There’s no denying that 2020 sucked for everyone, but it was particularly rough for children. The pandemic meant that social bonds weren’t being forged at school alongside learning about math and history and science. Kids weren't hanging out at the mall, going to movies, or having sleepovers because of a potentially deadly virus that was sweeping the world.
A new report from the nonprofit mental health organization Crisis Text Line has confirmed that yes, the pandemic sucked for kids. Between 2019 and 2020, mental health-related emergency department visits rose 25 percent for 5-to 11-year-olds and 31 percent for 12-to 17-year-olds. The top five stressors for kids listed in the report were depression/sadness, stress/anxiety, relationships, suicide, and isolation, all of which were particularly stressful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Crisis Text Line called it the Youth Resilience Report, and youths proved their resilience by doing what we all did: cope. And one of the rising coping mechanisms among children was video games. In 2019, video games were ranked 12th on a list of coping mechanisms for stress, but in 2020 (during the pandemic) video games rose to 11th.
According to the report, "Playing video games as a strategy was also mentioned in a greater percentage of conversations over time for both datasets, as youth described feeling better when connecting with others online playing collaborative, world-building games such as Roblox, Animal Crossing, and Minecraft."
However, if you're thinking parents just let their kids game all day long, think again. The report noted that just 0.8 percent of kids listed gaming as a coping mechanism in 2019, and that number rose to just 1.1 percent in 2020 and 1.3 percent in 2021. The vast majority of kids listed music and sleeping as their biggest coping mechanisms.
Well, that's fine. Considering all the women and seniors over 50 that started playing games to get through the pandemic, things are getting pretty crowded over here in video game land.
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