- Shae Williams has spoken about how important is for parents to encourage their kids’ passion for gaming
- As a co-founder of COPE, she said that gaming teaches kids many valuable skills
- Williams suggested that parents should show more interest and even play with their gamers
Shae Williams, a co-founder of the Coalition of Parents in Esports, said that parents should be more accepting of their kids’ love for video games.
Williams Never Dismissed Gaming as Something Bad
The Coalition of Parents in Esports (COPE) is a non-profit organization that seeks to help parents build robust relationships with their gamer children. Shae Williams, one of the founders of the organization, spoke more about her inspiration and COPE’s goals.
Williams herself is a gamer who used to adore old video games. While she did her best to teach her children to be physically active, she also encouraged their screen-related hobbies. Williams played games such as Minecraft and Mario Kart together with her son and daughter, helping them see gaming as something that is not inherently bad as many other parents claim.
Once her son Devin reached his teen years, he started to show interest in the more professional side of gaming. At one point, his knowledge surpassed that of his mom’s as he grew more confident, connected with people on Discord, Twitch and Twitter and developed leadership skills. With time, Devin was overtaken by a passion for technology. He optimized his computer and became interested in competing in video games.
Williams is glad that she understood her kids but pointed out that many other parents do not have quite the same relationship. Because of the mantra claiming that video games are harmful, countless children feel alienated from their parents.
COPE Helps Parents of Gamers Share Their Experiences
Chris Spikoski is the co-founder and chief executive officer of COPE. His son, going by the gamer tag “Sceptic,” is an avid competitive player. Spikoski accompanied Sceptic to an esports convention where he saw that many parents were interested in knowing more about esports and whether it is good or not. Spikoski was asked all kinds of questions by fellow parents, both in-person and on the internet. This was one of his main inspirations for COPE. In the summer of 2020, Spikoski noticed that there wasn’t an organization that supports parents of professional gamers and decided to create one.
Williams explained that COPE seeks to defend gaming and help it to be recognized as a valuable tool for education and connection. She emphasized that video games are no longer just a time-waster and are instead a viable way to help kids develop an interest in contemporary technology. Williams added:
“Instead of trying to limit what they enjoy, COPE strives to help parents embrace it and work with their children to ensure they get the most out of their experiences. Just like any social group or activity, there is always the possibility of negative interactions—but with parent involvement, children will be equipped to face those challenges and will be confident to ask you, their parents, for help and guidance.”
Williams said that COPE encourages parents to be more accepting of their children and to show more interest in their passions as well. She added that it’s best if parents can spend some time to play together with their kids. If a passion for gaming is guided in the right direction, it can teach gamers to be resilient, strategic, extroverted and better at managing their time.
Playing Competitively Has Many Benefits
To summarize the benefits of esports, Williams noted that gaming can teach kids to be responsible and help them develop crucial skills such as networking, marketing and accounting. While not everyone will become a professional athlete, those are universal skills that will benefit every kid. Furthermore, esports programs encourage even the less sociable kids to sign up for extracurricular activities. It teaches them to follow a schedule and be consistent.
Williams reminded parents that despite the benefits of esports, physical activity is just as important. She said that their relatives should encourage gamers to stay healthy and eat right. She also said that it is normal for gamers to sometimes get angry so parents shouldn’t always besmirch such behavior.
Lastly, Williams reasserted that the best scenario includes parents actually showing interest in the games and communities their kids are a part of. She added:
“Get involved, but don’t hover. Teens learn best when we are the backbone behind them, not the shield in front of them.”
Williams concluded that gaming shouldn’t be feared and is something that has numerous benefits. She encouraged parents to stay open-minded.