Online Communities: Gaming Event

Our Gaming Community meets one Thursday evening each month for an hour.  We have played several cross-platform games, including Minecraft, Rocket League and Fortnite, with Fortnite being a favourite among the group. Despite our Gaming event being open to all ages, this event has attracted a small group of 9–13-year-old members, made up of both those with CMN as well as siblings.

For our first few sessions we were pleased to have Dan, one of our Young Ambassadors, join us.  With Dan’s gaming experience, he was able to help host the event and having CMN himself, Dan was able to relate to our young members, and very quickly became a role model for them.  Thank you to Dan for all your help and support!

Each month the regulars became more comfortable in each other’s company, which enhanced the level of competition!  Headphones on, controllers in hand, game on!  The competition was not only felt by our young members but also by our enthusiastic parents who shouted on the side lines “READY UP!”   A huge thank you to the parents who not only supported their young people to get online but also supported the charity in making this event run as smoothly as possible!

This monthly event gave opportunity for siblings and young people with CMN to develop confidence as they communicated with each other.  As the weeks went on, and at times technology failed us, we agreed that the Gaming Community required patience and perseverance!  The monthly event proved to be a team building exercise in itself!

During one of the events, a 10-year-old with CMN claimed “I bet I have the rarest skin here!”  We soon realised he was talking about a ‘skin’ on Fortnite and not making a bold statement about his CMN!

The primary aim of our online communities is to build organic relationships amongst members.  A space where the commonality between us is that we are all affected by CMN, but where CMN isn’t the only thing that we have in common!  Whilst our young members gamed, parents often chatted through the call, getting to know one another, talking about everyday life.  At times, parents shared their experiences of life with CMN in a child friendly way whilst their young people were in the gaming-land far away. However, every so often our young members slipped back into reality and got involved in the discussion too!  We’ve had discussions about accepting our CMN and how to make friends at secondary school. It has been inspiring to hear members advise, empathise, and comfort one another.

Using this platform, we have been able to signpost members to our online teens resource, Regional Gatherings, our BIG Weekend, young adults panel, support literature, Young Ambassadors Programme, and other elements of our Support Pathway.

Reflecting on the past six months, our Online Gaming Community has been a huge success, achieving far more than we could have ever imagined. Our hope is that meeting each other in this way will make it easier for our members to continue building relationships at our Regional Gatherings and the BIG Weekend during the spring and summer months.

We look forward to seeing you online again in the Autumn.  In the meantime, we hope to see you at one of our upcoming ‘In-Person’ events!

“He seems to enjoy it… I think these little connections are important. Especially if they get to meet up in the future.” Dad of 13-year-old sibling who attends Gaming regularly.

“Thank you so much for running the sessions. It’s great for our son to get to know others before the BIG Weekend.  I’m sure he’ll get more out of it as a result. Parent to 11-year-old with CMN who is attending BIG Weekend this summer.