online competition

Can online competition be good for us?

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It is often difficult to motivate people to change their behaviour to be more sustainable. Self-motivation is sometimes even harder. But do not worry, competing in online games might be the spark to ignite necessary change in our behaviour. Here is how.

It is no secret that competing with other people might take us beyond our physical and psychical limits. Be it sport or artistic competitions – good rivalry makes us try harder. It seems like a competition not only affects our skills but also our behaviour. According to The Guardian:


Many of those concerned with climate change and the challenge of how to motivate people to adopt energy-saving behaviours are already seeing the potential for appealing to our selfish selves through online competition.


Online competition let more and more players participate in such rivalry, and by that it widens the range of possible change.


It is also easier to gain worldwide recognition by competing in online events, all thanks to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

This social connection is especially important since:


People don’t want to do things if they think they’re the only ones doing them. It’s about getting them to feel part of a bigger movement of like-minded people.


There are already many examples of such competitions motivating sustainable behaviour throughout the world.

Student Switch Off is “a not-for-profit international campaign encouraging student action on climate change.”. Through this project students from different countries compete with each other in saving energy.

Besides social media and interesting initiatives like Student Switch Off, games might be a great platform to motivate sustainable behaviour.

Through online games, players compete with each other, while being able to monitor the behaviour of other competitors.  They are also being recognised for actions and achievements with in-game prizes and trophies.

And this applies to massive multiplayer online strategies, where you create and rule your nation, like Nations States or Ars Regendi. But also more kid-friendly, simpler games like Disaster Hero.

There are many advantages to the online gaming and being part of online community as a whole.  But there are also people who think otherwise:


Some may also feel uneasy at the notion of relying too heavily on the emphasis given to group approval-seeking – and the potentially more sinister consequence of group disapproval of not making the green grade, particularly in the online world where common courtesy is often shockingly absent.


Although, it’s hard to debate with that statement, the games, when used right, will be a way better tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals than any dry lecture from teachers. And, at that, way more entertaining.

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