12.2.20 Blog

How Esports Helps Children Cope with Loneliness During COVID-19

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, children have experienced isolation from their peers. For students that were able to return to an in-person learning environment, interactions were limited to socially-distant ones. Other children have been learning remotely for the duration of the pandemic.

As a result of the safety guidelines put in place by local and federal governments, children have been reporting increased feelings of loneliness. In a recent article from behavioral psychologist Geert Vergheijen, children were found to be less lonely if they played video games with friends online. Even though children are not able to see their friends in-person, online interactions are beneficial. However, when children play games by themselves for long periods of time, their loneliness often increased.

In the study, 705 Dutch adolescents were observed and surveyed. The aspects the study focused were “gaming frequency, the social context, gamer identification, type of game, and motivation for playing.” The greatest correlations with loneliness were observed in the categories of social context category, as well as correlations with the motivations and game type categories. During a time of tremendous isolation, virtual play can help children and teens cope with feelings of isolation.

Creighton University Planning National Esports Tournament

At a time when there is much uncertainty about traditional sports, and outbreaks even plague professional teams, esports has allowed students to continue engaging in competitions. Creighton University, like many others, has canceled intramural sports in an effort to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.

Creighton University’s director of Health and Wellness, Greg Durham, is now organizing a national esports tournament that will be held in February of 2021. The tournament will be held under NIRSA, the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association. Durham is working with colleges across the country to plan the esports tournament.

A national tournament with players from around the country could “be held safely because competitors can play each other remotely – from their own homes.” The University already has experience in holding a remote esports tournament, as they hosted a statewide tournament involving other institutions in Nebraska. Students at Creighton University are looking forward to competing in the national tournament, after a successful performance in the state tournament.


Verheijen, G. P., Burk, W. J., Stoltz, S. E. M. J., van den Berg, Y. H. M., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2020). Associations between different aspects of video game play behavior and adolescent adjustment. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 32(1), 27–39. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-1105/a000253