I’m sitting here running a Zoom Room activity where the kids are playing Roblox together. We also have scheduled times when they play Minecraft. Over and over, the same issues come up in these multi-player platforms. Inevitably, someone destroys someone else’s creation or takes items that belong to other players.
The fun is disrupted by repeated loud cries of “Stop!” frequently followed by a player becoming upset to tears. And I watch the infringing player ignore the pleas to stop. This is one of the biggest barriers to having friends that I see among kids.
These games that the kids love to play so much are a den of social difficulty. For children who struggle with boundaries, empathy, fair play, taking turns, and putting their own self-amusement over developing and keeping friendships, multi-player platforms are fraught with social negotiations that are difficult for them to do.
Each time this happens, I remind the kids that one of the biggest favors they can do for themselves if they want to make friends is to stop when someone tells them to stop. Once. One and done. I reinforce for them that the natural consequences of ignoring someone’s request to stop will be they quickly find themselves with no one who wants to play with them.
Stopping upon request is a skill for some kids that will take multiple reminders and practice, not a one and done.