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Why the Filipino Youth is Hooked to Online Gaming

“I played the game for three years now because this is where I found friends who share the same level of interest as I do. Friends that cannot be seen in-real or at close range like classmates, but friends who can offer a relationship that could stand the test of time.”

This is the exact statement of a student who was scolded by his father after he was caught playing an online game during the times he should be in class. Computer addiction could be very alarming as told by the experts in Human Behavior, but have they asked why the children of today is pulled into the game?

Is it for companionship? boredom? or refuge?

One of the main advantages of having an internet connection is the opportunity to reach out other people, wherever they are or whatever timezone they are in. As long as you are online, the possibilities are endless. In all honesty, online games consist of just a small slice of those possible options out there. And in comparison to other choices, games could be the lightest of all.

In online games, you can be you the way you want yourself to be. You can stand out the way you want it, evolving into options that are not socially acceptable in real life. Filipinos are conservative by nature, but online they can be as liberated as other countries. Just like coming out of its tight shell, they now have the access to express themselves. Online games became the breathing space of Filipinos, not just the youth but everyone who gains internet access.

Boredom may play a small role in the reasons, but it could still count. The sun is up, rather than playing basketball, you engage yourself into battle with other players with awesome sword fights and spell casting. This boredom almost made our “national street games” like piko, tumbang preso, and shato extinct. It also opened the occurrences of ailments that should be experienced by office workers like Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome or Juvenile Diabetes. But those conditions are avoidable, just know your body’s limitations and potentials and balance them out.

In this brief article, we’re going to focus on our third main reason- refuge. Is it really because of this? I’m going to say yes. The youth of today, without being bias or one-sided is considerably weaker than the earlier generations. They tend to stumble on the lightest of problems, and crippled on the slightest of mistakes. Online games became a staple “point of refuge”. Our country is a natural disaster playground. We have typhoons, volcanos, and man-made disasters all year round. Some individuals may lose hope because of this but others actually divert the fear and condense it into a whole new world found in cyberspace.

“At least there are no disaster occurences in-game, excluding lags and company issues. All in all it is a safe ground for us, and sometimes we forget even for a brief period of time that some of my family members got killed in the recent typhoon.”

Actually the hardest debate I’ve encountered is with my dad- and it’s not even religion related. The debate is about what is the good thing in wasting money just to play online games. How am I going to explain this to a work-dedicated individual who never experienced playing online games. What’s the purpose of spending thousands of pesos for a simple pixelated thing that you can’t even call your own whereas you can already pay the bills with that sum of money. The debate is close to eternal, but I’m sure some will understand because I’m sure only a gamer by passion and heart will understand another gamer. It is the topic that lead into confusion, questioning oneself, and maybe guilt.

I’ve been an online gamer for more than six years already. I’d say it already permeated my veins, but I decided to taper-dose my drive on playing because of priorities. Well I guess that makes sense, learn to balance out things and priorities and you’ll never to wrong with your life. And, as I may quote, “there is no greater MMORPG than Life”.

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