It is easy to see why video games are perceived as a problem. Especially if you are a parent of a young gamer who may believe that their child is spending more time gaming online than they are completing their homework. Here is a bit of advice for those uncomfortable with the increasingly popular medium of online video games.

Online gaming is not a fad — its popularity continues to rise with new games and platforms. Instead of dismissing them as a waste of time for your kids, embrace online gaming. Ask your children why gaming is so important to them. Try to understand why they want to spend their time playing games, rather than another hobby.

They might say it is a social outlet, a time to connect with their friends and make new ones. They might say it is an escape from reality or a way to relieve stress. It is time to be curious rather than critical.

If your child is comfortable with the idea, get involved with their gaming. Read about the games they play. Watch YouTube videos or Twitch streams to understand more about the gameplay. Ask your child if you can watch them play, or even play with them! Video games are not only fun to play, but playing with your children can help teach them problem solving, literacy and science.

Online gaming is unfortunately a toxic space despite many positive players and environments. If you find your child is contributing to or being affected by the toxic space, you may be able to have a positive impact on the community by having a conversation with them. While this may seem like a reason to not have your children involved with online gaming, it is important to understand the space. See who they interact with and what is being said online. If you do not like what you see or hear, talk to them about it.

Father and daughter playing a video game. Playing video Emperor123 games with your child is a way to understand how they spend their time. (Shutterstock) Who is to say that gaming is a waste of time, and what are we comparing it to? As stated above, there are many reasons why gaming is not a waste of time. While you can make money gaming, it is easy to argue that only the top one per cent will do so. This is no different than other “constructive activities”; in hockey, for example there is less than a one per cent chance that your child will make it to the National Hockey League. Hobbies and leisure pursuits do not need to be valued on financial success.

If you are a worried parent who believes their child may be addicted to video games, take a step back. Learn more about the environment, understand their motivations and ensure their responsibilities are completed before dismissing their time playing games. Chances are, your kids are just having fun.