I had a student who complained to me that their son spent a lot of time playing video games. 'A waste of his time', she said. And as much as I agreed that it can be a problem and an addiction if not properly regulated, I disagreed with the opinion that it is a waste of time. 'Who does he play with?' I asked 'His friends from school and some friends he made from America' she replied. 'And with what language do they communicate?' I asked further. 'English' she admitted.
Nowadays, learning a language has become easier than any point in history. And this is because of one central reason: technology. There are many different ways we can learn and practice a language, and video games are not different.
According to studies, 72% of men under 30 play video games often, compared with 49% of women in the same group. This is a huge demographic, and with online gaming becoming ever more popular, it is an opportunity to communicate with people from around the world, learn about different cultures, and practice a language.
And with online gaming, teamwork is key. Which means communication is important. You need to discuss tactics, to be able to adapt to different situations on the fly, to give and receive commands, all while under pressure and thinking in a second language. If that is not an intense and fun way to practice a language, then what is?
English is called the language of business, but it is also the language of gaming. A common ground for people from all around the world to communicate and learn together.
So I tell parents to find comfort in the fact that their kids love to play video games.Video games are a hobby, and by doing something we love, we see more progress than other methods, because learning is not tedious or boring when we are having fun.