.

These games take place in real time and children are usually part of a team with other players. if they leave before the end of the match, they probably put their teammates in a more precarious situation. They don’t want to be abandoned like this, and they don’t want to give up. No, it’s not quite the same as winding down in the middle of the third quarter of a basketball game, but it’s still a competitive activity between kids who have built camaraderie with each other. and work together towards a goal..

There are caveats, of course: They should politely and respectfully ask to finish. (If you tell me, “No, I will after I’m done with this game,” this game is happening right now.) And they have to hold their end of the bargain. (When the game is over, come and do what I asked you to do, otherwise I won’t be so flexible next time.)

This is not a case where the child runs the show; it’s a case of the parent showing respect and patience for another person who’s in the middle of something that’s important to them – and that’s always a good lesson.

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