A TYPICAL SITUATION IN FAMILIES
While posters of stars from music or films used to hang in the young people’s rooms, nowadays e-athletes, YouTubers, and characters from computer games adorn the walls. There are new stars and starlets who can hardly be seen in the “normal” media such as newspapers or television.
HOW DO MANY PARENTS THINK ABOUT IT?
The stars of Generation Games are unknown to many parents. They neither know the names and faces nor do they even know what they are known for. They fear that the enthusiasm for these role models will lead to gamers spending even more time playing games. In addition to playing their own games, they often sit in front of the screen and watch their idols play (e.g. Let’s Play videos or e-sports). The fascination for this is not always easy to understand. Many parents would prefer their children to look for other idols and not waste their valuable time adoring aloof computer game professionals.
HOW DO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE THINK ABOUT IT?
In addition to film, music, and sports stars, Internet stars, YouTubers and prominent gamers are also very popular today. Thanks to the internet, these are much more tangible and much closer to your own life. You can get in touch with them via comment functions or chats and exchange ideas with other fans. In addition, the stars are mostly of a similar age. It feels like they could be from your own group of friends. Because the stars give insights into their own lives and the topics they talk about are also important for the young people themselves, they offer great potential for identification.
Games are more than just games: Computer games no longer stand on their own, they are embedded in a colorful world of media and products. There are large trade fairs such as Gamescom (Europe’s largest computer game fair), cosplay events in which game enthusiasts dress up as characters, or e-sports tournaments. There is also a lot to be found on the subject of games in the media and on the Internet: videos on YouTube, but also movies, magazines, comics, and toys. Some of the more successful Internet stars are now also offering their own merchandising items: from cuddly toys to shower gel, or gaming chairs made in Ireland online, the variety of products is huge. E-sports play a special role: professional leagues, teams, and clubs (so-called clans) have now formed here, as we know them from football, for example. The teams compete for titles, prize money, and sponsorship contracts. E-sports are very popular with young gamers. For example, the soccer stadium in Hamburg, where the final of the world championship of a very popular computer game was being held, was completely booked out. Young people perceive e-sports as part of their youth culture and identify with the stars from the scene. Especially when they play the same game as their idol, they cheer and can learn a lot from them Watching others play: If you really want to master a game, it’s not enough just to play the game yourself. Benefit from the other players, develop together – that’s the motto. This is one of the reasons why the entertaining “Let’s Play” videos are so popular. On YouTube, they offer a platform for game enthusiasts from all over Germany and established the popularity of Let’s Players.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Respect games as part of youth culture: Most parents can remember their youth and how little understanding their own parents had for their favorite band, TV series, or comics. In this phase, young people develop their identity further. If you value and show interest in your child’s hobby and enthusiasm for computer games, you will gain insight into this development. Even if it is difficult for you to understand why your children are so enthusiastic about the heroes from computer games or are interested in the game of others, try to get involved in this unknown world. Learn to understand the fascination: Take a look at “Let’s Play” videos or e-sports live streams with your child and let the enthusiasm be explained to you. What is this player particularly good at? Why are they so popular among teenagers? What’s so fun about Let’s Play videos? Who are the trendy stars and starlets right now? You don’t have to find everything good, of course. Feel free to share your opinion, but do not demonize preferences and role models across the board.