So I run into a situation very similar to many parents out there of children who are even more consumed by gaming than when I was a kid, and trust me when I was a kid I had NES, Atari, Commodore 64 and gaming was very much a part of my everyday life but it pales to the access of amazing gaming opportunities that they have now. My kids have taken gaming to the next level with wanting to broadcast, record and establish online personalities for their video game play which I encourage and will grow during summer vacations but there are some things I help them implement to lay down the foundation of getting some skills and knowledge that will help them other areas of professional life later on as well.
All it takes to realize about a MOBA or MMO game where you run a guild or league is to realize that this requires coordination and teamwork. You have your gamer be in charge of a group or lead and tell them that they set the strategy and issue commands, take advice and help run it and they are going to start establishing themselves as a leader able to give orders, re-assign team members to other responsibilities, call out mistakes and help showcase or assist where needed. As long as done in a friendly and helpful fashion without raging or disrespect this can help deal with disappointment when a team fails, lack of coordination from lack of trust, and allows different personalities to help mesh or determine what works and what doesn’t. Encourage your kids who are gamers to speak to their ‘group’ on teamspeak or another chat group so they can do more careful coordination of strategy and this works particularly well for League of Legends, Smite, DoTA2 or Heroes of the Storm for example. The same thing was applied for WoW Guild Raids and GW2 Dungeon runs as well however.
Here I admit is something that some people abuse and turn to disrespect or childish behavior on camera, but if you encourage and provide proper encouragement your child may use the webcam and live streaming to be comfortable talking to an audience they can’t see, being able to issue instruction, call out what you are doing as you are doing it, thinking ahead and getting into the mindset of explaining things can help them become better presenters, be better on conference calls and may assist with public speaking later on (though doesn’t address the in-person anxiety). This also helps kids who don’t like their own voice, appearance, or are generally uncomfortable on camera get more comfortable with being on camera or having a presence but be cognizant of the risks and how they handle it. My kids were so riddled with embarassement when making mistakes on camera video doing unboxings and used to have trouble talking when the camera record light was on, but they with practice became so much more comfortable on camera and relaxing. I don’t encourage people to just become screamers, ragers or disrespectful swearing for the sake of attention grabbing. It is important they find a personality or persona they like being or presenting while recording but try to encourage they keep it more PG rather than R rated, particularly if they are already under age and their target audience is under 18.
Think About Your Audience
Asking your gamers who want to record or showcase their triumphs and gamecast about who they want to watch and see, how they should react what reaction or response do they want from viewers gets them thinking about “customers” and the viewer is a consumer of their entertainment offering, put these ideas in their head to treat themselves as a source of entertainment or a service with consumers and these terminologies will help them later on as well. They should also consider if they want to potentially find a way to monetize their service in the future, subscriptions like a TV show, do you want to try and sell the games you are showcasing, or merchandising like T-Shirt, branding…etc. Or is it purely for fun and no intention on doing anything further.
Consider using a fake identity or a “Hollywood Name” for your gamecasting so that should you ever want to stop or even have someone else take over, you can offload that entertainment offering. Tying it into your real name has permanency online long after you quit and want to stop people will find that you used to do this, so consider where you want this to be in your history. Though if you use a webcam and not just a voice it is likely friends and people you know will find out so don’t ever assume you can do any casting or streaming anonymously forever if you are using a webcam, they need to know that exposing who you are is leaving yourself open to anything and this is where parents should take an active involvement too. Encourage them to come to you if they get any comments, concerns or feedback that is trolling, flaming or may even fall under hate speech. It is important you don’t flip out as parents and know some of the people who comment on YouTube and Twitch can say the most childish and hurtful things but you shouldn’t penalize the kid, use it as a learning experience to point out the lack of manners, etiquette and help teach them how to block and report offensive comments showing them how to handle these things and not dignify with a response, never get into a flame war with a commenter. This will teach them patience as well as the ability on how to handle a difficult personality provided it isn’t physically hostile in person but something done via email or online later on too.
Have your kid experiment with OBS (Open Broadcast Software) and they get familiar with creating inputs, channels, output, codecs, bitrate and other terminology to help learn how to take feeds from multiple sources and combine them into a broadcast whether it is to Twitch or to an output file they can upload to YouTube. Encourage them with other video editing software to create titles, transitions, video intro/logo’s and teach them how to create YouTube thumbnails, do some editing and they can develop skills that delve into video authoring and editing later on. There are a variety of free and paid tools that help and are worth learning here and it all leads to learning something new and software to help support the gaming as well.
Done right and encouraged, your gamers can be developing skills that will help them outside of the field of gaming and this is even if they don’t end up being the next big YouTube Star! One thing I like to do is help my kids use an Amazon affiliate tag on all their videos and donation buttons on their Twitch as just ways to encourage them to build a business model around their creation of media content as well.