Children and teens are spending more and more time playing video games online with their friends. For most, this is a positive experience, allowing them to communicate with others even when they are unable to physically be with them. This is particularly true for people with difficulty spending time with others in-person, like those with major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder and social anxiety disorder.
This unconventional method of communication is helpful in fostering connections while building the skills and confidence necessary to interact face-to-face. Although steps should be taken to ensure children’s safety online, online video games are a large part of the lives of young people and should be recognized as a source of social support.